Big-game hunters dream of the day they’ll harvest an elk, caribou, deer, or other animal. It’s a moment hunters prepare for and is often considered the end of a successful day of hunting. But harvesting the animal is just the beginning: You need to transfer it from the site where you dropped it to your hunt camp or vehicle. Steven Rinella, host of the TV show MeatEater, says many hunters are uneasy about hunting back-country land because they worry about what will happen when they get a deer or elk down on the ground. He explains how to quarter and pack out big game.

At [a mile or more] from their rig, dragging an animal is tough to do and game carts are made impractical by rugged terrain. But the thing is, public land hunting often doesn’t get good until you get this far away from the road. The hunting pressure drops off because few people are willing to walk this far and the animals know that… deer and elk move to places where the people aren’t. If you want to consistently harvest good bucks and bulls, you need to be willing to hunt away from your vehicle… If you don’t have pack stock like horses, mules or llamas, that animal is going to have to come out on your back.

Photo by: Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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Shannon Rikard
Shannon Rikard is a freelance writer and photographer with a passion for conservation and wedding and portrait photography. The Archery Trade Association and National Wild Turkey Federation have published her work. A self-professed word geek, she enjoys Wheel of Fortune, crossword puzzles, and finding a dynamite synonym to illustrate any point. After starting her career in public relations with a national conservation organization, she ventured out on her own with Copper Door Studios.