My friend and coworker Greg came back from a deer hunt recently, and he filled me in on the details of his successful trip. He had prepared well, he knew the country, he put himself in the right spot, and he brought home venison for the freezer. But his pack out with the deer almost turned into a nightmare.
He had made a good shot on the buck at the top of a small rise, but the deer had just enough life left in him to run a few hundred yards down a steep slope, then die against a tree right on the edge of a cliff. Greg looked the situation over for a minute, wishing he’d thought to bring a very light, easily packable item; a rope.
You don’t need much, but when you head out into the field, having a length of some sort of rope is never a bad idea. You might not need it, but as Greg found out, when you do need it, you’ll be darn sorry if you don’t have it.
The slope where Greg’s deer died was too steep to field dress the animal where it fell, but luckily, there were just enough trees he could anchor himself with one, then pull the buck a few feet by its antlers. Then he’d grab another tree, pull a little more, and work to the next tree he could reach. He’s not sure how long it took him, but he finally got to a place he could take care of the field dressing. If he’d had a rope, he could have dressed it where it fell after tying it securely, and the slope would have helped him out. At the very least, he could have used the rope to pull the deer up instead of having to tug it a foot at a time. When I got home from work that night, I went straight to my hunting pack and checked to make sure I still had my hundred-foot chunk of nylon rope stuffed into the front pocket. It wasn’t there, but I found it after a short search of the garage. I was glad I’d checked, though. I’d rather not have to go through what Greg did, and I doubt he’ll have to do it again, either. Some lessons you only have to learn once.