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Cleve
12-07-2010, 03:51 PM
In the photos M.Westendorf posted of his very fine Illinois whitetail buck I wanted to ask a question inspired by the third photo of the deer on the tailgate. It appears you've dragged him in un-field dressed. I've also often noticed this same procedure on outdoor TV shows where whitetail hunting is the main event most of the time. But I've always been a bit baffled. Why not "gut" him and leave the offal in the field? That's how I was taught and have always operated with mulies out here in CO and with the few whitetails I've shot in NE, but I'm not usually shooting deer where it's easy to get them to the truck -- sometime I luck out that way, but not very often. And I'd rather drag the lighter weight carcass w/o the extra weight. And of course now I'm most likely to go "gutless" and put the quarters of boned out meat in Kifaru meat baggies and pack it back in my Late Season. It also seems like you'd then get the deer back to the "pole" and end up with the gut pile in the yard (in camp, in backyard, barnyard, whatever) and that doesn't seem optimum to me either. What am I missing here?
Truly, I'm not being critical if I sound that way. I'm just very curious and could maybe learn something about a different way things are done. Thanks.

Jim S
12-07-2010, 04:36 PM
Cleve, When I hunted on my own land I would always take the deer out without gutting. Of course I had a tractor with a bucket to bring them out so I didn't do much dragging. I liked to be able to skin from the rump down, get the skin off then gut the deer. It made for much less mess on the meat. I normally had a deer quarted and hanging in a cooler in under an hour after I shot it. However, if I shot it someplace where I would be over an hour or so I gutted in the field.

CCH
12-07-2010, 06:18 PM
On some of the very limited public land in northern Illinois, you aren't allowed to leave a gut pile.

rnd3789
12-07-2010, 07:56 PM
Cleve,
Very good question. It is strictly a regional thing with some legal parameters. I live in Indiana and in 35 years of hunting whitetails I have harvested over 100. Most have been field dressed where they were found. All have been dragged out or taken out with the use of a 4 wheeler. The main reason is that, in Indiana, our deer have to be checked in at an official check station, whole, minus the entrails. Another scenario is like the button buck my eight year old grandson took this last Sept. during our special Youth season. It was his first deer and the whole family was on cloud nine, especially his dad ( my son ) and I.
I dug a pond on my 20 acre woods three years ago to hold a deer population as there is no other water source ( like a creek ) in my woods. Our archery opener was a few days away so we took the deer out of the woods by using my 4 wheeler and out into a picked corn field about two hundred yards to feild dress. Reason being, most all gut piles are visited by our coyote population soon after the field dressing and I did not want coyotes near where my tree stands were in my woods.

Those are a couple of scenarios that apply to me and my family. This next one applies to trophy hunters ( I don't consider myself a trophy hunter but I do try and harvest big dry does and mature ( 3 yrs and older bucks ) . Sometimes, like on a guided hunt in Illinois , on an outfitters land they do not want to field dress deer where clients will be hunting the next day.

One final scenario I have heard of is where a trophy hunter like a writer for a magazine or TV show harvests a big deer in the evening and needs good pictures for their business. They will drag it out whole ( when it is cold of course ) and pose the animal for pictures before it stiffens up and then take pics at first light when it is best to take pics. I have never done this and only heard about it. I have wondered if there is meat spoilage by leaving the guts in over night.

I might add that I elk hunt every year and usually one in my party gets at least a cow. We always quarter the animal out and take the quarters, hide and head ( if a bull ) out on our backs, sometimes using the gutless method and sometimes after gutting it.
Nick

M.Westendorf
12-08-2010, 07:22 AM
It's a great question Cleve and my answer is I do it both ways. I've dressed more deer where they were shot that draggin' them out whole like I did my buck this year. The area I hunt is "mostly" accessible by truck so I typically don't have far to get them out to the field edge. In the cases where I do have to drag them a decent distance, we typically dress them on the spot to reduce the weight.

No matter where I dress my deer, I always like to hang them to get the job done and let gravity help. I've done them on the ground and it works out alright too but my preference is do them while hanging. Getting them hung can be a challenge when you get a good sized deer.

We've got a spot at the cabin I stay at where we do all the field dressing chores. It's off a good distance away from the cabin and doesn't interfere with anything. Also this year my brother built a game pole that slides in his hitch of his truck so we have a portable way of hanging the deer and hoisting them up with a hand crank. It worked like a charm. Once we get them dressed, we bring them up to the cabin and hang them in a tree to cool out. We talked this year about building a game pole at the cabin this summer in prep for next years hunt.

rambler_wannabe
12-08-2010, 07:34 AM
One final scenario I have heard of is where a trophy hunter like a writer for a magazine or TV show harvests a big deer in the evening and needs good pictures for their business. They will drag it out whole ( when it is cold of course ) and pose the animal for pictures before it stiffens up and then take pics at first light when it is best to take pics. I have never done this and only heard about it. I have wondered if there is meat spoilage by leaving the guts in over night.


Guys that shoot it at last legal light and don't recover it until morning don't have spoilage issues in cool weather--unless gut shot or the coyotes find it first.

Cleve
12-08-2010, 10:06 AM
Thanks guys. Several things I wouldn't have thought of for why that's needed. Mostly because of having so much public land to hunt out here in the "wild west" I guess, that and different regulations here. Never had to worry about a gutpile being prohibited.

I guess I still wonder if you've had bring it back to someplace other than in "the field" how do you dispose of the offal?

circles
12-09-2010, 07:51 AM
I have access to big piece of private land that is hunted by a big group of family (not mine) and friends. The seasons are long, the limits are generous and the most productive hunting is out of well established ground blinds. I might take a few deer out of one stand and there is a fair chance that someone else will use the stand if I'm not there. If everyone gutted them where they fell it makes a mess for you or for the next guy who might use the stand We get the deer back to camp and field dress them there. It does make a mess at camp, so one of the periodic chores is to load up the gut wagon and take it somewhere where else to dump.

So the main reason we do it that way is so there aren't several gut piles right around the stand you are hunting. Not sure if deer are disturbed by gut piles but that's why we do it.

rambler_wannabe
12-09-2010, 08:14 AM
I guess I still wonder if you've had bring it back to someplace other than in "the field" how do you dispose of the offal?

Dogfood. They love it.

shumaker250
12-09-2010, 08:47 AM
Here in Virginia, we bring them out whole and leave no gut pile in the woods because we don't want the dogs to get on them. First we don't want the dogs to eat the guts. Second, if they get on the pile they won't leave to hunt. We have a pit we throw the guts in. Put in some lime and some dirt as we go. Different ideas on the dogs eating the guts even here. Some clubs do it some don't.

Browtine
12-09-2010, 03:56 PM
So the main reason we do it that way is so there aren't several gut piles right around the stand you are hunting.

Gut piles don't last long in my neck of the woods, sometimes no trace of them the next morning after an evening kill. However, we don't shoot a lot of deer in the same exact spots either.

testedone
12-09-2010, 05:34 PM
Left mine on the side of the road (see my road kill thread) at 2100 hours on a Saturday, Sunday morning on my way to church at 0800 the crows were finishing up the scraps...

Cleve
12-09-2010, 07:35 PM
Hearing lots of comments about not leaving the pile near a stand. Makes sense -- but since I've hunted deer now for most of four decades and only been in a tree stand one morning it just never would have occurred to me. Just the difference between hunting whitetails pressured on small parcels of private vs mulies and elk on nat'l forest/blm. Interesting how things are different place to place.
And gotta say that hunting where I never heard the phrase "gut wagon" is OK by me, but I'd likely think different if that's where I lived. Like several posters I'd never worried about leaving it because on those occasions when I went back the next day to the same spot the gut pile was always virtually gone thanks to ravens and camp-robber jays and coyotes, etc.
Thanks guys.

Jon S
12-09-2010, 09:10 PM
The first deer I killed some years back was at the edge of a meadow with a good pine forest behind it. I shot my deer at 8:30 in the morning. Gutted it, hauled it out. Came back later that afternoon to see what was still in the area, figured I could get some photos of coyotes or who knows what. Only thing left was a blood stain on the rocks that the gut pile laid upon. I know there are lions in the area as I have seen them nearby and am sure there are coyotes as well. They weren't hungry that night, for sure.

Cleve
12-10-2010, 12:13 PM
Yeah Jon too true. Smokepole and I saw cougar tracks in the snow up there a few years ago. It was interesting to see the line of tracks drop off a small rock out crop and then approach a spot where an elk had been bedded under a big ponderosa. The cat obviously had "moved" the elk, and we saw a couple of small bulls (with cow tags in our pockets, naturally) not far away. But no blood on the snow so more annoyance than attack I think.
Yes indeed, the predators and scavengers make awfully short work of a gut pile out here.