Sitka Mountain Gear
Pack Frame Bags and Treestands?
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
stick n string 06-Aug-18
cnelk 06-Aug-18
cnelk 06-Aug-18
elk yinzer 06-Aug-18
WV Mountaineer 06-Aug-18
elk yinzer 06-Aug-18
Franklin 06-Aug-18
Rocky D 06-Aug-18
Elkoholic 06-Aug-18
Cazador 06-Aug-18
Rgiesey 06-Aug-18
Predeter 07-Aug-18
WV Mountaineer 07-Aug-18
APauls 07-Aug-18
stick n string 07-Aug-18
ground hunter 07-Aug-18
Shawn 07-Aug-18
cnelk 07-Aug-18
Cazador 09-Aug-18
Titan_Bow 09-Aug-18
06-Aug-18
I find myself doing more and more of my hunting off the roads into public land. Whether its 30 minutes to an hour of hiking straight to the top of a mountain, or 1/2 mile to 1 mile out a ridgetop with enough up and down to make dragging a deer out myself more of a chore, I find myself feeling like I've done enough dragging. I also believe that as a Pennsylvania guy that probably won't ever hunt the vast areas of the west but can't get enough of the amazing western hunt recaps from guys here on Bowsite, the allure of hunting public ground and doing it deeper becomes stronger in what I want in a hunt. I realize that 90% of you guys here just spit your beer onto the keyboard when I said 30 minute hike and 1/2 mile to a mile to drag a deer, but for a chunky fella for me where I hunt in PA and MD, that's about as good of a hike i'm going to see for now. And dragging a deer that distance wears me out.

As I grow into this newfound, bowsite influenced hunter, I will probably venture more and more to quench the thirst that seems to be building. For some reason the thought of breaking down and "packing" a deer out of the woods just seems cool to me. And, now that PA has the crock of shit rule that a deer brought in from ANY part of ANY state that is on the CWD list (even if not killed within a designated CWD area) must be less the high risk parts before hitting the state line, to continue hunting Maryland I have to break the deer down anyhows. So if I gotta do that, may as well save a bunch of dragging just to break them down at the truck.

So i have begun looking at packs with frame options and not knowing jack about em, i am trying to think how it will work with hunting out of a treestand. I do hunt out of a climber most of the time, but am going to do more of the lock on with sticks route for a couple different reasons. I try not to have too much in my bag now because when i'm up in the stand, that thing has to hang somewhere. I am assuming that a pack with a frame is going to be a good bit bulkier and is gonna be awkward to hang with me up in the stand. A pack frame may not be completely necessary, especially if im using my climber because it could work as a frame. But i am about due for a new bag anyway, so getting one that i can detach when i dont need a frame and re-attach when i do doesn't seem like a super bad idea. So anybody that does this kinda thing, what do you do? What should i be looking for in what i want to do? Or am a complete idiot about all of this?

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks in advance

From: cnelk
06-Aug-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
This is my Nebraska WT rig. I modified the straps on my climber and strap my daypack onto that. Easy to mobile

From: cnelk
06-Aug-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Then, When I go back to the truck I use my Kelty Cache Hauler to pack the deer out

From: elk yinzer
06-Aug-18
I just make two trips. Take my stand and bow back to the truck and trade it out for my pack frame.

I use my pack frame from elk hunting, a mystery ranch. For just dedicated meat hauling, a simple batwing and frame like the Kelty cache hauler is the way to go.

I am also trying a saddle setup this year with the new MR popup pack. With that I can do it all in one trip for when I am way back, which for me the most I ever go is about 2 miles in.

It's 1,000x better than dragging when solo. When you have help, depends how steep it is. I did drag my buck last year because it was 200 yards downhill but I rarely do anymore.

06-Aug-18
I do it. And, do so because I've drug deer for Mile'(S). I'm not doing that anymore and, haven't for a while. I'll start by saying this. I have used a lot of bags and such before ending up with what I have now. I wish I had just spent the money first and saved myself the effort. Most of the other packs worked good but, they pale in comparison to hauling stuff on my Kifaru frames.

I have often thought about making my treestand the pack frame and rigging up a bag system the I could carry a deer out in that I could stow in one of those little accessory bags you can put on the tree stand arms. I have never done that though because I pre plant several climbing stands in these big areas I hunt so I can move with the deer. So, a pack frame suits me better.

I use a Kifaru. I have a 22 mag bag and, had a custom bag made for it by Rugged stitching, I use for whitetail tree stand hunting. I have and do carry my climber between the bag and the frame. That is kinda of a pain though to do often. So I started strapping it on the bag. That works pretty good. I have zero problems with a framed pack in the tree. These newer frames are stream lined and much more compact then the older version. So, it takes no more room then a big frame less pack. just make sure you have enough organization in the bag you use. If you do you'll love having the ability to pack the things out versus dragging the dang things.

I will never go back to dragging and carting game out. Way to many wasted trips. When you are 2.5 to 3 miles in and, have to go back out and get the cart, then come back, then cart it out, that is a 10-12 mile if you have a trail system to even use. That sucks doing a couple times in a week or two. Dragging them on the first time out, that far, sucks even worse. Figure out your needs and plan on doing it this way. You'll be glad you did.

From: elk yinzer
06-Aug-18
I've thought about trying to pack one out on my stand, but the suspension I have on there just isn't beefy enough to handle it. A good buck in one trip, you are looking at a good 50 or 60 pounds of meat, maybe more and add in the horns, maybe the head, maybe even the cape and I like to keep the ribs too. It's not a walk in the park, but a lot better than dragging.

From: Franklin
06-Aug-18
It kind of depends on what kind of $$$$ you are willing to spend. Some of the pack frames can get expensive and only make sense if you have the other part (bag) that makes up the complete pack. These are used by remote hunters. If I was you I would look for a external frame pack on Craigslist or Ebay and take the pack off. Meat can be tied or strapped to the frame as suggested above. This is a very inexpensive way to go.

From: Rocky D
06-Aug-18
I drag a mile or so at 61 but it’s typically downhill. Set a goal get in shape. Bowsite is a great place for motivation.

From: Elkoholic
06-Aug-18

Elkoholic's embedded Photo
Elkoholic's embedded Photo
How about trying to ride one out. Haha

From: Cazador
06-Aug-18
Kifaru, although a great pack, is WAY OVERKILL for treestand deer hunts. I've boned out a ton of deer in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, etc. A badlands style back in the 2200 range, or a simple pack frame like a Kelty is all you will need.

Kifaru packs and whitetails are about as over blown as FOC and arrows and single bevel broadheads.

From: Rgiesey
06-Aug-18

From: Predeter
07-Aug-18

Predeter's Link
Although likely overkill and definitely expensive, check out the Kifaru Eastern Ruck at my link. I don't own one and honestly don't think it's as good as it could be, but I do think it's about the best pack available for what your describing. If nothing else it might give you some ideas on features to look for in something cheaper.

07-Aug-18
What ever you do stick, better call cazador to get his opinion before doing it. He seems to have it all figured out.

Here is reality. A good deer, gear, and stand is going to push you to your limits on one trip. Like 100 pounds or better. So, it can be called over blown by some but, I’ll take it and be happy to have a good pack frame designed for that.

What brand you buy is really upto you. It isn’t over kill if you choose Kifaru. Like many eastern hunters here, you’ll likely put it to work out west one day too.

Anyways, you can buy another frame and use it with just as much success if you desire. It really doesn’t matter. What you said you needed was a pack frame. So, The choice is yours. Choose wisely based on what you need. Or, just call caxador.

From: APauls
07-Aug-18
That's cool Justin. I have gone through a few packs that do everything you describe and now have a packagethat I am very very happy with and can't really foresee getting any better. I have used a Sitka Toolbucket pack as it was apparently designed to haul a stand and it was the worst of the three I used. I then purchased an Eberlestock J104 a number of years back and still have it for a backup pack. It makes hauling a stand very easey and convenient. I use a LW alpha and using one single buckle it would buckle into the pack securely, then I would use two cinch straps to cinch my steps to the pack. The downside to this pack is it does not have load lifters and so it does not carry a heavy load well. Which is not a problem with just stands etc. When I put 80% of a caribou in there it showed it's weakness.

I have since bought a Kuiu Icon Pro and have the 1800, and 5200 bags. I find it to be an outstanding pack. It hauls a stand very effectively, quietly, and almost as important is quick to load and unload. The stand goes into the "meat hauler" area between the frame and the bag keeping the weight close to your back where you want it. The pack has load lifters and handles a large load comfortably. Or at least it handles all the weight that I can handle comfortably. I've carried 80-100lbs for sure for distances, but too be honest my legs are not strong enough to be doing 120-150lb loads any distance like some other animals of people on here. By listening to what some people carry they are either animals, or misjudging weight. But I hunt with a couple guys that are pure animal so I know it happens. I have also heard people claim to carry 120lb elk quarters which is hilarious.

Anyways, I think the Kuiu Icon Pro pack is a great decision or another similar pack where you can carry your load up against the frame between the bag and the frame. That will serve you well, and then you the horizontal straps to carry climbing sticks etc. This leaves the bag free for whatever you need. For a purely whitetail guy, a 3200 bag would be optimal that would have enough space for all day sits in cold weather - extra clothing, lunches etc.

Good luck in your quest.

07-Aug-18
Thanks for all the feedback. Greatly appreciated!

07-Aug-18
Deer are easy to handle if you do it right. I know exactly what you are saying, but I do not know your game laws. Most laws out of PA, were usually pretty lame, in the years past.

When I hunt N Wis, this would be above Hwy 8 or the western UP, by my house, I pack deer out. No way would I drag a deer........ I do hunt solo and am pushing 70, and just had heart surgery last fall, but still am in pretty good shape.........

I use a "pack mule", which is made by sandpiper out of southern California. You can u tube it, or go one line, but it is the best frame I have used for in all of my years. It is light, solid, and if you have to pack out, it does a nice job.

I just field dress and remove legs at the joints, and cut my deer in half. Now I am easily handling it. I do a number of things. easy to put on my cart, if I have one along. easy to put on my black folder style sled, if there is snow, or its in the swamp. If I have to pack out, can get the section on the "mule" and hang the other up, to come back for, but that is rare.......

If I bone it out, which I have done for a deer shot mid day, I always have game bags with me. I get cheap bags from Wal Mart at the end of season, they are good enough for what I do with them, made by allen, they are one and done

Here is another tip, since you mentioned you use a climber. Look into the Tree stand transportation system made by XOP, with that attached to your climber, you will not notice it on your back, and can get rid of the uncomfortable shoulder straps

as for knives and tools, little as possible. I used a bobcat hatchet from Knives of Alaska, small and a great do it all tool, and a havalon.....

as with everything, make your rigs as easy as possible, test them out, and get yourself a system down

good luck

From: Shawn
07-Aug-18
If we are talking deer here, even a big whitetail that dresses 200#s can be boned out and you end up with maybe 100#s and that is pushing it big time. I would just make two trips and take my time, we are not talking miles here. One trip carry out the boned meat, next trip the bow , stand and whatever else. I have been known to leave everything in the woods overnight gear wise and just get the deer out and go back in the morning for my gear!! Shawn

From: cnelk
07-Aug-18

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
I won’t drag a deer 200yds anymore. Screw that. I have those t shirts

Since the above pic of the Kelty I now have the Icon Pro 1850. It works just like it should for packing WT out of the woods.

Just like Apauls mentioned above it will also work for packing a tree stand / meat

It just costs a bit more than the Kelty

From: Cazador
09-Aug-18

Cazador's embedded Photo
Cazador's embedded Photo
Back yard AM deer hunt in WV.

Pack with "possibles pouch" and "kill kit" minus my 70% FOC arrows.

God Bless

From: Titan_Bow
09-Aug-18
I will say, the EXO 3500 I bought several years ago has been a God-send for Nebraska deer and turkeys. I bought the pack for elk hunting, which it is great for that, but trying to get my 12 year old his first archery deer last year, I found it a piece of cake to carry 2 hang on stands and all our gear, in relative comfort. Carrying the double-bull and all our stuff is a piece of cake too. Again, not sure I would have dropped that kind of coin if whitetail stand hunting was all I was doing, but a high end backpack with a load carrying system, is really worth it if you think more than 50% of your hunting would truly require it.

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