Mathews Inc.
Using Game Carts
Equipment
Contributors to this thread:
Wild Bill 11-Mar-23
Jaquomo 11-Mar-23
Grey Ghost 11-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 11-Mar-23
Grey Ghost 11-Mar-23
HDE 11-Mar-23
fuzzy 11-Mar-23
PushCoArcher 11-Mar-23
TGbow 11-Mar-23
INbowdude 11-Mar-23
INbowdude 11-Mar-23
BULELK1 12-Mar-23
Franzen 12-Mar-23
HDE 12-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 12-Mar-23
Paul@thefort 12-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 12-Mar-23
Grey Ghost 12-Mar-23
Cheesehead Mike 12-Mar-23
Grey Ghost 12-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 12-Mar-23
TGbow 12-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 12-Mar-23
bluesman 13-Mar-23
Huntiam 13-Mar-23
ILbowhntr 13-Mar-23
DanaC 13-Mar-23
fuzzy 13-Mar-23
cnelk 13-Mar-23
cnelk 13-Mar-23
montnatom 13-Mar-23
Jaquomo 13-Mar-23
Hh76 13-Mar-23
Grey Ghost 13-Mar-23
DonVathome 13-Mar-23
Jaquomo 13-Mar-23
Grey Ghost 13-Mar-23
greenmountain 13-Mar-23
Jaquomo 13-Mar-23
Live2Hunt 14-Mar-23
HDE 14-Mar-23
cnelk 14-Mar-23
Paul@thefort 14-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 14-Mar-23
trophyhill 14-Mar-23
Corax_latrans 14-Mar-23
Rgiesey 14-Mar-23
cptbs 14-Mar-23
cptbs 14-Mar-23
WV Mountaineer 14-Mar-23
cnelk 14-Mar-23
cptbs 16-Mar-23
Wild Bill 02-Dec-23
Corax_latrans 02-Dec-23
Wild Bill 13-Feb-24
Wild Bill 23-Feb-24
Wild Bill 23-Feb-24
Mule Power 23-Feb-24
From: Wild Bill
11-Mar-23
I realize the use of non-motorized game carts in the fields of hunting big game has come under scrutiny. I checked with Idaho F&G on this very subject. Their reply was, "If the pull along game cart is non-motorized, it is perfectly legal to use in the field!" So, if y'all are considering purchasing a game cart for hunting in restricted areas, avoid the electric motorized game carts. My favorite is the Hawk Crawler game cart!

From: Jaquomo
11-Mar-23
I caught aomenguys from Minnesota hauling elk quarters out of a designated CO wilderness area with a game cart. I told them it was illegal, and an argument ensued. They insisted only "motorized" carts were prohibited. No cell service within an hour so I couldn't call them in, and they left later that afternoon.

From: Grey Ghost
11-Mar-23
It's kinda silly that non-motorized game carts are not be allowed in wilderness areas because they are claimed to be too destructive to the environment, yet horses and mules are fine. I own horses and know how destructive they are to the landscape. I'm pretty sure a non-motorized game cart pales in comparison.

Matt

11-Mar-23
The difference between carts/wheels and hooves, though….

Hooves leave Indentations; wheels leave Ruts. Ruts channel water and cause erosion issues.

Yes, a string of horses (or s herd of Elk) can do the same thing, but I recall one time when I rode my MTB across a pine flat in a bit of National Forest, and I was able to spot that track for weeks afterward, just as a continuous depression in the otherwise undisturbed pine duff. Yes, I had to know where to look for it - not like I had driven a DitchWitch through there or anything - but I could see how something like that could collect rainwater and end up carving a trench over time.

There’s a little state park near me which has just been savaged by too many wheels. Opposite end of the spectrum from one lightweight cyclist rolling quietly across a flat, but jarring just the same…

And of course the other thing….

Horses/llamas are like single-string bows - they are a lot of work and a year-round obligation that not many are willing to take on, so the amount of damage they can do is somewhat self-limiting….

From: Grey Ghost
11-Mar-23
It would take hundreds of trips over the exact same path with a non-motorized game cart to create the same destruction that a few trips with a string of pack horses creates. It's not even debatable. A game cart doesn't eat native graze or crap everywhere, either. Horses are often rented, or owned by a hunter's outfitter, so they don't necessary require a "year-round obligation".

Of course, if they banned horses and mules, all the guys who whine about e-bikes would throw a fit.

Matt

From: HDE
11-Mar-23
A motorized gc is for relatively flat ground. Under load over uneven terrain and underbrush (sagbrush), the battery would discharge at a faster rate because of the increase in amp use of the motor.

And then you get to roll out that extra weight halfway through the packout.

From: fuzzy
11-Mar-23
You'd never get any sort of wheeled cart around these ridges. Too many rocks, 40% plus slopes, steep sided rocky creeks , downed timber, stumps and rhododendron thickets.

From: PushCoArcher
11-Mar-23

PushCoArcher's embedded Photo
PushCoArcher's embedded Photo
Most use mines ever seen.

From: TGbow
11-Mar-23
Seems ridiculous, some of the laws some states adapt

From: INbowdude
11-Mar-23

INbowdude's embedded Photo
INbowdude's embedded Photo
I think this is an old Warren & Sweat Mule. I replaced the tires with knobby bicycle tires.

From: INbowdude
11-Mar-23

INbowdude's embedded Photo
INbowdude's embedded Photo
I think this is an old Warren & Sweat Mule. I replaced the tires with knobby bicycle tires.

From: BULELK1
12-Mar-23

BULELK1's embedded Photo
Boned out Cow elk, 1 load to get her out with my backpack load too. 123 lbs at the butcher.
BULELK1's embedded Photo
Boned out Cow elk, 1 load to get her out with my backpack load too. 123 lbs at the butcher.
I like my single center wheel G-cart.

I upgraded the tire to 28 inches so I could cruise over sage brush most of the time.

I've used it for everything from elk to Buffalo.

Good luck, Robb

From: Franzen
12-Mar-23
Why on earth would game carts be under scrutiny? I've heard dumber things in politics, but damn that should get a pretty high ranking. I've never used one, but could see where they could be really helpful, especially for the older hunter.

Wilderness restrictions don't really have anything to do with game cart scrutiny. Typically, "machines" just aren't allowed, and game carts just happen to fall in that category.

From: HDE
12-Mar-23
^^^ that's how gov't employees justify their existence. We really don't need them the way they think we do...

12-Mar-23
“ It would take hundreds of trips over the exact same path with a non-motorized game cart to create the same destruction that a few trips with a string of pack horses creates.”

Again - the problem with tire tracks is not so much the immediate impact as the erosion issue; it takes surprisingly little to put it into motion.

But the other piece in a Wilderness area is simply the ban on mechanized conveyances. It’s a bright line that even the dimmest can understand. No gradual creeping in of more and more “small” advances.

Too bad the same logic of “No wheels, period” was never applied to archery equipment…

From: Paul@thefort
12-Mar-23

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
boned out elk meat, bagged and heading for the truck.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
boned out elk meat, bagged and heading for the truck.
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and then another option vs, on your back
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
and then another option vs, on your back
There was/is a push to allow e-bikes in Wilderness Area along with mt bikes. Lets keep the wild areas wild, on foot or hoof. Pic using game carts to haul in camp in a non wilderness area.

12-Mar-23
“ There was/is a push to allow e-bikes in Wilderness Area along with mt bikes.”

NO bikes are permitted in Wilderness Areas. No wheels of any kind.

From: Grey Ghost
12-Mar-23
Why don't the same people who whine about e-bikes enabling "lard-asses" to access backcountry feel the same way about horses and mules, which are far more enabling, and are more destructive?

Matt

12-Mar-23

Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
Cheesehead Mike's embedded Photo
I built my game cart over 30 years ago and I use it whenever I legally can and whenever the terrain allows. Thinking about building a one-wheel cart.

From: Grey Ghost
12-Mar-23
So, AZ, when you come across a large camp in a wilderness area that is full of modern conveniences like wall tents, stoves, cots with air mattresses, solar shower, fold up chairs and tables, solar chargers etc... all packed in on horses, along with 4-6 out-of-shape hunters, does that appeal to your "pre-Columbian natural environment experience?"

Matt

12-Mar-23
Don’t forget - in “Pre-Columbian” times on this continent, there WERE no steenking horses. Those were a Spanish import. All of the native horses had been eaten a long, long time ago.

I wouldn’t oppose some reasonable limits on horses in WAs, though I’d be lying if I said I don’t still daydream a bit about taking a ride across the sky someday…. I do agree that the type of camp that you described has no place in Wilderness. They leave far too big a footprint.

From: TGbow
12-Mar-23
HDE hit the nail on the head..that also pertains to 99% of all government entities

12-Mar-23
I may have misinterpreted Paul’s earlier post on the “push” to allow E bikes in the wilderness areas “along with other mountain bikes”…

My initial take was that he was saying that human powered bicycles were already permitted, which I think we all can agree is erroneous information. But if Paul was saying that there was a push for allowing all types of bikes which was prompted by E bike enthusiasts (and manufacturers), I guess that’s not shocking. Those trails were always very quiet above 7,000-8’000 feet, with occasional exceptions on routes like Breckenridge to Frisco, where 99% of the riders would down-hill the single-track and take the bike-path along the highway to get back up. There wasn’t sufficient interest in biking those areas when it was so physically demanding that (practically speaking) nobody really wanted to do it…

JMO…. When “advances” in the equipment make the resource so “accessible” that people start wanting to open up more areas to reduce the user density… it’s time to impose some/more restrictions on the equipment.

From: bluesman
13-Mar-23
If your using your own muscles to pull a cart , personally I really think it should be allowed anywhere . What kind of world are we getting into when the use of human strength is prohibited . So without a cart you might need 2 to 3 trips , risk wasting meat that might spoil or risk an encounter with an apex predators who finds your meat before you return on the next trip in . I certain understand the restriction of motorized devices in pretine sensitive areas .. but pull cart ????

From: Huntiam
13-Mar-23
That’s a lame law and needs changed… horses do 10* the damage not even debatable

From: ILbowhntr
13-Mar-23
Plus horses fart, contributing to the “Greenhouse Effect”!

From: DanaC
13-Mar-23
I see a lot of off-road bikes out there with big fat tires. Would those reduce the terrain damage if installed on a game cart?

From: fuzzy
13-Mar-23
I grew up with horses both work and draft. Owned horses donkies and mules for 39 years. They can be useful but they are hard on frequently traveled trails . There are sections of the AT near me where horse riders sometimes illegally cut through. Even those occasional trips do real damage. Mountain bikers also sneak onto parts of the AT but I see less damage

From: cnelk
13-Mar-23

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
I built a 2-wheeled game cart many years ago. It’s hauled lots of deer and elk out of the woods. It was useful in certain situations

From: cnelk
13-Mar-23
I have since modified the game cart so I can pull it with my ebike

From: montnatom
13-Mar-23

montnatom's embedded Photo
montnatom's embedded Photo
not sure this was my best move ever but it worked. 4 miles in on a horse trail.

From: Jaquomo
13-Mar-23

Jaquomo's Link
There is no push to allow ebikes into wilderness areas. Never has been. There is no organized eMTB group. The push is from conventional MTB organizations who want access to non-mechanized areas, especially designated wilderness areas.

Note the term, "nonmechanized". That means no wheels. The only "mechanized", wheeled devices allowed in wilderness areas are compound bows.

Meanwhile, horses and mule pack strings tear the living hell out of wilderness area trails, leaving fly-swarming, stinky piles of crap everywhere, creating serious erosion, especially on switchbacks, and allowing the use of modern conveniences in the supposedly "rugged" backcountry. Cases of beer, warm tents with stoves, cots, solar power, barbecue grills, propane devices including propane hot showers, for those willing to pay for the opportunity to "go deep" with little effort.

I used to own a string of riding and pack horses. A couple horses going up a trail, ok. Multiply that times hundreds all summer and fall, and the damage is staggering. Anyone who doesn't understand that has never hiked up a popular wilderness area trail on foot, dodging horseshit, riders, packers, and trying to stay on one side of the path or the other because the center is rutted out. Some dude ranches near wilderness areas offer trail rides nearly every day all summer.

From: Hh76
13-Mar-23
The idea of not allowing wheels in wilderness areas is probably less about destruction of terrain, and more about drawing a very clear line in the sand.

Keep things simple and draw a distinct line. No wheels. No room for lobbyists to argue that we should accept some new technology.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Mar-23

Grey Ghost's Link
There was actually a Republican sponsored bill (H.R. 1349) introduced to the House in 2017-2018 that would have allowed bicycles, wheelchairs, strollers, and game carts in wilderness areas. It's not clear to me what happened to it.

Matt

From: DonVathome
13-Mar-23
Game carts are fantastic when you have a trail and somewhat level ground - common here in Ohio. Not fun on hills even with brakes, unless you are going downhill:)

Never used motorized but when I used a cart it was NICE.

From: Jaquomo
13-Mar-23
GG, there have also been attempts in the past to modify wilderness rules to allow mechanized/motorized transport for some under the ADA premise. I believe there was also a lawsuit at one time.

From: Grey Ghost
13-Mar-23
Lou, as I understand it, wheelchairs are currently allowed in wilderness areas for people with disabilities, even battery powered wheelchairs. Is that not correct?

Matt

13-Mar-23
Where I live mountain bikes are fine but we can't transport our stands into the woods with a wheelbarrow on some public land. They have even constructed bridges and jumps. It doesn't seem right. If they want to ban wheeled vehicles I am ok as long as it is all wheeled vehicles.

From: Jaquomo
13-Mar-23

Jaquomo's Link
GG, I guess you're right. I did not know that. "As long as they are suitable for indoor use". So presumably one of those Tred Barta tank-track "wheelchairs" wouldn't be allowed. I've never hiked into a wilderness area where a wheelchair could navigate unless being carried, mostly due to rutting from horse traffic

From: Live2Hunt
14-Mar-23
We bought a chainsaw capstan winch that we were going to use to pull elk out. People we talked to in Idaho said they were the way to go. One guy took an old canoe cut in half and would pull the whole elk out. Since this is not wheeled, would this be legal in wilderness areas?

From: HDE
14-Mar-23
^^^ no. It's got a motor/engine.

From: cnelk
14-Mar-23

cnelk's embedded Photo
cnelk's embedded Photo
Back in 2006 I borrowed a homemade one-wheeled game cart.

I killed a bull about 3-4 miles back in on closed logging roads. I had a buddy help me bring it out.

It was the absolute worst. The handles were too high so you had to always have your arms bent. Arm and shoulder fatigue at its worst.

It was after that I built my own.

From: Paul@thefort
14-Mar-23

Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
Paul@thefort's embedded Photo
A one wheeled cart is all about a low profile to maintain balance. One wheeled carts are great on a narrow horse trail. I witnessed a hunter with a two wheeled cart trying to pull it up a narrow horse trail and one wheel was always snagging in the trailside brush. ONe wheel cart are for boned out bagged meat and not for the hole animal, or quartered bone- in sections. I have had success with a one wheel cart traveling across country, but that was before all of the downed pine bark dead trees in Colorado.

14-Mar-23
“ The idea of not allowing wheels in wilderness areas is probably less about destruction of terrain, and more about drawing a very clear line in the sand. Keep things simple and draw a distinct line. No wheels. No room for lobbyists to argue that we should accept some new technology.”

Sounds about right. Every Genuinely Stupid Law I have ever heard of was enacted in response to some jack-wagon exploiting a loophole and evading prosecution because no specific law had been broken.

Most states enacted Archery seasons with a prohibition on crossbows because they were objectively NOT the type of weapon that the season was supposed to be for. It’s not that there was no historical precedent for them, but they were weighed and rejected as Not Consistent With the Point of the Exercise. Had compounds arrived on the scene in their current form, most likely they would have been rejected on the same basis, because NOT equivalent technology.

A lot of compound shooters hold that crossbow use should be restricted to those with a “real” physical handicap, but if I recall correctly, the compound itself was originally developed as adaptive equipment for the handicapped…

So whether you agree with allowing horse/mule/llama pack animals or not, they’re kind of hard to prohibit because they move on feet. They’re not at all mechanized, so the logical extension of banning them invites a ban on anything else that travels on feet….

“ [mountain bikers] have even constructed bridges and jumps.”

That’s what has happened in the drainage we used to hunt. Now the recreational traffic is completely out of hand, all summer long. And it doesn’t take too many skid-marks to trash a trail and turn it into a creek. You can say that a pack-string can do worse damage and more quickly, but the potential for MTB use to multiply is quite a bit higher; probably not a much larger number of potential horseback riders just waiting to be unleashed, but bicycles are remarkably low maintenance in the off season and opening up WA to them would no doubt result in a big spike in usage….

Apparently all it takes is a few Social Media influencers to talk it up…

14-Mar-23
A buddy and i hauled an elk out of the backcountry on a cart one time. I will never ever do that again. Would have been much easier on our backs 1 load at a time.

14-Mar-23
“ Would have been much easier on our backs 1 load at a time.”

Well, there IS that… a friend of mine tried to cart an Elk out of a tough area and ended up having to make an extra trip to retrieve the remains of the cart!

From: Rgiesey
14-Mar-23
Borrowed one like cnelks. Packed a bull a couple miles uphill with my son-in-law. Very hard on him. Flat lander. Also tire was flat but made it out in one trip. Redid the tire and didn’t use it again.

From: cptbs
14-Mar-23
Paul, I'm curious about the cart in your pictures. I thought it might be of your own making, but this article seems to indicate it may have been manufactured. https://gametote.com/game-cart-review Any info on that cart is appreciated.

From: cptbs
14-Mar-23
Just found this old thread, it has the info I was seeking. Looks like I need to make one. https://forums.bowsite.com/TF/bgforums/thread.cfm?threadid=357932&forum=2

14-Mar-23
I swore off game carts a dozen years ago. Unless the trail is maintained, they are a lot of work. More work than packing. Now, on a gated road they are nice.

From: cnelk
14-Mar-23
I’m with WV - with the packs nowadays you can get an animal out quicker than dragging a game cart in and out.

From: cptbs
16-Mar-23
I came across this in my search for a one wheel game cart. Lots of videos out there. https://monowalker.com/product-categoy/hiking-trailer/?lang=en&v=7516fd43adaa Probably out of my price range, but it seems like it would work for my need. I like how it can be taken apart for storing when not in use.

From: Wild Bill
02-Dec-23
I've run across many questions concerning when to use a game cart while hunting. When I am hunting in a heavily pressured area, I hang my meat first and then retrieve my game cart from the truck to haul out meat. If I'm hunting way back off the road and away from crowds, I bring along my game cart and park it nearby to where I'm doing a final stock. I then retrieve my game cart and haul out my meat. In either case, I use trails to get close enough to fill my tag. Regardless, I have a dedicated chain and lock to secure my game cart to a tree while in the field. I also have a Smitty Sled for snow conditions.

02-Dec-23
Such a nuisance that theft-prevention has become a critical “Hunting” skill…..

I always wonder what people are thinking when they put those tacks in the trees to let everyone know where they have found a promising spot….

From: Wild Bill
13-Feb-24
If y'all will read your game books published by your local game and fish, you'll find it covers the use of anything motorized and bicycles. However, Idaho's rule book doesn't cover the use of non-motorized game carts. In discussing these manual game carts for hauling out game meat, I was informed that these fall within a gray area and so allowances are made for their use. In short, using non-motorized game carts in the field are fine while hunting.

From: Wild Bill
23-Feb-24
While hunting in Idaho, if the question arises concerning your using a game cart to retrieve your downed game animal, simply pull out you cell phone and call Idaho F&G. Be sure to put your phone on speaker phone so all cancer the answer, and ask specifically if you are allowed to use a game cart for retrieving downed game animals in the field. This way, the F&G Department doesn't have to dispatch an officer to settle the issue.

From: Wild Bill
23-Feb-24
Most know-it-all's use "wilderness areas" as justification for turning "Karen" on hunters using game carts for retrieving downed gamed animals in the field. FYI: The Wilderness Preservation System is co-managed by the National Park Service, BLM, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and US Forest Service. Each federal agency manages several individual wilderness units that differ in size and geography. If in doubt, simply call your local agency and ask specifically about using a game cart to retrieve downed game animals from the field. Here in Idaho, I have yet to be denied the use of my game cart for this purpose.

From: Mule Power
23-Feb-24
The keyword isn’t “motorized“. It’s mechanized. That would include devices with gears such as bicycles. There is far more non-wilderness than wilderness so if you want to use your game cart, there are plenty of places to do it without disturbing people who want a true wilderness experience.

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