GameKeepers Emag

Gamekeepers Winter 2015

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© Jesse Raley #farmingforwildlife 105 T wo hunters were dragging a deer out of the woods by its hind legs when they came upon a warden. After checking their licenses and confirming that all was as it should be he asked them, "You fellas know you're dragging that deer the wrong way?" Confused looks came over both their faces as they turned first toward each other, then back to the warden. "We had no idea," one hunter said to the warden. "Thanks." With that, they each grabbed a leg, turned the deer around and started dragging it in the other direction. (Insert rim shot here). It's a humorous story, and transporting any hard-won game should be a light-hearted affair. But it can become a serious matter if proper consideration is not given to doing it safely. None of us are getting any younger. At my last physical exam the doctor told me my blood pres- sure levels were normal, "for my age," but that put me at risk, because of my age. A quick look at hunter demographics shows I'm not alone. The majority of hunters are of an age where phys- ical exertion poses increased risk of health prob- lems like heart attacks. The same holds true for younger folks who may not be in perfect physical condition, or any folks with un-diagnosed heart problems or other physical ailments. What fol- lows is some advice on how to get your game out of the woods safely. Shape Up While it may not be the easiest or most palat- able for some, the most obvious first step to avoid potential health risk is getting in shape. Most folks probably figure they're fit enough to walk to and from their stands and that's good enough. They fail to consider what happens should they actually connect with a deer or other big game animal and need to deal with the work that follows. Take Your Time You want to get your game out of the field as soon as possible, particularly if it's warm, but no animal is worth risking your health over. Drag only as far as you can without over-exerting your- self. Take frequent breaks as needed and move the animal incrementally. Enlist Help Hunters are typically a self-sufficient lot, preferring to do things themselves. They may not want to inconvenience friends or family but it will be a lot more inconvenient for them searching for you in the dark when you fail to return to home or camp at the end of the day. For some it's a matter of pride, but "pride often goeth before the fall." Don't be too shy or too proud to enlist help. Besides, having someone to share the experience with makes it all the richer. Recruiting help doesn't just mean finding someone else to grab the other antler. It also includes enlisting the aid of machines. "Use your brain, not your brawn," my father used to tell me. And there are numerous options. The simplest would be some type of tarp or sled so the carcass slides along more easily. The next would be employing a wheeled cart, and If you don't have the mechanical means to move larger game like moose and elk, you may have to quarter them and take them out in pieces. An ATV provides an easier and safer way to transport game from the field. © Bob Humphrey © Bob Humphrey

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