9 replies [Last post]
Location: Denver
Joined: 10/16/2009
Posts: 70
Looking for gear suggestions (tongue in cheek!)

Hi all -

I just realized that I may have all of the gear I need this year which is kinda disturbing but then I thought back to what went wrong last year and realized that yes, maybe I need to make a couple of "investments."

Item 1:  portable winch or similar.  Why?  Last year's bull crashed down and wedged himself between two large boulders.  I was hunting alone and absolutely could not move him without travelling a fair distance to get some help.  I don't imagine I'd want to pack a come-along just in case this scenario repeats itself, but if someone knows of an ultra lightweight block and tackle ... maybe something hi tech that I can wear on my wrist like James Bond or Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible... could come in handy!

Item 2:  I see these game carts in the catalogs.  Anyone use one?  I've hauled quarters on my back lashed to a frame.  I've also deboned and bagged meat.  I've also paid a packer ... spendy and time consuming.  I'm not hunting a wilderness area and there are plenty of closed trails.  Anyone ever just keep a wheelbarrow in the back of their truck?  How 'bout a sled when there is snow?  I suppose I could try and rent a llama or two.

Item 3: recommendations on knives and sharpeners.  I'm not wild about any of my knives, and could really use some good suggestions.

Yes, I'm feeling a little nuts tonight.  Got dat fever!

Thanks all!  Stay safe and have a great season. 






SGM's picture
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Location: Canon City, Colorado
Joined: 08/13/2011
Posts: 990
My 2 cents worth

Brown99, here is my 2 cents worth.


No magical light weight winch system I know of that you can pack with you for a day of hunting. I always take a come-a-long with on any hunting trip.  Never had to use it to get out a stuck elk but have used it several times to help hang elk or deer. Also used it to move downed trees over roads and even pulled  an ATV back on the road with it once. Not something you pack for a day of hunting but for sure is in the camp.


Game carts, love them! I have the Cabelas Magnum that can hold 350 or 500 pounds. As I am getting older my mind keeps telling me I can pack it out on my back but my body argues allot after I do it. The cart is easy to pull up or down hills and over most obstacles. Huge rocks and or trees you need to go around but that is true if you pack it out too. Deer are one trip and you are done. Elk for the most part are one or two trips at the most. Only downside I have had was in a swampy area. Cart tends to sink a little. Just quartered the elk and moved over to a dry spot so not a real issue. I have also use a kids sled if hunting late season with snow.  Sure helps but is a little hard to control and tie the meat down in. Still better than packing it on the back IMO.


Knifes, I like the Wyoming knife. Blade is supper sharp and is replaceable so no sharpening unless you want to. Cost $5 for a replacement blade and it takes 30 seconds to change the blade out if that long. Each blade is good for 2 deer or an elk and I am talking from gutting to freezer. Main blade is about 1.5 inches but to me that is plenty and you have great control over the blade. The back side has a gut hook for help in skinning the critter.  As I said I use the Wyoming from gutting to butchering with no issues.


Hope that helps and understand you about going nuts. I am getting the fever bad and still have a month and a half before season. Good luck!

Joined: 04/03/2014
Posts: 2
Lightweight Winch

Actually, I just bought a 20lbs winch that I take with me everywhere on my hunt, as it is small and light. It's called the Portable Winch, bought it from westcoastwinch.com. It's a little pricy but worth it with how much I use it.

Ca_Vermonster's picture
Grand Slam Challenge Winner!Moderator
Location: San Diego, CA
Joined: 07/27/2007
Posts: 5783
Actually, some very good

Actually, some very good questions.  I have also wondered about the game carts.  But, I could imagine out in CO or places like it, you may not be able to handle them over that type of terrain.  Maybe out east where you have logging roads, farm fields, etc.

I too would like to know about a sharpener.  I just put that on my short list for items to buy at Bass Pro, cause I have a couple of gift certificates to spend.  I don't have a knife sharpener, and if I am serious about going to CO next year, I imagine a deer an elk (Gonna get both, I know it Wink ) would dull them a little bit.

Did you post photos of the elk in the crack last year?  I think I remember that post, unless it was some other story I read.

Good luck this fall!

Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4121
In my opinion game carts are

In my opinion game carts are over rated unless you are using them on fairly flat land on a trail.  A friend of mine bought one years ago and after I shot a cow elk he brought it into the area where we had to pack her out from.  We placed both hind quarters on the cart and the next thing that we did was take one of them off.  Getting to the main tail was down hill and the cart didn't have a break which it should of and then when he was trying to pull it up hill we found out that it required both of us to do it.  So as he dragged one quarter out on the cart I packed the other out on my back.  For the next trip we left the cart at the truck.   

As for a portable winch if you have the money they are worth their weight.  My nieces husband has one of the chain saw type but you use a rope on a capstan wheel.  We have hauled out more than one elk out with that. 

Knifes and sharpeners are up to you.  I like Buck and Gerber with a 4"-6" blades and usually when I am off hunting I will have at least 4-5 knifes with me counting my pocket knife and Leatherman that I always pack.  I also pack a small ceramic crock stick that I use for sharpening but I have seen other with just a wet-stone that works just as well.  One thing to add is a saw, and I use two of them depending on where I am going.  One is a Gerber folding saw with both a bone and wood saw.  The other is a Wyoming saw with both blades. 

Jdizzle's picture
Location: Boulder, CO
Joined: 09/02/2011
Posts: 58

As far as sharpeners go I have bought a lot of small junk ones trying to find a good field one. The Smiths pocket pal has to be the worst POS I've ever used. It made my knives duller, so stay away from that one. I have read good reviews about the accusharp but have not used it and the pocket had good reviews too but was worthless so take reviews on knife sharpeners with a grain of salt. I tend to think most peoples idea of sharp is different than mine. So what I do is take a small diamond stone. There are a few out there and are relatively cheap. They do take a little skill to use, but just practice with some old knives at home, or get some junk knives from good will.

Location: Denver
Joined: 10/16/2009
Posts: 70
Thanks All!

Yeah, I didn't expect to find a lightweight packable winch but had to ask.  Definitely putting one in the truck this year.

On the cart, I typically stick to closed FS trails, and never wander more than a couple 100 yards from these trails.  It's easy, quiet hiking and generally not too steep (until the elk you shoot decides to to run vertical and do a couple figure 8s in the nasty dog hair!).  I'm thinking a cart could come in handy.

The attached pic only shows one of the rocks. There is another one behind the tree on the left.  I always imagined how difficult it might be gutting an animal like this on a steep slope.  This spot was pretty flat and there was simply no way to move that rock or roll him over without help.

Thanks all!  One day closer!

2010 Bull Elk.jpg
2010 Bull Elk.jpg91.78 KB
Critter's picture
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Location: Western Colorado
Joined: 03/26/2009
Posts: 4121
I had a friend that used to

I had a friend that used to change out the winch cable on the winch that he had on his truck every hunting season.  He would pull off the 100' of 3/8" cable and replace it with however much 1/8" aircraft cable that he could get onto it.  He would then after shooting a elk in the bottom of a canyon take a radio with him and have his wife run the controls to winch the elk out of the canyon.  It worked quite nicely.  He even used it to get other hunters unstuck but would use a couple of snatch blocks to double, triple or even loop it 4 times to get the pulling capacity of the line to where he could pull them out. 

COMeatHunter's picture
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Joined: 06/01/2011
Posts: 621
A little late to the

A little late to the discussion, but hey, at least I can post now.  I promise not to spam anyone, or promote spamming, or even mention the word spam from now on.

Lightweight winch:  I've had the same problem before.  It is nearly impossible to move a dead elk by yourself if you have to lift it to get it to move.  I used a couple of carabiners and rigged them like a block and tackle with paracord to get a simple mechanical advantage.  It still pretty much sucked, but did give me enough help to get the elk moved out of a hole (big depression really) under a large deadfall.  It's only happened once though, so I wouldn't really want to carry an extra piece of equipment to make such a task easier knowing I likley won't be facing the same scenario very often.

Knives:  I purchased an Outdoor Edge Kodi-Pack for my son 3 years ago.  I now own one for myself.  Simple knives, not too costly, and hold an edge really well.  Plus one on the saw too.  For sharpening, I don't like to do this in the field so I have a large stone and ceramic rods that are better suited for camp or home.  I don't usually carry a sharpener in the field, just a spare knife.

groovy mike's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009
Posts: 2535

If you are a mile + off road where you can not use a motorized vehicle (federal land) in open country then it is worth having a game cart for sure. Also worth having in moose country IMHO.

2007 hunting trip 051[1]cropped.jpg
2007 hunting trip 051[1]cropped.jpg114.75 KB

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