After the Shot: How to Find, Dress, and Extract Your Harvest


We put a lot of thought and preparation into harvesting a big game animal. Camo, boots, rifles, bows, food plots, treestands—the list goes on and on. But you also have to prepare and gear up for the post-harvest. As the old saying goes, the real work starts after the trigger is pulled.

In the field and at home

You have to have a good knife to go hunting. You shouldn’t even consider going without one. When it comes time to dress out your game, specialized knives make the chores that much easier. A good skinning knife can be worth its weight in gold when it comes to getting the hide off your animal. The Havalon Baracuta Blaze Skinning Knife may be the perfect skinner at $66.99. Havalon has made a name for themselves recently by producing razor-sharp knives that utilize replaceable blades—you never need to worry about sharpening anything. The blades, available in a five-pack for $15.99, snap in quickly and firmly. A bright-orange ABS handle keeps the knife light, easy to find and with a sure grip. It’ll make quick work of a whitetail, elk, or other critter.

Ever try to hoist a big-bodied deer to the rafters so you can start the butchering process? Every do it by yourself? It’s not easy. In fact, it’s almost impossible to do by yourself. You’ve probably thought it would be nice to have a winch up in the ceiling to make the job easy. Fear not, Cabela’s Electronic Cable Hoists are available to make the job a snap. They have a five-foot corded, waterproof operating switch. You can choose from the lighter-duty 440-pound model, the 880-pound model, or the heavyweight 1,320-pound unit. Prices range from $109.99 to $199.99. Every hunter should have on hanging in the garage.

There are certain things you need to have with you to safely field dress your deer. The Hunters Specialties Game Cleaning Kit combines these things in a handy kit. For $19.99, you get a field dressing bag, scent-eliminating cleaning wipes, field dressing gloves, and a Butt Out 2, for dealing with the dirty side of field dressing a deer.

Every year we all hear about a hunter who suffered a heart attack trying to drag his buck out of the woods by himself. Even if you’re in perfect health, the task is not an easy one. The Cabela’s Deluxe Game Cart, at $109.99 is a cheap way to make that job a little easier. With a 500-pound capacity, the cart is also equally good at other tasks, like hauling firewood or hauling gear into deer camp. Big wheels, sturdy construction, and a collapsible design make this one of those tools you’ll find new uses for and be happy you have around.

After you’ve field dressed your game and quartered it up, hauling it out can be trouble. Get some Alaska Game Bags to protect your valuable harvest. These breathable bags protect that hard-earned meat from insects, dirt and the elements. At prices from $3.39 up to $25.49, that’s cheap insurance.

Lost and found

Ever notice on the hunting shows how, whenever the host takes a shot, the animal appears to just drop right in its tracks and there’s no real tracking involved? How often does that happen for you? The reality is that everyone has to track one sooner or later. On TV, it’s all careful editing. You can use a Primos Bloodhunter HD Blood Trailing Spotlight. This light uses XM-L LED lights to amplify any amount of blood on the ground, making trailing your deer much easier after dark. For $59.99, it’s cheaper than that sinking feeling you get when you lose a deer. Regret is expensive.

When you’re hot on the trail of that buck you just shot, you need to keep track of where you’ve been. HME Products’ Trail-Marking Ribbon is a cheap ($3.99) way to mark your trail as you look for blood and the deer. It’s also great for marking your way to your stand. The bright-orange color stands out well and is easy to pick out in any light.

Saving bucks for chasing bucks

Need a cheap alternative to a hernia? The Cabela’s 4-Wheel Hoist costs $22.49 and provides a 7:1 ratio for hanging your deer and hauling it up. It has a 4,000-pound capacity and comes with 60 feet of heavy-duty rope.

Game carts save your back, and help haul your game out of the woods. At $59.99, the Herter’s Game Cart is an economic way to get your game out of the field and back to your truck or home.

This article was produced in cooperation with Cabela’s.

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