By Jerry Long, May 2, 2011

This week I do a build along for a DIY deer drag.

I shot a little eight-pointer on public land once that was a mile as the crow flies behind locked gates.  The laws then and now in Wisconsin do not allow us to quarter or otherwise break down our deer.  Field dressing and cutting a small portion of the legs off are it.  I never weighed that deer, but I estimate he was about the same as me; approximately 130-140 pounds.  I had a facsimile of a commercially available deer drag at the time that looped over one shoulder.  I put that puppy on and leaned into it.  I think I made it about 8-10 yards and that was about it using the contraption.  The next day I had a beautiful bruise across my torso like some weird, purple crossing guard safety sash.  When I was finished dragging that deer using just my hands about his antlers the hindquarter had no hair – it had literally been dragged right off.

The finished deer drags on top and my old stand-by on the bottom. 

Since that time I actually keep a number of things handy to drag a deer out; a game cart if the terrain will allow and a rope drag for when the terrain will not.  Last year I forgot to bring the game cart, but had the rope drag as a backup when I shot a Wisconsin doe.  The rope drag is very handy, especially with two people, but can get a little tough on the hands after awhile.  Based on a concept from the ArcheryTalk DIY forum I decided to make one with a handle similar to a commercial product on the market.  I also decided to make two; one for me and one for Camp Pug hunting acquaintance Hunt Master.  So far we’ve drug two deer together and decided it would be nice to put two drags on one deer so we each have a handle.

Materials & Tools:

  • Piece of PVC or round wood stock about 20-22 inches in length.  I used some mahogany scrap I had lying about that was 1 ½” in diameter and 20 5/8” long.
  • ¼” braided poly rope.  That in the picture, below, is 50 or 100 feet and cost me $3-4.
  • Drill or drill press and 3/8” drill bit. 


1.  Cut the wood stock to an appropriate length. 

A miter saw makes quick work of it.

2.  Set up your drill or drill press with the 3/8” bit.  A “v” block makes drilling easier and more accurate.

A “v” block for drilling round stock is centered under the bit.

3.  Drill holes.  The holes are spaced 2” inches apart (1” each way off-center).  I did a good job on the first one, but rotated the 2nd one a little oddly on the bottom side.

3/8” holes are drilled, centered 1” each way off-center.

4.  Smooth them up and knock off the corners with some sandpaper.      

Smoothing everything out especially any splinters or sharp edges.

5.  Thread the rope through the holes and knot the ends securely leaving a bit of “tag” end in case it slips through a bit.  I used a 75” piece of rope based on the length of my current drag.  I’m concerned it’ll be a little short and I’m 5’ 6”, but we’ll see with use.  I’m thinking a taller guy or gal might want something a little longer.  Hunt Master is pretty normal sized so we’ll see what he says. 

The ¼” braided poly rope and prepared handles.

The completed drags.  The one on the bottom is the rope one I already use.  It has drug a lot of animals.  Note how the loop is formed on the top two for placing over the animal’s neck or head.  

The finished drags, again.

The drags rolled up.

Jane Doe shows off the drag in place for normal use.

Jane Doe shows off an alternative placement of the drag I want to try this year. 

Hopefully I get many opportunities to try out this drag this fall and I’ll give an update on how it works.

happy hunting, dv   

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Copyright © Jerry E Long, 2009-2011