Review: Deer Dragger Harness for Recovering Big Game Animals
Russ Chastain 02.27.17
A couple months after bagging my first black bear, my memory of the grueling task of dragging it out of the woods was still fresh in my mind. So when I found the Deer Dragger at the SHOT Show, I was instantly interested. Not long afterward, I became the proud owner of a Deer Dragger.
During the previous October, I had only managed to move the 263-pound beast by looping a strap around the bear’s neck and around my waist, then slogging forward until I couldn’t go any further. Meanwhile, the strap dug into my waist more with every step. I got the job done, but it was mighty tough. And I was certainly glad that my bear had not been bigger.
I could only go a short distance at a time, at which time I would catch my breath and have a drink of water, then go back for my pack and rifle and carry them ahead a ways–and repeat.
The Deer Dragger allows you to lift and pull with your upper body, using a simple but effective harness of three-inch-wide straps that goes over your shoulders, allowing you to pull a load–hands-free–from the top of your body. A pair of steel “buckles” (plastic-coated to reduce noise and corrosion) on the harness allow you to quickly attach it to the long (7’4″) drag strap, which is also three inches wide.
Each end of the drag strap has a series of three loops, so you can adjust the length of the strap. This is useful because if you make the strap too long, the animal can more easily become snagged on brush, deadfalls, rocks, and undergrowth. Your want the drag strap long enough to prevent the critter from tripping you up via your heels, but short enough that its head lifts up off the ground as you begin dragging.
I often have shoulder pain, so pulling with my arms is un-good. With the Deer Dragger, that is not a problem. Not only do I avoid stressing my arms and hands and all the related joints, but I can still carry my rifle and/or pack as I go. No more backtracking to leapfrog your deer and your gear.
I got my Deer Dragger in February, and didn’t get the chance to use it until December. On that lovely, wonderful day, my uncle and I each bagged a deer, and I dragged both of them with the Deer Dragger.
Neither drag was very long, but both were made easier by the Deer Dragger. And when I got each deer out to my UTV, I was able to climb up into the bed and use the Deer Dragger to haul the deer up into it.
As you can see, I chose to capture the front legs with the loop I placed around the neck of each deer. I did this to help prevent the legs from snagging on stuff. In very thick brush, doing it this way might do more harm than good (the hooves may get caught on brush). I’d say, give it a try and see what works best for you.
I wasn’t able to get any good photos of me while using the Deer Dragger, but you can watch the video below to see it in action.
- Part #: FFDD
- UPC Barcode: 811938001232
- Width of harness: 3 in. (7.62 cm)
- Length of drag strap: 7 ft. 4 in. (223 cm)
- Width of drag strap: 3 in. (7.62 cm)
- Contents: 1 harness + 1 drag strap
You can also use the drag strap to drag an animal with an ATV, UTV, tractor, etc. Mine is the Deer Dragger Value Pack, which includes a large carabiner so you can easily connect the strap to an ATV’s rack or rear grab handle. The carabiner is fairly heavy, so you might want to leave it in with your ride instead of stowing it in your pack with the harness and drag strap.
I wouldn’t want to be caught without my Deer Dragger when the time comes to drag a large heavy animal. Although made in China, this is a well-stitched quality product and it definitely does the job.