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Using A Tethrd Tree Saddle Kit For Hunting, Skinning & Quartering Whitetail Deer

Using A Tethrd Tree Saddle Kit For Hunting, Skinning & Quartering Whitetail Deer
January 27, 2022

Using A Tethrd Tree Saddle Kit For Hunting, Skinning & Quartering Whitetail Deer

A few years ago, a great hunting buddy of mine made a statement that stuck with me. He said, "You should never make decisions on your hunting location based on how hard it will be to get a deer out. Instead, worry about that when you've got a buck on the ground." While I completely agree with this statement, I also believe it's smart to develop systems that will aid in the retrieval process, especially in deep public land areas where simply dragging a big buck isn't an option. Over the years as a mobile hunter, I've used just about every retrieval method that exists, but one way has proven to be the easiest - the pack-out method.

Packing out a deer isn’t a new thing. For centuries, hunters have been quartering and packing their game in the field. In modern times, you'd be hard-pressed to find an outdoorsman out west that doesn't have a frame pack to carry their meat and antlers out of the mountains. As you head into whitetail country, more and more hunters are jumping on this bandwagon, like Mystery Ranch and Eberlestock developing packs that are a little smaller and more practical for deer hunting. Even some tree stands like the D’Aquisto series from Lone Wolf Custom Gear are being made to perform as a frame pack when needed.

The first time I packed out a deer while bow hunting, I was extremely annoyed with the amount of hair and dirt I got on the meat. If you've ever tried to skin a big game animal while it's lying on the ground, you probably understand this frustration. So I started trying to figure out a way to elevate a carcass for skinning without having to carry anything extra. Then, one day, it just hit me - I can create an entire elevated skinning stand with items I use during every hunt: a climbing stick, a Tethrd Predator Platform and a lineman’s belt with a mechanical ascender.

The Full Picture

You're going to get a complete step-by-step of this entire process, but first, let's get the full picture. What we’re going to be creating is a makeshift gambrel that can be used to skin and quarter your deer, no matter how far in the backwoods you may find yourself during deer season. First, it’s important to note that you don’t have to be a saddle hunter to use this elevated skinning and quartering method. Any hang-on stand or climbing stand would likely work just the same with some slight modifications. However, we'll be focusing on using saddle hunting equipment for this article. 

Step 1: Climbing Stick

Hanging your climbing stick on the tree is the first part of this process and will allow you to set your makeshift gambrel high enough that the deer is lifted completely off the ground. The height of your climbing stick will depend on the region you're in and the length of your deer. Make sure to hang your stick at a comfortable height to reach the step from the ground easily.

Step 2: Tethrd Platform

Step up on your stick and place your Tethrd Predator Platform on the tree where the bottom is elevated close to eight feet from the ground. You may need to adjust the height based on the length of the deer. You'll want to ensure it's high enough so the deer is completely elevated.

 Step 3: Tethrd Lineman’s Belt With Ascender

The final step in your makeshift gambrel is attaching your lineman’s belt to your platform. It’s important that you have a mechanical ascender like a Ropeman 1 Ascender that will act as the pulley system for your gambrel. Clip your carabiner to the outside edge of your platform, and your backwoods gambrel is complete.

Step 4: Hanging Your Deer

On your deer, find the area on the back leg between the tendon and the bone and make a small incision in the skin. Next, clip the hanging carabiner from your lineman's belt through that incision. You're now ready to begin elevating. This is the hardest part of this process and why having a mechanical ascender is so important. First, you'll want to grab the tag end of your rope with one hand and hug the carcass with your other arm. Then, while lifting up on the deer, you'll pull the rope through the ascender. Repeat this motion until the deer is completely elevated off the ground.

Step 5: Packing Out

Your backwoods gambrel is complete, and your deer is hanging. Now you can begin skinning and quartering your deer. If you plan to use this method, having a set of game bags in your pack would be wise. They’re lightweight and take up very little space. This ensures that your meat will stay clean during your pack out. Place the bagged meat into your frame pack of choice, and you're ready to get that big buck back to the truck!

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