two deer in the snow

Never Hunt Without a Deer Cart!

by Bryan E. Moldt

It was a cold opening morning in the southern Adirondacks, my next door neighbor and I where on our way to hunting camp for an opening morning hunt with some friends. The morning was still dark and you could see that a fresh dusting of snow was on the mountains as we headed for the lodge. With excitement in the air, I drove us to camp while my friend, sick from pneumonia, slept all the way to camp.

When we arrived, camp was empty, but a far off sound of a four wheeler fast approaching told us we had just made it in time for the first drive of the season. “Where the hell you guys been? We can’t wait for yah, so follow me and get ready over at the meeting area, and we will take you guys in on the wheelers.” said Pete. So, back in the truck we climbed and headed for the meeting place. As we pulled up there where 11 other men impatiently waiting for us to throw on our gear and get to the hunt.

We jumped on a four wheeler and where whisked away toward the beginning of our first, and last drive of the day. The morning chill ripped through me as we drove to the end of the logging road where we would start our hunt. As the sun came up you could see the dusting of snow would provide a good back drop against the ever illusive whitetail. As we walked in for the first drive, we quickly warmed up and realized that this type of morning is a good one for hunting. The air was cold and crisp, no wind, and the ice was forming over the puddles we happily jumped over. This would cause the deer to move early in the morning and provide with a possible shot or two on a good buck.

Finally, after a good 2 ½ mile hike, it was my turn to be put on stand. I found a good log, laying up against an old oak tree and prepared my stand for a good sit. Brushing the leaves away to bring up the scent of old earth, I made a nice circle so my boots wouldn’t rustle in the leaves. With this I sat down to cool off and hope the sweat from my walk would dissipate before the drive began. After about 30 minutes it was time to put my coat back on and warm up again. Another 30 minutes went by and to my disappointment, I saw a driver coming through the woods. I hadn’t seen a deer!

When everyone came back together to plan the next hunt, my neighbor and I stayed back with a few of the other watchers and prepared to go into the thick brush to find some good escape route sites to sit and watch. The other 6 men left to get into position for the next hunt. About 15 minutes passed when Pete came over the radio and said, “Harry is down, he twisted his ankle and I think you guys need to come over here.” If you have ever hunted with a bunch of Adirondack Boys, you know that being a sissy is not an option, so David replied, “Tell Harry to get his lazy a—off the ground and get moving so we can see some deer this morning.” “It’s bad!” was the reply from Pete. “How bad?” David asked. “Real Bad!”

So with that we all hustled over to meet the driving crew. When we got there, Harry was on the ground in obvious pain. We helped him to his feet and when he tried to put his weight on his leg, he screamed like nothing I have ever heard in my life. Harry couldn’t take a step.

“Now what are we going to do?” asked David. We all decided that we better carry this 260 + hunter out of the woods. However, not one man in this crew had a dear cart. This we would learn is a big mistake. So we decided to cut a couple of young maple trees down and lash them together with our belts, but there where not enough belts to support our friend, and they kept slipping and he kept falling through the cracks. So we cradle carried him for awhile. This was a bigger task than we anticipated, and decided we would have two men go out and get four wheelers and drive back to us to get him out.

We waited for 2 more hours, meanwhile, the day had warmed and the hunt was going to be in the late afternoon if at all. Finally we decided it would be best if the remainder of us took turns and cradle carried him out to meet the four wheeler wherever it was at the time. 3 ½ hours later we met up with the four wheeler that had only made it about ¼ of a mile from where they where parked, because of the rough untouched terrain we where hunting. It was now 2:30 in the afternoon and I was exhausted, we headed for camp.

That evening we found out the Harry had broken his leg just above his ankle in his boot. Both the tibia and fibula where broken, and he had surgery the next Monday and would not be hunting for the rest of the season.

The lesson of this story is, if Harry had been hunting alone, the Adirondacks would have claimed another hunter. But the real lesson is, always have a deer cart when hunting, you never know…it could save a friends life.

Written by: Bryan E. Moldt