Have you ever harvested a deer only to have a sudden “now what” moment? Deer may be graceful and agile, but they’re certainly not light. Nor are they shaped in a way that’s very convenient for moving them.
Luckily you don’t have to go at it like one of those jaguars on the Discovery Channel, laboriously pulling an antelope up a tree with its teeth. People have been inventing systems for moving things since the dawn of time, and as a hunter, there are plenty of ways to take advantage of that ingenuity.
Deer drags are simple in concept, but new models and innovations hit the market all the time. Some are better than others for certain things, and some are just plain better. The following drags are our favorites currently available. Take a look at the important aspects of dragging deer, then read our reviews to see why.
Our Top Deer Drag Picks
- Glenn’s Deer Handle– “You’ll be hard pressed to find a better weight rating”
- MULTUS Deer Drag– “The safety orange coloring make this drag a wise choice”
- The Leg Cuff by All-In Outdoors– “The cuff design is a great innovation “
- Hawk CINCH– “This drag takes the gold in portability”
- EZ Glide– “Its compact design grabbed our attention”
- Goplus Folding Game Cart– “Its compact design grabbed our attention”
- Deer Sleigh’r Magnum– “Its durable construction makes this drag a winner”
- SledHarness– “We were impressed by the craftsmanship of this harness”
Getting deer out of the woods
Unfortunately, that perfect shot isn’t the end of it. You still have to get your trophy buck to your truck somehow, and the bigger the trophy, the more difficult of a job that is.
No matter your method, you should field dress your deer first. This will significantly decrease the weight you have to carry out.
Once you’ve field dressed your quarry, you have several options.
Of course, you could just pull it out with your hands. This is the most strenuous way to go, but if you’re looking for exercise, have at it. If you do try to rough it, take it slow. Drag for about 10 to 20 yards, then rest. If you take it too fast, you’ll get tired. You also might get sloppy and damage the meat
There are easier ways, though. Remember all those simple machines from grade school? There are plenty of ingenious approaches using common items to make dragging your deer less of a chore. Even better there are plenty of different devices on the market that make it a breeze.
How do you make a deer drag?
All you need to make things that much easier on yourself is a rope. In fact, you can even use your safety or lineman’s rope. Make a loop at the end with a strong knot like a bowline. Loop this around the antlers or neck of the deer.
You can then tie the rope around your waist or chest, but you can make it even easier still if you tie the rope to a solid stick. You can place this stick across your shoulders to disperse the weight.
Types of drag
If you go for a professional drag, there are a number of types to choose from. They all have different benefits, so pìck the one that’s right for your situation.
Carts vs sleds / drags
Carts take advantage of mankind’s most famous invention: the wheel. Carts can have two, three or four wheels. There are even some with only one. Regardless, wheels make the job much, much easier.
There are downsides to carts, though. More than anything, carts aren’t very portable. If you’re already carrying a tree stand, your bow and the rest of your gear, humping a cart along is going to be next to impossible. Plus, carts work a lot better on smooth ground. If you hunt in a heavily wooded area with a lot of debris and rough terrain, a cart might not be your best bet.
The most basic drags are basically just ropes. They keep the deer from getting caught on any debris so it slides easily. These are super portable since they can be packed down into a bag, and they work well even if the terrain is rough. They still take a lot of force to move, though. They’re a good choice for public-land hunters.
Sleds split the difference. They’re easier to pull than basic drags but a lot more compact than the carts. If you’ve got your own property and already have a tree stand up, but the terrain is still difficult to maneuver, sleds might be a good middle ground.
Handles vs harnesses
The most basic drags feature handles. With handles you pull the drag out with your hands. This takes a lot more effort on your part, but it gives you maximum control.
Harnesses attach to your shoulders or waist and leave your hands free. This lets you pull with your legs and core muscles which are much stronger than your arms. This makes it easier on you, but it gives you less control. This can be a big problem if the weight of the drag gets away from you. It could pull you over or down a hill, and you won’t be able to let go. If you have a lot of hills where you hunt, handles might be safer.
Basic Drag Reviews
Glenn’s Deer Handle
This is the way to go if you’re looking for something simple, effective and inexpensive. There really isn’t a lot to this drag. It’s a rope attached to a handle.
The simplicity of this drag make it really easy to use. You can attach it and detach it easily. Just loop it around a buck’s antlers or doe’s neck and pull it out by the handle. The rope is strong, rated for a load up to 900 lbs. It is on the shorter side, though. This is on purpose to keep antlers from getting caught in brush, but if you’re tall, it could be too short.
The handle is even more impressive than the rope. For starters, it’s durable and securely attached. It’s also wide enough that you can use both hands, or if you’re hunting with a buddy, they can help too.
Glenn’s Deer Handle is small and compact. You can easily stuff it down in your pack along with your other gear. If you’re hunting public land and already have a lot to carry, this drag won’t weigh you down any more. It’s worth a look.
- Simple design
- Low price range
- Easy to attach and detach
- Rated for up to 900 lbs
- Durable materials
- Wide handle
- Small and compact
- Short rope
MULTUS Deer Drag
The MULTUS Deer Drag comes in safety orange. We bring that up first because it’s really a great feature. Hunters often don’t think about it, but moving a big buck through the woods can put you in a dangerous position. A fellow hunter could easily mistake you dragging a big rack as a live buck moving through the forest. There’s no reason not to do it as safely as possible.
Another cool thing about this drag is the detachable handle. This means if you want a longer rope or maybe a cable of different material, you can change it out. It also means you can attach additional handles so you can use two hands or a friend.
The handle is also flexible. This makes it a lot more comfortable for your hands.
The rope is rated for up to 400 lbs. Considering the biggest whitetail on record weighed 402 lbs field dressed, this is enough for whitetail and certainly smaller game, but if you’re hunting elk or bigger game, you’ll want a stronger drag.
If you’re hunting public land with a lot of other hunters and pressure, this is a great option. That’s because, on top of the safety features, it’s also portable. In fact, you could even fit it in your pocket. It comes at a great price, too.
- Safety orange
- Separate rope and handle
- Flexible handle
- Low price range
- Low weight rating
The Leg Cuff by All-In Outdoors
The Leg Cuff takes a different approach to dragging out deer. Instead of looping around the antlers or neck of a deer, it comes with two cuffs that you can snap onto its legs. This makes for added stability and control and a really secure grip.
The other end of the drag is great too. The handle has finger holds, so it’s comfortable to hold even if you’re dragging your quarry for long distances. Plus, the versatile design means you can attach it to a harness or ATV for maximum convenience.
A downside of the cuff is that it fits to a certain size. This drag is designed mainly for smaller game and medium-sized deer. All-In Outdoors does make a larger size, though, so if you’re going for your trophy buck, take a look at the XL.
Despite its sturdy construction, you can fit this drag in your pocket. It’s nice and compact, only 4.4 oz. If you want a basic drag but are planning to go into deep woods, this might be what you’ve been looking for.
It’s made in the USA of 100% glass-filled nylon, so it’s durable and strong. Even better, it comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Stable cuff design
- Comfortable grip
- Versatile, attachable handle
- 100% glass-filled nylon
- Lifetime warranty
- XL size needed for big bucks
This drag brings innovation to getting your deer out. It doesn’t seem possible that a manufacturer could improve on something as simple as a basic deer drag, but that’s exactly what Hawk did here.
A big plus of the CINCH is its light weight. It’s just a thin cable with a foam handle, only 9.5 inches long. It’s still tough, though, plenty strong enough for big bucks. It’s really easy to store or pack, but the small size can also be inconvenient for holding, and you can’t attach it to anything else.
The idea behind this design is that you cinch one end of the cable around a leg and the other around an antler–or the jaw if it’s a doe.This keeps the legs and head up off the ground. Not only does this make it less likely that you’ll get stuck or hung up on something, it actually decreases the effective weight you have to pull by up to 40%.
The foam handle is super comfortable and definitely easier to hold than an antler. The bottom line is the CINCH makes it a lot easier to take your deer home.
- Easy to pack
- Reduces drag weight up to 40%
- Comfortable foam handle
- Short cable
Sled and Cart Reviews
The EZ Glide is a great option if you’ve decided you’re going to go deeper into the woods this season. It makes it significantly easier to move a deer, so you can carry it a lot farther.
It’s made of coated nylon, which has tons of benefits. First of all, it’s slick. This reduces the friction of the drag by a lot. Even when you’re dragging over rough terrain, it’ll slide right over.
The nylon material is also incredibly durable while still being light and compact. It comes in a special VacPak that not only compresses the bag down so you can fit it in your pack, but also contours to it so it doesn’t take up any more room than you need.
Finally, the nylon means you can easily wash the EZ Glide. Even if your deer makes a mess after you field dress it, you won’t have any problem getting your drag ready by the next hunt. It even comes in orange for maximum safety.
- Coated nylon
- Light and compact
- Easily washable
- Safety orange
Goplus Folding Game Cart
If you think you can fit a cart in with your gear, this one is a good choice. It has a foldable design that makes it easy to carry–and to store for that matter. It keeps the convenience of a cart without sacrificing too much portability.
We also like the durable construction. The entire frame is made of steel as well as the axles of the two wheels. These strong axles along with the tough rubber tires mean you can use it on rough terrain that can be a problem for most carts. Plus, Goplus backs their product with a 100% warranty.
Like most game carts, Goplus’s requires some assembly. This is more than a hassle. You have to make sure to do it right and follow the instructions. If you put it together incorrectly, you might damage the cart.
The low price is another bonus. For not too much more than a basic drag or sled, you can get a pretty large cart. The Goplus cart measures 69.3” x 18.1” (around six feet by two and a half) and is rated for 500 lbs, making it suitable for big trophy bucks.
- Foldable design
- Durable construction
- Steel axels
- 100% warranty
- Low price range
- Large dimensions
- Assembly required
Deer Sleigh’r Magnum
This drag is for the serious backswoodsmen looking for a way to get their kills out of the wilderness. Or maybe you’ve just gone out west to a reserve to get the trophy buck of your dreams. Either way, The Magnum can help you move game long distances.
Perhaps the best feature of this drag is its insanely tough polymer construction. This lets you carry even heavy game without damaging the meat. It measures 3’ x 6’ and is designed for large game including elk and bear, so even a big trophy buck isn’t a problem.
Be aware that the Magnum isn’t as portable as a lot of other sleds. The tough material make it impossible to fold up. Instead, you roll it into a tube that can fit in a pack but will take up more room. Consider how rough your terrain is and how far you expect to have to drag a deer to decide if you need a drag this tough.
There are other convenient features, though. It comes with a six-foot rope that you thread through grommets, so pulling it or attaching it to a harness isn’t a problem. For something so durable, it’s also lightweight at only five pounds.
If you want a video review, there’s a great one from Dave Gray on the Amazon product page (click the button below) that shows you why he likes the Magnum so much.
- Great for long distances
- Tough polymer construction
- Handles rough terrain
- Designed for large game
- Six-foot rope
Only one harness made our list, so that should tell you something about it. SledHarness makes their products in the USA and focuses specifically on making quality harnesses of quality materials.
For example, this harness features zero plastic parts. All the fasteners are metal, so they won’t snap or give when you’re hauling big game.
The stitching is also well done. The entire harness holds itself together nicely without digging into the skin too much.
You can easily attach this harness to most sleds or drags which lets you use your legs and core. This reduces the chance of injury and just makes the job easier. The shoulder straps even come in safety orange to keep you visible while moving through the woods with your deer.
- All metal fasteners
- High-quality stitching
- Easy attachment
- Safety orange