Single Wheeled Mother-of-All Elk and Deer Carts

Single Wheeled Elk and Deer Cart

If you can get this game cart to your downed animal and you have at least a second person with you this single wheel big game cart is as good as it gets for hauling out the entire deer or elk from just about anywhere. A big game cart very similar to my father's cart is GameTote's big game cart.

Years ago my father built a one wheeled elk and deer cart. As you can see my father was a source for my big game hunting passion and where I got some of creative DIY hunting ideas. Many of my fondest memories where hunting with my father in my youth. It is now fun to pass that passion along to my children as they are getting old enough to hunt with me.

This cart is the mother of all deer carts. It's as solid a big game cart as it gets and will haul deer and elk out easily. The cart was built back in the day when big bucks were abound within a few miles from the road and boning a deer out was not as common a practice as it is now.

The cart is built around a single motorcycle wheel and has a great break system built right into it. With this deer cart you can put a couple whole deer on it and two guys can haul them out of almost anywhere. The cart can be used by one to four people or more people at a time depending on how many guys you have and the size of the load.

I used this game cart a few times with my father when I was a teenager. Since those early hunting days I have changed much of my hunting style and choose to hunt areas that require a backpack to get in and out off. I have also been developing a much smaller lightweight, collapsible, single wheel deer cart that I can carry on my back when I hike into the areas I hunt. This lightweight deer cart works great for hauling out boned out elk or deer meat.

Some reasons why I have stopped using this game cart are: It's huge and heavy making it difficult to transport. The cart will not fit in my SUVs. It is better suited for use with two people and I often hunt alone. With the long distances that I hunt away from my SUV I don't like making an extra trip back to get the game cart before I can start hauling out the deer or elk. I prefer a lighter cart that I can take in with me hunting. I like a game cart that is more maneuverable on tight trails and can be operated by a single person. I prefer to bone out my animals to buy me extra time keeping the meat from spoiling and it lightens the load. For the style of hunting I do the Pack Wheel game cart offers the greatest ease of getting the cart to the deer/elk and hauling that deer/elk back off the mountain. The Pack Wheel works great for backpacking, and for hunters hauling boned out deer and elk meat.

It amazes me how many game carts that are on the market that are side-by-side two wheeled carts. I would guess that a two wheeled cart would be great for all the times you are on a road or other flat terrain. Well if you spend any time in elk and mule deer country you'll find yourself up, down, side-hilling, around and over all varieties of terrain and obstacles. Many of the public lands I hunt do have narrow hiking trails and game trails where a single wheeled cart can really save your back and a lot of time. There just isn't anyway a two wheeled cart is even going to fit on a narrow trail and good luck keeping one of these carts from tipping over when you have to side-hill around a slope.

Below are some videos of me using my collapsible lightweight game cart, a game cart small and light enough to carry with me on my backpack while I hunt. This is the game cart I prefer to use for the style of hunting I now do.

Related Product Links:

GameTote Deer and Elk Cart GameTote big game cart at GameTote.com

Pack Wheel Backpack and Game Cart LogoPack Wheel — Lightweight Backpack and game cart

Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope

Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope

My CVA Firebolt with my new Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 scope and Warne Bases and Rings.

Once again Utah is set on having more restrictions for the public hunters for the 2010 season. The rifle deer hunt is now being limited to 3-5 days in the northern region for the public hunters, however all the private CWMUs have 60 or so days as usual to hunt. With the season being so short, I have a feeling that opening day hunters are going to shoot anything that has antlers, instead of passing up on a buck in hopes that they will find something better, as they would in the past. I hate being restricted to such short season lengths. I want to be on the mountain as many days as I possibly can enjoying the experience and challenge of outwitting a buck.  I best just stop now or I'll rant about this for pages...

Anyhow, going into the Utah big game hunt drawing I decided to switch up a couple of things on what I was wanting to draw. First the archery season for elk was going to last all the way until September 17th. The latest I have seen it in the past 10 years. The best chance I may see in Utah to archery hunt elk during the rut. So I decided to put in for a Limited Entry Archery Elk permit, thinking I had a good chance to draw with the number of points I had. With the shortened rifle deer season I figured my best bet was to go with the nine day muzzleloader season. I ended up putting in for a Buck/Bull Combo tag as first choice for deer and second choice I put  muzzleloader deer. I figured when all was said and done I would draw the muzzleloader deer and most likely the Limited Entry Archery elk tag.

With my best odds for drawing the muzzleloader deer tag, I decided to finally get a scope for my muzzleloader. Utah restricts scopes on muzzleloaders to only be 1x power. After studying the various 1x power scopes and handling a couple of different ones, I narrowed it down to two. The Leupold Prismatic 1x14mm scope was at the top of my list. It is small lightweight and has a unique, fine reticle. I handled one of these scopes at a hunting expo and was really impressed. I wasn't impressed with the price tag, not that it isn't worth $500, it is just out of my budget.

I decided to get the Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 scope. This rifle scope was right behind the Leupold on my list but at a more affordable price. Nikon makes great quality affordable rifle scopes and this scope retails for right around $170. The optics are very clear on this scope and it looks and feels very well built.

When the draw results were released I somehow drew the limited Buck/Bull combo tag. So it looks like I will be missing out on archery elk hunting this year and I won't be hunting with my new Nikon scope this year either. However I will be able to have a 13 day rifle season for mule deer.  Deer will be my focus for the season as only a few people will have these tags and of these people many will be after elk first. I am hopeful that I can find a whopper buck this year and maybe my first rifle bull elk. Hmm....this might require a new rifle... I've had an X-Bolt Stainless Stalker on my list for a couple years...

I need to get my muzzleloader out on the range and try out the this scope. Thanks to my luck of the draw it looks like I will have to wait until next year to try it on a mule deer hunt. Maybe I could get to Oklahoma to try in on a whitetail. Hmm...

I'll follow-up on this entry once I've had a chance to try out the scope.

You can read more about my thoughts on the Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader scope in my follow-up journal entry found titled: Review of My Nikon Buckmaster 1x20 Muzzleloader Scope.

 

DIY Hunting Rifle Target Downloads

Here are some targets I like to use to sight in my rifles. For my deer and elk rifle loads I like to sight my rifles in at 2 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This is a little higher than the traditional 2 inches that you have always been told to do.

With the ballistics that are achieved with the 243 WSSM and my 270 WSM I get roughly a 350 yard max-point-blank range on a 7 inch target. What does this mean? It means that I can hold dead center on a 7 inch diameter target and be able to hit that target from 0 to 350 yards. So from 0 to 400 yards I can hold on an elk or deer with no hold over required. Now, I do hold on the lower part of the shoulders for basically a heart shot when I am in the 100-200 yard range and I hold for a high shoulder shot in the 400 yard range.

Now when I am shooting the 55g Ballistic Tips over the 4,000 fps barrier I like being sighted in for 1 1/2 inches high at 100 yards. This gives me a nice 300 yard zero. Perfect for taking the smaller Prairie Dogs, Coyotes, Rock Chucks and the like out to around 350 yards without any drastic hold over or under.

Shooting with Adjustable Target Turrets
In 2013 I started getting Vortex Viper rifle scopes with target style elevation turrets. With these scopes I like to sight the rifle in to be dead on at 100 yards and then dial in the minutes of angle for the specific shot with the target style turret.

If you click on the images below you will download PDF files that you can print out. The grid pattern on the targets are a half inch apart. When printing make sure you do the following to get the proper sizing of the targets. When you select print in Adobe Acrobat select the "NONE" option in the "Page Scaling" menu. If left on the default option which is "Shrink to Printable Area" your target will be reduced in size making the half inch grid somewhat smaller.

Varmint Sight In Target
1 1/2" Sight-in Height
Traditional Hunting Sight In Target Height
2" Sight-in Height
Two and a half inch target sight in height
2 1/2" Sight-in Height
Four Up Sight-In Target
Four Up Dead On Sight-in
Muzzleloader Sight-In Target
Muzzleloader Target (10 inch outside diameter circle, 11x17 paper required)

 

Most Accurate Pellets in Benjamin 397 Pellet Rifle

Benjamin 397 Pellet Rifle with Bushnell 4-12x ScopeI purchased a Benjamin 397 pellet rifle a few years back and it has been a nice rifle. This past winter I decided to see what it could do accuracy wise. I had some unwanted pests raiding the bird feeders and I wanted to be able to place a pellet on a quarter sized target at 30 yards. Could it be done? I had to know.

I started by tuning up the trigger using Airgunsmith's advise. This did wonders to the trigger pull. I then wanted a variable power scope. Almost all 3-9x scopes have a fixed parallax that would cause a lot of accuracy problems due to the parallax issues at various ranges. I decide to go with a Bushnell Banner 4-12x with an adjustable objective.  With this rifle scope I can adjust the parallax from 10 yards and out.

I did have a issue with the bases and rings being loose. This took me a while to figure out. It was caused by having the rings clamped towards one end of the base creating leverage on the base that made it loose. I had to clamp the ring centered over the rear base. They're a little tricky so just keep an eye on the bases to make sure they are not loose around the barrel.

Pellet Accuracy Test Target from Benjamin 397 Best Pellets for a Benjamin 397

This left one problem, eye relief. The scope is mounted too far forward to get your head into position to view through the scope. The Benjamin 397 pellet rifle comes with a fairly lengthy trigger pull for an air rifle and the scope is mounted on the barrel not on the receiver.  I tried mounting the scope as far back as I could given the location of the bases but I found  two problems. One, I had to mount the ring in the center of the base to keep it solid. And two, if the scope was any further back it would interfere with the bolt handle unless I used some really high rings.

Gamo Rocket .177 Pellet
Gamo Rocket .177 pellet — my favorite pellet for my Benjamin 397 pellet rifle.

My solutions was to cut the stock down. I cut an inch off the end of the stock, placed the butt plate back on, sanded the stock and butt plate to fit, and then stained the area as best as I could to match the current stain. I still think I need to take another inch off the stock for optimal comfort with the eye relief and this scope but, as is, it works pretty good.

Now to find out what pellet shoots the best. I tried six different pellets available from the local Walmart and sporting goods store. The Daisy #557 pellets I used were some old pellets that I had and I can not find them any more.

Gamo Rocket and TS-10 pellet accuracy

Two five shot groups. One with Gamo Rocket pellets and the other with Gamo TS-10 pellets.

If the Gamo Rockets shot well I figured that the Gamo TS-10 Long Range pellets would be even better. Well, as you can see from the target they don't shoot very good from my Benjamin 397.

Here are the pellets I tried.

  • Daisy, #557
  • Savage Arms, Model 8512
  • Gamo, Rocket
  • Daisy, Precision Max
  • Daisy, Pointed Field
  • Gamo, Red Fire

My shooting range for my tests came from standing in the bathroom, shooting out the window into a piece of plywood against the backyard fence. I did use a large sand bag in the window to steady the rifle. I'm pretty confident I could get the groups a little tighter if I shot from a bench. However this was exactly where I was going to be working on the pest control so, out the bathroom window I conducted the test.

As you can see from the targets the Gamo Rocket .177 caliber pellet was the clear leader in accuracy from my Benjamin 397 pellet rifle. Again, the pellets I shot were only the pellets available at local sporting goods stores in my area. I'm thinking of ordering some Gamo Hunter pellets from Midwayusa.com and give them a try. I'm thinking these pellets might also shoot well.

Recovered Barnes Triple Shock Bullets in Elk from 243 WSSM and 270 WSM Rifles

Below are the Triple Shock bullets that I have been able to recover, all taken from elk. Off the top of my head I can think of sixteen other Barnes Triple Shocks that I have not been able to recover as they have passed through mule deer and elk like butter. I have learned that these bullets will pass through mule deer and elk at any range from 110 yards out to 608 yards (270 WSM, double shoulder blade cow elk at 608 yards) and a 80 Gr. TTSX on a 619 yard mule deer shot with a 243 WSSM. The 130g Triple Shock out of my 270 WSM Model 1885 never expands to the point that it slows down enough to remain in the elk or deer unless I have shoot them through the full length of the elk, from the front end to the back end. The bullets also perform best if I hit solid leg and shoulder bone in the front shoulder.

If I don't hit solid bone I never hear any sound that indicates a hit. With traditional lead core bullets I get an audible "whop" sound on impact. Triple Shocks for me have never produced the "whop" sound with a shot just behind the shoulders and through the rib cage. If I hit bone in the shoulders I get a audible indication that I made a hit with more of a "cracking" sound.

Triple Shock bullets are some of the most consistently accurate bullets that  I have ever shot. Shot after shot they always group well on paper. The Triple Shock is my favorite short range bullet because no matter what I hit the bullet is not going to stop penetrating. At the shorter ranges say 350 yards and under you will get decent bullet expansion. At longer ranges the bullet still penetrates just as much as it does at short ranges however the bullet doesn't expand as much. The bullet basically always penetrates the same amount (well it always passes through) regardless the range, I just get a lot less expansion the further the distance. And no matter what the range I now hold to crush the center of the shoulders so I can hear the hits and see the deer or elk fall over quicker.

80g Barnes Tipped Triple Shock 243 WSSM Cow Elk 272 YardsThis 80g Barnes Tipped Triple Shock, TTSX bullet was recovered from a cow elk resting against the hide after going through both shoulder blades. This bullet had a muzzle velocity of 3360 FPS and the shot was 272 yards coming from a 243 WSSM A-Bolt rifle.

You can read about this hunting experience in my journal entry titled 2009 Cow Elk Hunt with a 243 WSSM.

 
85g Barnes 243 WSSM 132 Yards Cow ElkThis 85g Barnes Triple Shock, TSX was recovered from a cow elk resting against the hide after going through both shoulders. This bullet had a muzzle velocity of 3500 FPS and the shot was 132 yards coming from a 243 WSSM A-Bolt rifle.
 
130g Barnes Triple Shock 270 WSM 367 Yards Cow ElkThis 130g Barnes Triple Shock, TSX bullet was recovered from a cow elk resting against the hide in the rear of a hind quarter. This shot was from a 270 WSM, Model 1885 at 367 yards with a muzzle velocity of 3400 FPS. This was the third bullet of four Triple Shocks I sent through this cow elk. The first two shots were broadside shots that went through the chest just behind the shoulders (shooting to save shoulder meat). The third shot the elk had turned and was now facing me and I sent the pictured bullet from one end to the other. All three of the first shots appeared to be misses to myself and my spotter. The fourth shot I aimed for a heart shot and sent the Triple Shock through the shoulder/leg bone and out the other shoulder. This fourth shot gave a audible, cracking, thumping sound and the elk finally went down.
 
130g Barnes Triple Shock 270 WSM 555 Yards Cow ElkThis 130g Barnes Triple Shock, TSX bullet was recovered from a cow elk near the hide in the rear of a hind quarter. This shot was from a 270 WSM, Model 1885 at 555 yards with a muzzle velocity of 3400 FPS. At this range and an altitude of 7,000 feet the impact velocity was somewhere near 2350 FPS. This bullet went from a shoulder in the front end to a hind quarter on the opposite side passing through and crushing the femur in the hind quarter. This was the first shot and although the elk was messed up she didn't appear to be falling over anytime soon so I sent a second shot through both front shoulders and out the other side and she dropped.

Another thought I had with the .277 Triple Shock Bullet offerings. According to Barnes the 130g Triple Shock has a better BC (ballistic coefficient) than the 140g Triple Shock. In most bullets with the same diameter the heavier bullet has the better BC. Not so in this case. Although I have never shot the 140g Triple Shock, on paper the 130g bullet is going to leave the muzzle faster and maintain it's speed and flat trajectory longer because of the better ballistic coefficient. And with the complete penetration I always get with the 130g variety it makes me wonder why you would even want the 140g variety???

At ranges over 300 yards my favorite bullet with my 270 WSM is a 140g Nosler Accubond. The bullet isn't any more accurate than a Triple Shock, it just expands better at longer ranges and it fragments. And one thing I have found is that even if this bullet doesn't drop the elk or deer real fast they are really messed up and don't run off anywhere. I've witnessed elk and mule deer hit with the triple shock through the chest and shoulders that have brushed the hit off like it never happened then took off a running. So far the 140g Accubond although it my not drop the elk as fast the elk are very sick and have stuck around for a follow-up finishing shot.

I actually wish the Triple Shock bullets would loose their pedals upon impact giving much more internal damage with multiple bullet fragments flying around inside the chest cavity. I understand that high velocity projectiles passing through the chest cavity of a big game animal create tremendous shock to the animal. And who doesn't think the images of the perfectly expanded Triple Shock don't look cool? I have just heard and seen a few too many times where hydrostatic shock drops an animal, then they jump back up and take off. Sometimes the Triple Shock's shock effect is amazing and other times you are left with only the "pencil" effect of a single small hole going in and a single small hole going out. If the bullet doesn't initially shock the deer to death what else is going to bring it down?

The old Nosler Partition bullets are one of if not the best at performing well on game. They offer great penetration and also fragment to create more actual internal damage, not just shock. Nosler, could you place a plastic tip and a sleek boat tail shape on your partition bullets? Or just place the partition wall across the center of a accubond bullet. Then I could have a "cool" looking bullet that performs well on big game at almost any range.

Recovered from elk 150 Gr. Accubond LR

Where's the lead? Recovered 150 Gr. Accubond Long Range bullet. With a modest muzzle velocity of 3034 FPS from my X-Bolt this 150 Gr. bullet is reduced to 29 grains of bare copper after about 10 inches of penetration and a 189 yard shot into Dallen's 2013 Utah bull elk.  Isn't the lead supposed to be bonded to the copper? Are these really Accubonds? Looks like Accubond Long Range bullets are just really fragile Ballistic Tips with better ballistic coefficients.

Here are a few 140g Nosler AccuBond related hunts.

Here's some experiences with the 150 Gr. Accubond Long Range Bullet

 

Here are a few links to 243 WSSM Triple Shock hunts.

Subcategories

  • Big Game Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting mule deer, elk and whitetail deer.  You'll find hunts with 243 WSSM and 270 WSM rifles to muzzleloader and archery hunts.

  • General Hunting and Shooting

    Journal entries covering general information related to hunting and shooting. Many of these journal entries are from shooting on the rifle or archery range. There are also entries related to my experiences with the 243 WSSM, rifles, optics and other equipment and products I use.

  • Varmint Hunting

    Journal entries from hunting coyotes, rock chucks, prairie dogs and the like with 243 WSSM and 223 Rem. rifles.

  • Backpacking and Camping

    Backpacking, Pack Wheel camping and other camping adventures.

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