Dallen's 2017 Muzzleloader Mule Deer Hunt

Motorized Pack Wheel and Rogue 36 Pack Wheel Mule Deer Hunting

We packed another couple miles up the mountain this day with the Rogue 36 and Motorized Pack Wheel. We were hopeful to find some deer in some of these higher canyons.

 

While we haven't been posting about it lately, we have been very busy testing the motorized Pack Wheel on our family's hunts this fall. This video is from September going in five miles with enough water/Powerade for two people to last 5 days. @diyhntr has tweaked the design from what is seen here but the basic design is the same. And we can report that this system is absolutely amazing! With the ultra-high torque this system has it will climb like no other. You will have to hike yourself up the mountain but not the gear on the Pack Wheel. You only need to steer and operate the throttle as the motor will do all the work. Watch for more info to come. Available to purchase in January 2018. #goinheavy #motorizedpackwheel #climbingmachine #packwheel #hunting #whatgetsyououtdoors #hiking #outdoorlife #backcountryhunting #backpacking

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The end of July I broke my scaphoid bone in my right wrist while helping the scouts (Landen and KB) on their 50 mile bike ride for their biking merit badge. For a silly little bone, I had no idea how painful and extremely long it takes for this bone to heal. And yes, I finished the remaining 15 miles of the ride one armed. I felt I earned the merit badge.

Given my wrist was broke I was glad that I drew a rifle deer tag and I picked up a muzzleloader elk tag. These two hunts are Utah's latest big game hunts in the fall giving my wrist time to heal the most before my hunts.

Dallen drew a muzzleloader deer tag and wanted to pack in for a few days to hunt the area he rifle hunted last year. We loaded up the Pack Wheels with a bunch of Power Aid, water to last for a week and headed into the backcountry.

As it worked out a couple days before the hunt was my 8th week since I broke my wrist and the doctor removed the cast and upgraded me to a wrist brace just in time for the hunt making it so I could operate the Pack Wheel fairly well.

Dallen was using a Rogue 36” Pack Wheel and I was testing the motorized Pack Wheel I had been working on before my bike wreck. After this hunting trip, I can say the huge 36” wheeled Rogue is my favorite non-motorized Pack Wheel. It rolls really well uphill and over obstacles. However, when it comes to sheer climbing the motorized Pack Wheel is just amazing. With use, I have learned to change a few things with the way I operate the Pack Wheel. For instance, this summer before I broke my wrist I was operating the Pack Wheel similar to how I operate a non-motorized version. What I found is that having the weight rocked back to bump over obstacles just increased the load in my arms from the torque of the motor. To get all of the weight and torque of the motor to carry the load I learned to tip the Pack Wheel forward with your arms raised up in the air similar to riding a tall handled chopper motorbike. I would tip the Pack Wheel forward to the point that it almost wants to tip over forward and then use the variable speed throttle to pull the Pack Wheel forward. It works awesome. You don’t have to carry any of the weight, just balance, steer and operate the throttle. I have geared the system to have very high torque and slow walking speed travel. It with crawl barely even moving up to around three miles per hour and will not bog down even with the heaviest of loads and steepest of trails. It's just amazing.

To operate the Pack Wheel in the uphill climbing position I have since added bar ends and a different throttle than what I used on this particular hunt these changes have made the uphill travel so very comfortable.

Before this hunt, I checked and made sure I had permission to use the Motorized Pack Wheel on this public land. Hunting e-bikes are getting more and more popular and are in kind of a grey area for motorized vehicle restrictions. Are e-bikes a motorized vehicle, as they are definitely a vehicle with a motor? The Motorized Pack Wheel is quiet and does not carry the operator (aka not a vehicle) giving the Pack Wheel potentially a greater number of areas than an e-bike where it can be used without restrictions.

Another thing to note is that on this trip I used the motor to climb some pretty good elevation over four days of use and the battery still showed half power remaining at the end of the trip.

The night before the opener we headed in going a mile or more past where Dallen shot his buck “First Try” last year. We setup the tent in the dark and enjoyed a chicken and dumplings Mountain House meal.

The next morning we were in a great position to view a lot of country and glass and glass we did but we couldn’t turn up a deer one. Not good. Come afternoon we caught a glimpse of a single doe and that was it. So we hiked back to camp and moved another mile and a half or so up the mountain that afternoon. Again that evening watching other areas we didn’t find a single deer.

The next morning as we headed out we quickly spotted a couple 18 inch wide bucks moving out down a canyon. We swung around trying to get a better look and they made it past us into the heavy oak brush. Dallen was able to pick them up again later that morning and we confirmed that it was a 2 and 3 point in the 18 inch wide variety. Not what Dallen was after for now.

We spent the rest of the day hiking and glassing only turning up a few does in the distance.

The following morning we took off early and hiked into the very back of the property and down into some beautiful canyons only to find a single doe. Most likely one that we had found the day before. Chalk up another four miles of hiking on the feet. Thank goodness I found that trail running shoes make for the best hunting shoes as long as the weather is good so my feet did just fine carrying my heavy butt around the mountain.

That evening we met up with some friends on horseback and tried to locate the two bucks from the day before for their youth hunter but we couldn’t find the bucks again. Darn it.

That night we broke camp again and moved further to the north in the dark to hunt some different canyons the next day.

This move proved good. The next morning we found some deer. We ended up finding four small bucks and a number of does. We tried to outsmart a really tall narrow three point but somehow he gave us the slip. I thought we had a brilliant plan to trick the buck but the buck vanished. Who got tricked? LOL

That afternoon we packed up camp and started wheeling off the mountain stopping to glass along the way. We found a small two point and a spike. Dallen was ready to shoot the two point and I think I talked him out of it. So back to work we both had to go for a few days.

After work one night Dallen headed up alone to look for deer. Just before dark, I got a call that he had one down. I loaded up a Rogue 36 Pack Wheel and a minimal amount of gear and headed up the mountain to help him. He was about two and a half miles in and by the time I found him he had completely boned out one side of his buck. Incidentally, it turned out to be the same two point he passed on when he was with me the week before. Too funny.

We flipped the deer over and was able to take some photos without you knowing the other side of the deer was a skeleton.

Even though this was Dallen’s smallest buck he has ever shot I was most proud of him going out and doing it by himself. Nice job hunting solo Dallen. The pack out on the Rogue 36 Pack Wheel was an absolute breeze. 

The next day my two youngest boys wanted to go look for deer. Landen had a rifle tag and in Utah a youth can use his rifle tag for all of the seasons, so up the mountain we went. We found a great bull elk with a bunch of cows across on the private side of the fence and we also found some good bucks on the wrong side of the fence. We did find three small bucks that were the size of Dallen’s but Landen wanted to shoot something bigger than Dallen’s. Too funny.

Landen knew he still had the rifle hunt in about a month so we weren’t too worried about passing on the little bucks.

More great memories with my boys. 

So next up is the rifle elk season with Landen and Dallen both having tags. Blog entry coming soon.

Motorized Pack Wheel Testing — Hiking Speeds With High Torque

The DIY Hunter and his boys testing a walking speed high torque motorized Pack Wheel game cart.

In the summer of 2015 I tested a couple variations of a bike hub motor on the Pack Wheel. I found them to be very high speed with low torque or in other words they were geared for going 20 plus mph offering little assistance unless I was already near running up the mountain myself. Yes, they assisted but didn't have enough torque to carry the load on their own. I felt that I could go up the mountain easier without the "assist" of a hub motor and haven't used the hub motor since the two trips I took with it in 2015. 

This year I have been testing different motors and batteries using a chain drive system. By using the chain drive I am able to gear down the speed into walking speed power and power it is. My current prototype will operate from 0 to 6 mph controlled by a thumb throttle. Even just barely moving the motor will carry all the weight of the load right up the mountain. Although going up steep inclines did place some weight on my arms because of the steep angle, the torque of the motor, and I mounted the battery on the back side of the handle, but other than a small portion of this weight being held in your arms the motor will power the entire load right up the mountain, no need for any operator assistance in pushing the load.

When I tested the hub motor back in 2015 it was clearly a motor that offered assistance when you were already moving. This motor system has the power to carry the load right up the mountain entirely on it's own power. Low hiking speeds and tons of torque in this chain drive system.

I found that I operate the Pack Wheel a little differently for crossing obstacles. Typically without a motor when I need to go over a rock or log I would lower my arms to take some weight off the wheel so that I could bump the wheel up and over the obstacle. Doing this technique with the motor can make the wheel spin out by not having enough traction. So, to go over obstacles with the motor I don't lower my arms but instead push the wheel up against the obstacle to give the wheel extra weight to give it the traction needed to climb over the obstacle. Butting my waist up against the back of the handle and leaning into the Pack Wheel provided me the best solution for getting the traction to climb over deadfall and rocks. 

Some other cool features of this motorized system. Without any tools and in less than a minute you can slide the battery off, slide the motor off and remove the chain for a non-motorized system. Say you were deep in the backcountry and the motor seized of for some odd reason you can just disconnect the motor or remove it and still be able to use the Pack Wheel.

I'm still working on how long the battery will last. I need to run the numbers on paper as best as possible for number's sake, however, I trust in the field use over numbers on paper. I have more testing to do. I can say that on the first test with the 28 lb motorized Pack Wheel (see video below) we hiked up the mountain for a few hours using the motor stopping to check cameras along the way. I would guess that the motor received a solid hour of use and after the trip, the battery power level indicator LEDs still show full power.

All-in-all I really love this motorized system I still need to tweak the gear ratio and other components but am getting close to offering this as an option for the Pack Wheel.

Below are a couple videos from testing the motorized Pack Wheel this summer.

UPDATE: I have been using the Motorized Pack Wheel on my hunts this fall and have been loving it. Watch for more info as I catch up on my blog entries.

 

 

The DIY Hunter testing a motorized Pack Wheel game cart with high torque that operates at hiking speeds.

Browning Defender 850 WiFi Trail Camera Operation

So I've been playing with the new Defender 850 trail cameras lately.  I thought I would share some of the things I have found that might help you get the most out of your Browning trail camera.

The option to connect to these cameras via an app on your phone or tablet is pretty geeky cool. I like this function most for going through the setting and using the live preview to point the camera in the perfect direction. Here's how the app connecting process works.

With the power on turned on the camera, you then open the Browning Defender app on your phone. The trail camera is always using low power Bluetooth so when you turn on the Defender App it will either automatically connect via Bluetooth or you will have to select the Bluetooth camera name and then press the connect button.

Once you have this Bluetooth connection established you then can click the "BLU <> WIFI" button to switch the camera into wifi mode. At this point be a little patient as it may take a few seconds for your phone to see the trail camera in your available wifi's to connect to. Once the wifi shows up select to connect to it and then hit the back button on your Android phone (not sure what the iPhone people do). Now you will have a wifi connection to the phone and can use the Live View, Playback and Settings options. Pretty simple.

In the video below you can see how the live preview works. This is nice to point the camera where you want it, walk past it and see how critters would frame up in the view and adjust the camera position as needed.

Landen's First Elk — Cow Elk Hunting with a Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

With Dallen and myself filling our cow elk tags it was time to help Landen.

Early in the morning on a week day my three boys and myself were up getting ready to help Landen fill his cow elk tag. Getting three boys all equipped and ready for cold temps with snow took an hour longer than I anticipated. It was a week day but as we pulled into the parking lot to access the public land my ears were correct as we found a horse trailer and three other vehicles. Darn it.

We started glassing from the parking lot spotting a cow out on a ridge near the area the cow elk that Dallen and I first spotted our cows the week before. We were just about ready to start the hike up after this elk when we watched three horses come in below the elk. I snapped a couple photo of these hunters just before they dropped the cow and another cow that was out of sight from us.

As it turned out the hunters with the horses were two friends of mine that work with me at Browning. They were excited to see the photo I snapped of them.

We glassed another group of cows three miles in and on the move to private ground. We could see some hunters in a basin I like to hunt working on a cow they had down. Hmm...

With all of the activity in the area ahead of us we decided to hike up a ridge line and then swing around below the other hunters looking for some cows that we had seen from the road while driving in that morning.

After a mile or so, with a few hours of hiking we dropped over into a small draw and below us were two cows. We worked our way down a ridge line out of sight of the elk and then popped up on a small cliff. I set a day pack on the cliff and Landen setup with my little A-Bolt Stainless Hunter Laminate in 243 WSSM, shooting 80 gr Tipped Triple Shock bullets.

As the two elk moved out in to the open 130 yards across from us Landen hammered the larger of the two with a perfect shot through the shoulders. Nice shooting Landen! The 80 Gr TTSX is a lightning bolt on deer and elk offering amazing penetration and trama is shoulder shot deer and elk out to 400 yards with my 243 WSSM handload going 3,550 fps in this little A-Bolt rifle.

When we got over to the elk we found that it was a calf. I thought it was a younger cow at first but once on the ground we found it was just a large calf with plenty of nice tender meat. Yum!

Dallen and I had already taken a couple nice sized cows the week before so we were set on meat for another year. Yes, our family goes through two elk a year on average. We love elk meat. Landen's elk may not have been the largest on the mountain but it has been a tasty one and given him some great experience to be better prepared on future hunts.

After a few pics with Landen's first elk we went to work boning it out and placing the meat into canvas breathable Pack Wheel Meat Panniers. After we had the meat all boned out and strapped on the Pack Wheel we only had a couple hundred yards to go to drop down to a road and then we could follow the road about a mile back to the parking lot for a very easy pack out with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel.

We even had a little daylight left for some pics on the way off the mountain. 

Another awesome time spent with my boys. Good shooting Landen!

Cow Elk Pack Out with Rogue 36 Pack Wheel

Rogue 36 Pack Wheel — Cow Elk Hunting

 

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For several months I have been working on building a Pack Wheel with the largest wheel possible, that being a wheel that is 36 inches in diameter. Thirty six inch wheels on specialty bikes are showing up more and more, especially for really tall people. Being a tall guy myself I have been really intrigued with the larger wheel. The larger the wheel the smoother the ride, as the angle with which the tire contacts an obstacle is lowered making going over obstacles easier.

There are a few challenges to designing a thirty six inch wheel to work with the Pack Wheel. Challenges in designing and building things my brain just loves to tackle, so bring it on. The two most significant challenges to designing this giant wheel to work with the Pack Wheel were first, redesigning the handle so that it would offer strength and stability in a lower-to-frame design. Something I refer to as leverage. The greater the distance between the handle and the center of gravity the better. The second major obsticle was designing the frame to handle the added braking force of the extra leverage from the huge diameter wheel. A few tweaks to the design of the handle and the frame accomplished both of these major obsticles with flying colors!

After working on the design for a few months I had parts cut and welded up just in time for our families late season cow elk hunts. Dallen, Landen and myself all had cow elk tags for an area that has some public land we like to hunt. The last couple of years I have hunted this area I have had to hike in over three miles to find what few elk have been in the area. This year we had a little more snow than the past few years so I was hopeful that we wouldn't have to hike three plus miles in for cow elk especially with my eleven and thirteen year old boys.

Not wanting to have three elk on the ground all at once I decided to have Dallen and I make an initial trip up and see if we could locate some and if possible bring a couple cow elk back with us.

We picked a good day of the week as there were no other vehicles in the parking lot as we showed up a little after daylight. We set out up the canyon with me pushing an empty Rogue 36 and Dallen pushing a 27.5+ Pack Wheel. The 27.5+ is a three inch fat tire that has an outside diameter of 29 inches, just a little smaller than the 29er tires that are on the Pack Wheel.

In years past we have hunted up the mountain for cow elk with Pack Wheels collapsed on our backs. Something that has worked really well for us. My personal Pack Wheels I have setup tubeless making them about nine ounces lighter. This makes my 29er right at twelve pounds of carry weight. Add the two pound meat panniers and I have everything I need to haul a completely boned out elk off the mountain by myself with just the fourteen pounds of extra carry weight with me.

This year we chose to just push the Pack Wheels empty up the mountain. This first prototype Rogue 36 Pack Wheel weighs in just over seventeen and a half pounds and the meat panniers are the same two pounds. In fact Dallen and I were taking the first set I ever sewed up and another very early set. Both sets have carried many elk and a few deer off the mountain and are still holding up strong. These two sets of meat panniers were most recently used to carry out Dallen and Landen's mule deer from the 2016 Utah rifle deer season.

Pushing the Pack Wheel along empty worked great. I wondered if it would annoy me but it didn't at all even going up some really steep inclines. I actually enjoyed having it to lean on and help keep my balance similar to a walking stick.

After hiking for a half mile or so we climbed up the North side of the canyon hoping to glass and find some elk in the area. Nope, nope and nope. After an hour or so we finally found three cows an a calf about a mile further up the canyon and on the thick brushy north facing side. We made a note of them and continued up the south facing slope that we were on. After another half hour we noticed that the three cows and calf had moved one ridge line closer. With not seeing anything on the side we were on we decided to drop back down, cross the canyon, and hope that we might be able to get within range be able to see the elk on the oak brushy side that they were on.

Some time later we were hiking on the other side along the edge of some oak bush when we spotted them at three hundred and fifteen yards. Well within range of my X-Bolt in 270 WSM shooting a 150 Gr SST and Dallen's new 300 WSM shooting 200 Gr ELD-X bullets. However, there was a one major problem, that being we were behind a line of oak brush and getting two of the cows to be in a window to shoot through at the same time highly difficult. Given they were feeding their way towards a ridge line and could disappear from our view, when the largest cow came into an opening I told Dallen to take her. Dallen made a very well placed heart shot and she quickly did a death run mixed with death slide into the brush. The remaining cow and calf ran and paused not far from cresting the ridge line. I had to quickly maneuver into a shooting position that wasn't the most steady but I had a narrow window to the elk through the brush directly in front of me. As I touched off the shot I was right on her back and that was exactly where I hit her. There went a good five pounds of back strap. :( Oops.

By the time we hiked up to them, had them both boned out, and loaded on the Pack Wheels it was after 10pm. As I get older I'm noticing that I can't bone an elk out as fast as I used to. 

Once we had them loaded, off the mountain we cruised. The giant 36" wheel was amazing in the snow. If I could change one thing I would like a really knobby tread like the Hans Dampf or Knobby Nic tires that are on our 26, 27.5+ and 29er Pack Wheels. There just aren't many tire options to choose from that are 36 inches in size. The tires that are on the 36" Pack Wheel are knobby just not super knobby. The reason I would prefer the super knobby tires is for holding your position going around a steep loose side hill. 

There was a hundred yards or so of going around a side hill and the 36 inch tire worked well it just didn't grab and hold it's line quite as well as the knobbier tires I am used to using. I dont' see the tire being a problem I just noticed they slipped a little where the Hans Dampf tires would have held their ground better.

One of the things we knew was going to happen from other snow experiences is the extra resistance of a fatter tire that was on the 27.5+ Pack Wheel Dallen was using. Wider tired have more resistance in un-groomed, wet and deeper snow. I prefer the 2.35" wide Hans Dampf tire over the wider Fat tires in the snow. The reason being is unless you have perfect hard pack snow conditions the fatter tires still sink into the snow. It's a lot easier to have a narrower tire cut through the snow than a fat tire. There just is more resistance along the front edge of the tire. I knew this but still wanted more experience with a fat tire so the Pack Wheel Dallen was primarily using was the fat tire Pack Wheel and I was using the Rogue 36. 

Both Pack Wheels worked great however there was a two hundred yard stretch of sage brush flat that had a layer of a foot of powder on top of a crusted layer of around another eight inches of snow. The 36 inch wheel went through all eighteen inches of snow with ease. The fat tire took some energy to move in this section and a few small rest stops to make it through this two hundred yard stretch. The fat wheel would sink just as far into the snow but it had considerable more resistance to push through the snow just like we have found in other experiences we had last fall while hunting mule deer in heavy wet snow. I knew this but wanted to get a little more experience with the fat tire in the snow. It still worked in the snow but I definitely prefer the standard 2.35" wide tires in the snow. 

We did take turns using each size of the Pack Wheel so that we could better get a side by side comparison.

One thing was for sure and that is the giant 36" tire is now my hands down favorite in the snow and I'm betting it is going to be my all around favorite for all of my outdoor adventures. I'll bet I'm using it on all of my trips this year. :)

Other than a slight slow down for the fat tire on the 200 yard flat, we cruised off the mountain in the dark. 

Did I mention how much I loved the giant wheel? Dang it rolled really nice!

Next up getting Landen's cow elk tag filled.

 

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