How to Build a Dependable Game Cart
The advantages of owning a game cart are huge. Not only does it allow you to bring back downed deer or elk in a much more convenient manner, but it also allows you take equipment out into the field. If you want to set up a tree stand or a blind off the beaten track, moving the materials can be tough work, having a handy cart purpose-built for dealing with uneven terrain can be a real blessing.
Most people buy a game cart for bringing back dressed deer or elk. Should you be hunting with a group and want to bring back more than one, it makes transportation much simpler and easier. But what if you built your very own game cart? Who knows better than yourself what kind of hunting you’re going to do and what kind of gear you might need? A homemade game cart is not just a useful tool, it’s a sense of accomplishment at having a built a truly personalized piece of equipment that you can make use of for years into the future. Let's have a look and see whether building one is the right option for you.
The Advantages of Making over Buying
No one knows exactly what your needs and circumstances are better than yourself. By making our own game cart, you can design and execute to exactly the specifications that fit your style of hunting. You know whether you’re hunting deer, elk, whitetail deer, and as such what kind of weight allowance you’ll need. Also, the best part of building your own is that you can customize it in ways that a store bought cart won’t be able to. Do you want a rifle rack attached? Would you like to have extra length for transporting long pieces of wood? You can fit one out for exactly what you require.
Disadvantages of Making
The disadvantages include time. As with anything worthwhile, making your own cart will take time and a lot of effort. If you have some money to spend then you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by just purchasing a quality game cart instead. Game carts are reasonably priced these days, so you don't have to go breaking the bank for one.
Points to Consider When Making
When making your cart, consider the materials you want to use based on the weight you’ll be shifting, the terrain you’re entering, and the kind of distance you’ll likely travel. You don’t want a bulky, heavy cart that you can’t fold away, and you don’t want it to be troublesome over bumpy ground.
Building the Cart
For a basic cart, you actually don’t need that many materials. To keep it light, use PVC piping around ¾-inch galvanized conduit. This will give you a solid bar that won’t rust. The bars can be connected using PVC right-angle joints to make one large rectangle with crossbeams (the more crossbeams you have, the more weight you’ll be able to manage). Don’t make this any longer than a mater and a half as it will be less portable (if you really do need more length, you can consider adding an extra square as a removable attachment.
Then build a smaller square (same width) which will be the “foot-plate” of the cart. Attach the two pieces together on one side using a lockable hinge. You could just permanently fix the two pieces at right-angles, but if you have a lockable hinge, you’ll be able to flat pack it in the back of your vehicle and even carry it on your back as part of your kit.
Where the two pieces of frame join, add wheels using single axles. If both wheels are joined on one axle, you’ll find that over bumpy ground the cart will shift direction when going over lumps. It’s best to go for decent sized wheels with hard rubber, no inner tubes. It’s recommended to use 15-inch wheels as this will give you a decent lift off the ground and be easier to move over various terrains. You can secure the wheels with wing nuts which means you won’t have to take any specialized tools with you on the hunt.
Consider putting handles on your cart. While it’s easy enough to pull around using the frame, having a set of handles though will be better for your hands and give you more maneuverability. You can use old bike handles if you like, but a simple method would be to just wrap two parts of the frame with rubber grip; it will prevent calluses and let you steer better.
Finishing the Cart
You never want to take anything on a hunt that is going to either startle the animals or be negatively impacted by the environment. Use a waterproof paint to help your cart blend in, browns and green mix is the best; the PVC covering will prevent rust anyway.
Testing Your Cart
Before you take the cart out on a hunt, wheel it around for a bit to make sure it’s comfortable n your hands and wrists. Then try adding some weight. If you use the PVC piping and ¾-inch galvanized conduit, the overall weight should be about 25 pounds; this can easily carry about 200 pounds worth of deer or elk.
When you practice maneuvering with weight, pay attention to how the weight sits. If it looks likely to topple, it’s always a good idea to have some elastic straps with hooks for extra safety. Try taking the cart apart and putting it together again to make yourself at ease with it; if the wingnuts are difficult to take off and put on, add a little oil or WD40.
Get Out There!
Now that you have your very own handmade cart, plan a trip, pack up your gear and get out there. As with any hunt, you want to make safety the priority. Practice packing gear onto your cart and wheeling it around. You could even think about adding some shoulder straps to make it even more portable!