|Build Your Own Deer Cart
Written by Tony Kuehn
A few years ago I saw
a small child’s mountain bike discarded in the woods I hunt and got
an idea. Instead of hauling this thing back home for proper disposal why not
utilize it for a deer cart? I had been looking through hunting supplier catalogs
and even inspected a few child carriers, bike trailers to get an idea of how
to construct one. Then one early spring day I got bored and started putting
one together. I knew some engineering techniques from building go-karts as
a kid and really didn’t want to spend $100 bucks for something that
could only be used for a few months of the year.
I found another junked small bike, took the front wheel off
of it, combined it with an old compressor stand, some ¾” conduit,
spare aluminum stock from a picture frame clamp and I was in business. A quick
trip to the hardware store for a pipe bender, some SAE quality ¼”
bolts, conduit caps, U clip, a wheelbarrow tub then add-in 4 API stand speed
knobs from Cabela’s and I had all that I needed. Total cost about $35.
Now came the hard part, the design stage.
I had looked at several gardening utility carts and thought
it would be great if I could build something for multiple-use. By bending
the conduit at various angles, matching the pieces to the compressor frame
and bearing in mind the size of an average whitetail, I think I had it figured
out. Start with a square frame, put a wheel on each side, brace the extended
portions front and back and utilize the speed knobs for the removable handles.
The multiple-use function can be engineered in by making the wheelbarrow tub
The hardest part was getting the angles right on the bends
around the wheels. Conduit is cheap and after a few tries I had the technique
figured out. Basically the top view looks like this:
To assist with drilling
the holes for the bolts and speed knobs, I used a bench vise and a number
of spring clamps. Your typical 3/8” hand-drill was adequate for the
task. Some areas it was better to use a hammer to flatten the contact points.
Perhaps using square stock would have been easier. That wasn’t cheap
and I was having fun with the pipe bender. I was assisted in some of my assembly
by my two year-old daughter. After a little painting, some adjusting on the
attachment points for the wheels, and going through several designs for attaching
it to a mountain bike, I had it finished. To help hold equipment to the unit,
I added an ATV bowholder and a cargo net.
As can be seen by the
photos I think this project worked out pretty good. I tested it first by hauling
my child around then used it on a metro hunt with paved trails. While biking
the trails on the way to deer stand with my new trailer/cart/wagon I received
many nice comments from other people using the trails. A common question was:
“Where can I buy one of those?” Hmmm, maybe I should patent this
thing? Nah too much product liability I don’t want to convert my garage
into a manufacturing facility either. Perhaps I will make a few for friends,
with improvements like leaf springs, stronger wheel brackets, a lockable top
The cart works great for hauling deer hunting stuff small mid-sized animals
and with the tub attached, wood for the fireplace, and lots of leaves from
the yard. I plan on using it for a family bike camping trip sometime in the
future (we already have a trailer to haul the kids). It goes to show that
Good Old Fashioned Yankee Ingenuity still exists and you don’t need
a lot of money to develop your own collection of bowhunting gadgetry.