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Build Your Own Deer Cart
Written by Tony Kuehn© 2003

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 removable.

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 cover…..



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.

 

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