Level Up Your Truck For Your Next Deer Hunt

White-tailed deer stocks are strong and the hunting forecast for 2019 is good, with experts predicting a good season this fall. With your equipment prepped and your location chosen, you’re almost ready to go, but when you’re planning your next hunting trip, it’s also worth thinking about how you’re going to prepare your vehicle.


Will My Vehicle Suffice?

When you’re planning your hunt, it’s important to check the rules for big game transportation in the area you plan to visit. Providing there are no restrictions on how to move your catch, you’ll be able to get it home in most vehicles. If you’re using a car or SUV, prepare the interior by laying down digital fit floor liners - these have a raised lip, which will protect your carpets from dirt and fluids. Protecting your seats with waterproof coverings will further protect the inside of your vehicle, and they often have storage built in, which will help with transporting equipment.

However, although you can prepare any vehicle for the job, a truck is by far the easiest to work with. The flat, open bed allows you to easily move large cargo without much creative thinking, and you can be careful to match the model to the job. Using a truck for hunting will also allow you to add customizations to enhance the hunting experience.

From Truck To Hunt Truck

To really make your vehicle work for you when you’re hunting big game, you want to consider more than taking your catch home. A tonneau cover is a wise addition to cover the back of the truck: this will protect your equipment - and your catch - from the weather.

Poor weather conditions can also make visibility difficult, so adding off road lights can help with this, and will also equip you for night hunting. Although the truck bed will be sufficient for transporting a deer, you can also consider installing a truck rack. This will increase the amount of catch you’re able to take away with you, and it also gives you the option of leaving the bed free to carry your gear. However, if you choose this option, make sure you have a plan for how to get your catch onto the rack - it may only be a suitable option if you’re hunting in a group.

Although the chances of you running into difficulties are unlikely, you never know what problems you might encounter on your hunt, so to fully prepare your truck, it’s a good idea to take a truck winch, which can really help you out if you get stuck. Similarly, a grille guard is a good investment for protecting your vehicle from the terrain. While winches and grilles aren’t essential, they do mean you can consider more adventurous hunts than you could without precautions in place.

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Planning To Succeed

An additional advantage of a truck over other vehicles, is the ease of loading… as long as you’re properly prepared. Before you set out, tie a strong length of rope to the bed of the truck securely, and attach a pulley to it. Take an additional piece of rope with you, as well as a wide plank of wood - between eight and ten feet in length - to serve as a ramp. If your hunt is successful, you’ll be able to easily load your catch by running the second rope through the pulley, tying one end to the deer (the neck will be best for a doe; the antlers for a buck) and the other to a secure object, and then driving forwards to pull the animal up the ramp into the truck.

An alternative option is to load your truck with a ladder extension before you set out: you can roll the animal onto the ladder while it’s flat on the ground; then rest one end of the ladder on the tailgate, pick up the other end, and slide it into the back of the truck. The rungs of the ladder will reduce the risk of the deer sliding off while you’re maneuvering it.

Take It To The Next Level

If you’re planning a long trip and are considering an overnight camp to make the most of your hunt, you could consider attaching a truck cap instead of a tonneau cover. While you could just use this for storing your kit, you could also level up your hunt by packing it with an airbed, sleeping bag and overnight gear. It will also comfortably accommodate cooking equipment and a heater, making it a more luxurious alternative to traditional camping. However, if you plan to sleep in a truck cap, make sure you have enough space to store everything safely when you need the space for your catch.

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