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what's your ideal set for deer camp in the backwoods?

Schemeecho

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Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
313
Location
Gaston, SC.
What's up saddle hunters? I have been thinking about taking a vacation during deer season and doing some backwoods camping and setting up a mobile deer camp. But before you start posting pics of your decked out camper or trailer conversion, remember this is a mobile deer camp in the backwoods. I'm in South Carolina and hunt all public land. Most WMA land you can't camp on, but I also hunt the national forest which does allow Backwoods off trail camping. The only rule is you have to be 100 yards from any road or water source when setting up your camp site. As a saddle hunter the goal is to stay mobile and light, right? So, what happens when you decide to throw setting up a mobile deer camp in the mix? For those of you not from South Carolina let me explain our weather during deer season. Our deer season starts in September which opens with bow season. The average temps for September is about A high of 84 dge. to even 90 deg during the day with a low of mid to low 60's. In October the temp starts to drop a bit more settling at around mid to low 70's during the day and about the low 50's at night. The night time temps for November through January are in the mid 60's and continue to drop to the low 50's during the day and in the low 40's to 30's at night on average. Sometimes it will get into the mid 20's at night. Also these dates are for public land not private. So it doesn't really get that cold but it does seem to rain a good bit throughout the season. So, what I'm thinking is, from September through November. I might use a Hammock and two tarps. Some type of camp chair or maybe just bushcraft one when I get out there. For food maybe some dry good style foods that you just and water to like rice, mashed potatoes you know simple things you can get from Walmart and just heat over a fire and enough to last three days for breakfast and dinner, of course a snack in between. Something for lunch that's high protein and carbs. I have a 7 gallon water container for fresh water. A small backpacking cook set. Back up batteries for lights and phone and camera. maybe a book for reading at night or just do some youtube videos for entertainment. Then for the colder months maybe switch out the Hammock for a tent and maybe a buddy heater and Propane tank. Of course I would need a cooler to store anything I kill and quarter during the trip. My biggest concern is that in itself, What do I do with what I kill while camping? Since I have never done this before. I plan on the trip being 3 to 4 days. Having one day to set up camp 2 days to hunt full days and 1 day for a morning hunt then pack up and head home. If you have done this before and have any suggestions let me know. I'd also still like to hear what set up you would use as well, what do you prefer, what's your ideal set up?
 

Bigterp

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How far are you hiking in. Hammock & tent setups are super similar in weight if you buy hight end on both. If that’s not the case then the nod goes to hammock/ under quilt. Sounds like you may be able to get away without a lot of insulation through October. Definitely don’t need a cooler, a couple game bags & you should be fine. If you kill your coming out that evening or next morning….. I’d keep your pack as light as possible. Maybe some freeze dried meals & a lot of bars & gels, I jet boil & someway to filter water. If your packing saddle gear something light & maybe onestick it… last but not least bring a buddy it will be a much more enjoyable experience especially if you kill…..
 

Jagger0502

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Oct 26, 2020
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Sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to do. If you don’t mind taking multiple trips take whatever you want to be comfortable if you plan for a base camp. If you plan to go light and move night after night then they to keep your pack at or under 40lbs without food and water. A mile is not that far to do a double if you don’t have light gear. Sounds like you plan to do it a few times so keep a list of what you take and when you finish your 3-4 days go thru your list and take out what you didn’t use or didn’t need and add what you wished you had. There are lots of backcountry packing lists online to get you started. Plan on having a cooler in the truck with ice if you have temps that hot. When you get one, bag it up and take it to the truck then go back for your camp.

I have a few setups when I pack in.Two for solo and one for when the wife or a buddy goes. Everything is basically the same except the tent. Solo I have a hammock or a seek outside silex. For multiple people I have a cimmeron (and a nest for when the wife comes out) sleeping pad and quilt for anything down to 50 deg and a 15 deg bag for everything else. Water filter saves a lot of weight if you have a water source. I like food so I usually pack in a good dinner the first night like a steak and bacon Freeze it before you go and it will last till you get to the site. Then I go with begals or tortilla with lunch meats or PBJ. Freeze dried for longer trips but those get expensive. You can get some good meals that last a few days without a cooler. Or have food in the truck cooler and head out to get it mid day whiles it’s hot and the deer are not moving. Packing in can be addicting and fun. Good luck!
 
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Schemeecho

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Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
313
Location
Gaston, SC.
@Bigterp , do you remember that spot you helped me with at the beginning of this year on onx maps? Thats the spot I'm going to. So the hike in will be only about 500 yards to base camp location I'm trying to stay about a mile away from the spot I have chosen to hunt.I found some nice bedding and a lot of other sign around that swampy area. When I scouted it last weekend. I found a few different trees depending on wind direction and some back doors to those trees depending on the wind. I'm leaning towards the Hammock and Tarp. I have a Sawyers water filter so I could just get water from the creek. I dont think I can use game bags because I cant find any info on quartering your kill while on public land on the South Carolina DNR website. It states that the tag has to remain on until its taken to a processor form point of kill. So I dont know if I'm allowed to quarter at base camp. I'll have to call them tomorrow and ask. I plan on one sticking so my gear will be light.
 

cutty

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Sep 20, 2015
Messages
165
I've taken my hammock down to the mid 20's so I'm not sleeping on the ground anytime soon. My NF in N. FL. is cut up with logging roads your not going far across country without hitting a tram road. If I want to camp in the interior somewhere im using my 4 wheeler, duel sport, or gheenoe. so I'm not carrying camp on my back very far. We can only disperse camp untill Gun season then we have to be in an designated hunt camp
 

Schemeecho

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
313
Location
Gaston, SC.
Sounds like you have a good idea of what you want to do. If you don’t mind taking multiple trips take whatever you want to be comfortable if you plan for a base camp. If you plan to go light and move night after night then they to keep your pack at or under 40lbs without food and water. A mile is not that far to do a double if you don’t have light gear. Sounds like you plan to do it a few times so keep a list of what you take and when you finish your 3-4 days go thru your list and take out what you didn’t use or didn’t need and add what you wished you had. There are lots of backcountry packing lists online to get you started. Plan on having a cooler in the truck with ice if you have temps that hot. When you get one, bag it up and take it to the truck then go back for your camp.

I have a few setups when I pack in.Two for solo and one for when the wife or a buddy goes. Everything is basically the same except the tent. Solo I have a hammock or a seek outside silex. For multiple people I have a cimmeron (and a nest for when the wife comes out) sleeping pad and quilt for anything down to 50 deg and a 15 deg bag for everything else. Water filter saves a lot of weight if you have a water source. I like food so I usually pack in a good dinner the first night like a steak and bacon Freeze it before you go and it will last till you get to the site. Then I go with begals or tortilla with lunch meats or PBJ. Freeze dried for longer trips but those get expensive. You can get some good meals that last a few days without a cooler. Or have food in the truck cooler and head out to get it mid day whiles it’s hot and the deer are not moving. Packing in can be addicting and fun. Good luck!
Yeah I kind of have an Idea of what I'm going to take. My steak is a must for the first night. I do a lot of canoe trips so I know what food to take and not need a cooler. I usually bring basic things like soups and pastas. mainly stuff that you only need to add water to. I have used a small pot to make homemade bread or biscuits in. Basically turn it into an oven on a fire pit. My plan is to make basecamp about 500 yards in from where I enter the woods. I dehydrate a lot of things on my own to take camping so I always have hamburger meat or gravel as it's referred to. PBJ is a must for lunch. I can get pretty creative with the meals. My wife calls me the mountain man chef. She never enjoyed camping unless it was glamping in a rv. So I got her to do a weekend canoe trip down the river with me and she was hooked . Only because I was still able to provide creature comforts that she was use to.
 

Schemeecho

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Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
313
Location
Gaston, SC.
I've taken my hammock down to the mid 20's so I'm not sleeping on the ground anytime soon. My NF in N. FL. is cut up with logging roads your not going far across country without hitting a tram road. If I want to camp in the interior somewhere im using my 4 wheeler, duel sport, or gheenoe. so I'm not carrying camp on my back very far. We can only disperse camp untill Gun season then we have to be in an designated hunt camp
We cant take any motorized vehicles on any wildlife management area here and only some parts of the national forest allow it. I dont mind the Carrying my gear on my back because I will be in a section of the forest thats only about 2900 acres or 11 Square miles. Ill only be about 500 yards or so from where I park on the side of the road for my base camp. I could go in deeper but that puts me close to the areas that i plan on hunting. I figure it's best if camp is about at least a mile away from where i will be hunting.
 

Schemeecho

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Dec 12, 2020
Messages
313
Location
Gaston, SC.
well it looks like my hunting trip is over before it even begins. I contacted SCDNR today and asked if it was legal To quarter your deer in the woods at camp when you are backwoods camping, The dnr agent said that the head and Tag must remain while in transit from point of kill until you reach your home or to a processor. I kept trying to explain that I'll be on a 4 day hunting trip. The answer was the same , no you cannot quarter your deer in the woods or camp site. So yeah that sucks. If I end up getting a deer the morning after I get there then I have to drive all the way home just to quarter my deer, then drive all the way back to finish my hunt.
 

Nutterbuster

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Oct 12, 2017
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Where the skys are so blue!
well it looks like my hunting trip is over before it even begins. I contacted SCDNR today and asked if it was legal To quarter your deer in the woods at camp when you are backwoods camping, The dnr agent said that the head and Tag must remain while in transit from point of kill until you reach your home or to a processor. I kept trying to explain that I'll be on a 4 day hunting trip. The answer was the same , no you cannot quarter your deer in the woods or camp site. So yeah that sucks. If I end up getting a deer the morning after I get there then I have to drive all the way home just to quarter my deer, then drive all the way back to finish my hunt.
Why not still plan on going? I've gone on plenty of "3 day" hunts that ended in a day or two because I shot a deer and figured "mission accomplished."
 

Schemeecho

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Dec 12, 2020
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313
Location
Gaston, SC.
Why not still plan on going? I've gone on plenty of "3 day" hunts that ended in a day or two because I shot a deer and figured "mission accomplished."
Oh I'm still planning on going on the off chance That I just dont see anything of what ever reason I dont get anything. I mean worse case if I do get something on the first day of hunting I'll just take it home since it's only an hour away from my house, I can always quarter it then go back
 

98XJRC

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Sep 30, 2021
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SC PA
I believe many states require the tag to remain intact and provide proof of sex. Horns do not provide proof of sex in many states from what I've seen/read. What I'm getting at is why not still quarter while in the field and skin it onsite. It means packing the hide with head attached out, but all other meat would be removed from the animal.

I've been blessed in the past that the amount of dragging I needed to do was 30 yards to the field where I could then pull my vehicle up to. This year I had to switch to public land and will not have that luxury. I plan to quarter, remove the hide, and pack both the meat and hide out as I have no desire to drag one out from even a half mile back in.
 

rambotogo

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Oct 24, 2017
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I live in SC also and understand the law on leaving the deer intact. But the law says to tag the deer before it is moved and the tag must. remain with the deer until it is delivered to the the processer or quartered?
Below that reg it says it is illegal to move a deer from the point of kill and transport with the head detached.
 

rambotogo

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Oct 24, 2017
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I guess to be half way legal. I could tag the deer ,bone out the meat . Pack out the meat then pack out skeleton with the head attached?
 

Jwiggins762

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Jun 13, 2019
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1hr drive ain't bad when you just got a deer. Find a processor close by they usually will do it for $30, I think. Been awhile since I went to a processor.
 

boyne bowhunter

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1hr drive ain't bad when you just got a deer. Find a processor close by they usually will do it for $30, I think. Been awhile since I went to a processor.
:tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:

For the record I almost always process my own. About 5 years back I shot one on the morning of Nov. 14th and our rifle deer season starts on the 15th. On top of that it was unseasonably warm. There was no way I was going to be able to process that deer and still get ready for the opener and make it to camp. I was stuck with having to take it to the processor. As I recall the bill was right around $75.
 

Hossmiller

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:tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:

For the record I almost always process my own. About 5 years back I shot one on the morning of Nov. 14th and our rifle deer season starts on the 15th. On top of that it was unseasonably warm. There was no way I was going to be able to process that deer and still get ready for the opener and make it to camp. I was stuck with having to take it to the processor. As I recall the bill was right around $75.
This is why I process my own now too. Around here it’s up to $90 to get one processed.
 

Jwiggins762

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:tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy::tearsofjoy:

For the record I almost always process my own. About 5 years back I shot one on the morning of Nov. 14th and our rifle deer season starts on the 15th. On top of that it was unseasonably warm. There was no way I was going to be able to process that deer and still get ready for the opener and make it to camp. I was stuck with having to take it to the processor. As I recall the bill was right around $75.
Just for them to skin it and clean it? Not process the meat.
 

Jwiggins762

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No that was processing. I must have misunderstood. Skinning is a 15 minute task though, especially if the deer is freshly killed. I can't imagine paying someone just to do that.
I agree, but in his situation he can drive an hour home to clean it or take it to a processor.
 

Homebrew454

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Oct 17, 2017
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Wisconsin
I know a lot of people use Jet sleds or carts to haul their deer out. That is an option if your unable to lawfully quarter your deer.

On a side note, here in Wisconsin we are allowed to "quarter" a deer but have to bring it out in 5 pieces with head and neck still attached to chest. We also can't leave bones in the woods. Imagine it is to curtail the spread of cwd but pretty certain it would be in the gut pile as well. I do like that we no longer have to place a tag on it as that is all electronic now.

I would also recommend a nice frame pack for hiking. It just makes carrying that weight seem lighter.


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