LITTLE ROCK – A deer hunter typically focuses thoughts and preparation for getting that big buck or nice doe. And typically, little preparation is made for what to do after the deer is on the ground and dead.

Getting the carcass from the woods or field back to camp or home is necessary. If you’ve never gone through this experience, you need to understand some of the essentials, according to experienced deer hunters with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Take a deep breath or several deep breaths. Then tag the deer. Right there. Before you move it at all, tag it as required by regulations. Take the tag from your license or from the page in the back of the AGFC’s Hunting Guidebook if you are under 16 or over 65 and not required to have an annual license. Fill out the tag, cut a slit in the deer’s ear and attach the tag. Or tie it to an antler if you’ve got a buck. This means you need to have a ball point pen with you.

Then you can haul it to camp or home or anywhere else. Once that is done, checking it is required in the reporting process. If you so choose, you can make the report from right where the deer is.

You may check the deer online at or through the agency’s smartphone apps available in Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. The number to call is 866-305-0808. You have 24 hours to do this after bagging the deer.

If you are able to get your pickup or four-wheeler to the deer, that is good. It’s a struggle to load a deer by yourself unless you are a serious weight lifter or a tackle on the football team. Hopefully a buddy will be nearby to help.

If you can’t drive a vehicle to the deer, then the task is getting the deer to a vehicle. This means dragging it. Forget trying to carry it, even with two people. Dragging is the way to go unless you have a deer buggy of some sort available. Yes, a wheelbarrow qualifies.

If your deer is a doe, turn it on its back, step between the two hind legs, grab one with each hand and walk. If it is a buck, use the antlers for a handle and drag if from the front. Your belt or a piece of rope you’ve brought along becomes most handy here.

Dragging a deer is work on level ground and hard work on hilly ground on in an area of thick bushes and vines. Take your time. Stop to rest when necessary.

A workable procedure for deer dragging is with a rope long enough to tie each end to the deer and allow you to step into the middle of the loop. Get the rope under your arms and high on your chest. Let your body do most of the work, not just your arms.

Yes, getting the deer out of the woods and to a point for processing it is essential. Overtaxing yourself physically in the chore is not at all wise.