Homemade Deer Cart

Email: sixmhz@yahoo.com
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About my deer cart

Actually I was going to buy one but after reading all the bad reviews for the commercially available carts I just gave up and decided to make my own. I read a lot of reviews and the main complaints were:

-Wheel problems (not round, stinky, broken, cheap, small)
-Assembly (self-disassembly actually) problems. The commercial carts mostly have 'no-tool' assembly. Well that's fine and all cept if you don't need a tool to assemble it, the woods don't need a tool to shake it apart either.
-Cheap-ass components from thin walled steel tubing to nylon 'beds' that disintegrate after exposure to the sun

The commercial carts range in cost from $80 to $150 for the models I found at cabellas and gander mountain. The final bill on my cart was about $125 broken up into:

-Steel: $50 [from local supplier]
-Wheels: $65 with shipping [surplus center]
-Paint and fasteners: $10 [local supplier]
-Crapton of my time: No $ cost to me


I'm starting with wheels because that's where I started since it's the hardest part to decide on and everything else is built around them. I knew I didn't want anything with a plastic hub. I knew I didn't want anything with spokes either. So then the challenge is finding something that meets these criteria, is large enough in diameter, and has a single axle hub. The best I could find was some 15" OD 6" wide wheel assemblies at surplus center. A bit larger in diameter would be nice, not quite so wide would be nice, but that's the best I could do. I paid about $65 for the pair including shipping. They have a 7/8" smooth bore (no bearings) and a 400 lb capacity each. After receiving the wheels I see that they have an offset hub that sticks out more than 2" from the wheel. I wanted to get the smallest footprint possible for the cart so I whacked off the hub extension to be flush with the rim using a slitting saw on my milling machine.

Steel Frame

The frame is made of 1" square steel tubing. The frame can be folded up and is locked in the unfolded state by 8x 3/8" diameter bolts. In order for this cart to collapse, at least 6 of these 8 bolts must be sheared. I saw a commercially available cart that would fold if a single 1/4" bolt failed-nice! I used 14 gauge steel tubing for this project. You could go to 16 gauge and it would still hold up fine. I wouldn't go thicker than the 14 gauge though. I spent about $50 on the steel for this project (tubing, 1/4" plate and 1-1/4" axles).


All fasteners are conventional hex head bolts and I use nylon insert lock-nuts on everything. Yes you need tools to put it together. But this also means it will not come apart without tools either.


I used 1-1/4" steel rod to fabricate the two axles for the cart. You could also just buy a large bolt and use that, but I wanted some practice wrecking the gears on my lathe.

Final Notes

Well I think the cart came out pretty well and looks very nice. It weighed in at 63 lbs; definately not a light duty cart! Haven't had the opportunity yet to haul anything out of the woods with it yet but it does move people around pretty well. Misc Construction Pictures

Link to the initial design of the deer cart.

Created: 01/15/13 Last updated: 01/15/13
Copyright 2013, Greg Miller