Cumberland Times-News

Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors

November 9, 2013

Shooty’s Gutting, Dragging Service

Our youngest son, Ryan, is quite the entrepreneur. While he is working on one project, he is thinking about the next one.

But first I have to tell you how he got his nickname.

Ryan and I, along with our good friend Brent Nelson, were hunting during the buck season in Lewis County, W.Va. It was one of those years around the turn of the century.

The weather turned cold and Ryan discovered that the headgear he had brought would not turn away the day’s temperatures. It was an hour until daylight. I told him to reach into a bag I had brought, that there should be a hat or two there.

He did and off the three of us went toward separate hunting spots.

When we gathered at the vehicle in early afternoon I realized that Ryan had grabbed a somewhat lengthy, brown and white stocking cap with a tassel ball at its end. The weight of the ball, of course, caused the hat to flop over and lean  toward his shoulder.

As he approached, I said, “You look like Snow White’s eighth dwarf, Shooty.” I wish I had a photo, but I don’t.

The three of us went into guffaw mode, with Brent enjoying it the most, it seemed. In any event, the name stuck, at least among our trio.

So, Shooty, his brain always in idea mode, had this thought. Why not start Shooty’s Gutting & Dragging Service for hunters who don’t want to field dress a deer or remove it from the woods.

I know there have been times when I would have paid for that kind of help.

“I actually had the idea before cell phones were common,” Shooty said. “Now that smart phones and GPS units are available, it should improve efficiency.”

Shooty said that map applications on smart phones allow the user to “drop a pin” on their current location so that his staff at Shooty’s Gutting & Dragging Service would immediately have longitude and latitude coordinates of the downed deer.

Shooty envisions having all-terrain vehicles and physically fit employees who could reach the deer as quickly as possible.

“One possibility is that the hunter could pre-arrange trespass permission for us with the landowner so we wouldn’t be slowed down. On public lands, it would be all footwork.

“Who knows, we could offer meat processing as well if the gutting and dragging is a successful business. Either that or we could arrange for existing meat processors to be a part of the deal.”

Shooty is doing some thinking about a logo for his vehicles and future website. Maybe a hunter wearing a dwarf hat.

“Or how about this,” Shooty says. “A photo of jerky, steaks and burger but with antlers on it. After all, that’s what the deer becomes.”

Shooty thinks his potential gutting and dragging services might very well be purchased by an aging hunter’s adult children who know their father is fit enough to hunt, but don’t want him pulling 100 pounds of dead meat through the forest.

“Maybe outdoor clubs might want to purchase a package plan for their members or provide volunteer gutters and draggers to reduce the cost.”

Shooty said his employees could customize the gutting and dragging, taking special precautions with a trophy animal the hunter intends to take to the taxidermist. Perhaps some sort of industrial strength bubble wrap to protect outsized antlers from damage. Don’t expect professional gutting and dragging services this deer season. The research and development team at Shooty’s is still think-tanking.

“We’ll be up and gutting as soon as possible,” Shooty said.

“Where,” I asked Shooty, “did you come up with the idea for this new business?”

“From dragging all your deer out of the woods,” he answered.

Contact Outdoor Editor Mike Sawyers at


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Michael A Sawyers - Outdoors
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