If you’re planning a hunting trip, the ultimate goal is to bag your quarry and bring it home to enjoy. Whether that means a stop at the butcher to break down a deer carcass or a trip to the taxidermist, at some point, you will be hauling home one or more dead animals in your car.
This isn’t as much of an issue if you drive a truck, but it can get messy for those of us who prefer the sedan or SUV variety. If you manage to bag your quarry, what can you do to protect your car’s interior on the way home?
If you’re out hunting, the potential of blood and offal from a deer carcass isn’t the only thing that could mess up your car’s interior. All it takes is missing one splash of blood on your hunting gear or a pair of muddy boots to create a mess that will be expensive and time-consuming to clean up.
Scotchgard or other waterproofing products make your upholstery hydrophobic so water and other liquids can’t sink into the padding beneath. It can also be a lifesaver if you have young kids prone to spilling their drinks in the back seat.
An oldie but a goodie. Keep a few tarps stashed in with your hunting gear. Ensure they’re free of holes and that whatever you’re covering is wholly enshrouded in plastic. It sounds simple, but if you’re not 100% sure of your wrap job, you could end up with a leaky deer in your back seat and no one wants to smell that after a few days in the sun.
A thick tarp can also help you protect the exterior of your vehicle, so you don’t have to worry about stray horns or hooves scratching up the paint.
If you don’t already have seat covers in your car, now is the perfect time to make that investment. These aren’t just useful for protecting your interior during hunting trips. A good set of seat covers will protect your upholstery from everyday wear and tear and harsh UV rays that could bleach the fabric and damage leather or vinyl.
As a bonus, you can use seat covers to put your stamp on the car, giving the interior a bit of character that marks it as uniquely yours. Find a pattern you like, rep your favorite sports team or opt for classic camo — the choice is yours.
If you’ve got some extra coins to spend during your hunt prep, consider investing in some game bags. These are the perfect way to transport your quarry from the field to the butcher or the freezer if you’re butchering the beast yourself.
Make sure you’re purchasing game bags for the correct animal — a bag for a rabbit or pheasant isn’t going to help much if you’re hunting deer or elk. It is important to note that these bags come in standard sizes, so if you find a target that is significantly larger than the average, you’ll have to find a different way to haul them home without making a mess.
Cargo Racks and Storage
If you can install a cargo storage container on your luggage rack, this might be the best option for getting your quarry home. There are a few caveats to this option that you need to consider. First, ensure that your car can support a lot of extra weight on the roof. These installations are more manageable if you already have a luggage rack to work with.
Second, consider the weather. You’re not going to want to haul a deer home in a black plastic container if it’s 100 degrees out. If you’re concerned with protecting your car’s interior, installing a cargo container is worth the expense.
Keep it Clean
There’s no way to avoid it — hunting is a messy business. Thankfully, that doesn’t mean that you’re condemned to drive a car or truck that reeks of deer offal or rotting hog blood. Inexpensive and straightforward steps, like installing seat covers or treating your upholstery with Scotchguard, can go a long way toward protecting the interior of your daily driver.