I'm with KYdeer88. First off, you have to understand my situation. I'm up on a ridge top. If the deer runs to the bottom of a ravine, I'll gut in place before trying to get it back up the hill. Otherwise, I can probably get to it with the truck.
Better than 80% of our deer fall on top of the ridge. We call back to the cabin. Somebody drives out with the truck. The truck has a hitch-haul. Usually we just toss it on there and drive back to the cabin. Assuming I make the call right after the shot, the truck is there within 15 minutes or so.
Once out of the woods, we pull up under the meat pole, hook up the deer to a block and tackle, hook up the rope to the back of the truck and the deer lifts up as the truck pulls away. The deer is elevated head first. A wash tub is brought underneath, a few minutes everything falls into the tub and the deer is lowered back down onto the bed of the truck. Off we go to the processor.
If deer is taken in the evening after the processor closes we have the option of hoisting the deer into a large chest freezer. We do that if the weather isn't cold enough to leave the deer outside.
Skinning is usually done by the processor. It protects the meat, especially if the processor is getting stacked up. About 1 in 5 get skinned by us.
If the deer is either big or its fallen in a place inaccessible to the truck, we call for the truck to come to the nearest intercept. On the truck is all the stuff we need to process the deer in place-- block and tackle, knives, saws, bags, etc. We also have a game cart, although we've found this to be more of a hassle than not. I have to tell you that getting the deer elevated is worth the wait and the extra effort.
2008 was the first time in a long while I took a deer with nobody at the farm but myself. It was a nice sized buck, and I had a shot at getting the deer to the processor before he closed. I was losing light. The buck had conveniently turned up hill to check his back trail just before dying. Out came the knife. After gutting, I walked back to the house, got the truck and got to within 30 yards of the carcass.
PLAN A vs B : If I have the means to get a deer back quickly to the house, I prefer it. The meat stays cleaner. I have all the tools. I've got lights. The only heavy lifting is rolling the beast onto the hitch haul. The rest is all down with a block and tackle. For scent control, you can't beat it. All the messy stuff gets done after I've had a chance to change out of my hunting duds. I have an old rainsuit and boots that I usually get into before doing the dirty work. The big point here is speed. I can sometimes be at the processor within 90 minutes of taking the shot. On the Opener, that's key. The processor may be filled up before Noon.
PLAN B: Elevating the deer head first really improves two things: speed and ergonomics. The block and tackle are there pretty quick. I get a chance to collect my gear and get it to the intercept with the truck, and that's about it. The deer goes up a tree, 10 minutes later everything is out. It's all done standing up or kneeling, and gravity works with you to get done.
PLAN C: I hadn't just gutted in place with nothing but a knife since 1992. The 2008 buck made me remember why all the elaborate plans. I came out of the woods looking like Sweeney Todd. I had leaves inside the carcass. My back was killing me. Sure, it was fun trying to gut under a full moon, but I missed my worklights. I bagged the beast at 4:30 in the afternoon. I missed the processor closing by 15 minutes at 7 PM, and had to schlep the big boy back to the house and hoist him into the freezer.
One last thing: I split the pelvis whenever I can. I've got a cheap flush saw I got from Harbor Freight. It cuts pelvis like butter. I've done it with a pruning saw. I've done it with a hand ax. I find that it's easier to get the rectum, etc. out. I also find that splitting the pelvis allows you to open up the carcass more and aids in cooling. I also run the saw up through the middle of the rib cage. It makes it easier to get my big hands up into the chest cavity. I usually aim for the boiler room, so there isn't much good rib meat left to begin with.