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What Is a Game Hoist?

By Cindy Quarters
Updated May 23, 2024
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When hunting, it is important to field dress any animals harvested as quickly as possible in order to preserve the meat. For very large animals, especially if the hunter is working alone, a game hoist can assist in the process by lifting and holding the animals so that the carcass can be dealt with. The game hoist also keeps the meat out of the dirt and holds it while it is wrapped in cloth, keeping insects away while allowing it to cool. There are several types to choose from including a gambrel, a truck mounted hoist, and a self-contained game hoist.

The simplest, most economical type of game hoist is a rope or strap connected to a bar with hooked ends, known as a gambrel. The hooks are typically put between the tendons in the rear legs, holding the animal securely and spreading the legs apart for easy removal of the intestines. Such systems also include one or two pulleys, making it much easier for one hunter to use the game hoist to lift an animal when working alone. This type of game hoist is usually hung from a sturdy tree limb as close as possible to where the animal was killed.

Hunters who kill an animal in an area without trees have to find another way to support the weight of the animal. For those who hunt in areas with adequate access for vehicles, a game hoist that mounts on a truck works well. These hoists normally either mount to a trailer hitch on the back of a truck or attach directly to the sides of the truck bed. Both of these kinds of game hoists are made to be sturdy when in use, but removable when they are not needed. A winch powered by the truck’s motor often does the actually lifting with a truck-mounted hoist.

A third option for hunters is a completely self-contained game hoist. A trio of lightweight poles is an essential part of this system, and these can easily be set up to form a large tripod, normally strong enough to support 500 pounds (about 227 kilograms) or more. The hoist itself hangs from the junction of the three poles and has pulleys that make lifting the weight of a large animal easier to manage. As with the other manual game hoists, this type of system is set up so that a single hunter can hook his kill to a gambrel, then pull on the rope or strap to raise the animal. The pulley system makes the weight of even a very large animal manageable for a single person, allowing the hunter to process the animal easily and cleanly.

Sports n' Hobbies is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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