Let a Hitch Hoist do the heavy lifting on your deer

Use a hitch hoist to load a deer to your ATV, your truck, or to create an ad hoc butchering station.
Use a hitch hoist to load a deer to your ATV, your truck, or to create an ad hoc butchering station.
A hitch hoist is the one hunting partner that will still give you a hand when everyone else has to “get home to the wife, or else” on those Sunday afternoon hunts.

The first deer I ever killed was an incredible learning experience. I was hunting with my father-in-law, who hadn’t hunted since he was a kid. Neither of us had any real experience gutting a deer. I read everything I could find on how to field dress a deer. I managed well enough, but where I really got stuck was after the field dressing: “umm, how we gonna hang this thing?”.

None of my reading material or online research ever mentioned that. Of course I had rope, and some nice trees with good size and height. The first time we tried hoisting him over a branch, we were taught about the effects of friction between a branch and rope. “Snap”. The second try we managed to get him up, with one of us pushing/lifting the buck while the other pulled on the rope.

We had hoisted him up by his back legs, because that’s how I’d always seen pictures of deer hanging. I then found a stick of appropriate size to get his legs spread, because I knew I had to get the body cavity open to get him cooled. We then learned about the pressure created between two points on a line, and the tremendous amount of force needed to separate them once once 130 lbs of pressure is applied to said line. Three sticks later, we were in business.

Kids, if you want a lesson in physics, go to deer camp.

Ironically, I had taken many a physics class in high school and college. I was aware of these amazing simple machines known as levers and pulleys that can multiply forces. Unfortunately I didn’t think about how much they could help me until after I needed them.

I immediately bought a pulley/gambrel hoist upon returning home. Wow, does that make life easier. I’ve also since purchased an ATV. Yeah, I won’t go into the “Deer Drag Lesson”.

Hey buddy, you OK?
Hey buddy, you OK?

While the gambrel/pulley worked great, I started seeing these hitch mounted hoists. I was intrigued, so I started researching them and reading reviews. Some were too wimpy. Some were just too damn expensive. I settled on a middle of the road Foreverlast Hitch Hoist, purchased it through Amazon, and hoped for the best.

To date I’ve used this hoist on four deer. It fits in a 2″ receiver, and I’ve used it on both my truck and my UTV. This thing is solid and HEAVY DUTY. As a bonus, you can remove a pin and it will swivel to help load a deer into your vehicle. No, your tailgate won’t open with it on, unless you also have a hitch extender.

Now, for the cost, while not exorbitant, it is one of those purchases you wouldn’t go and get as a new hunter. But if you are a hunter who has all the gear you need, or if you are buying a gift for a hunter who has everything, I would recommend this hoist.

I’ve used it as an aid in field dressing. I’ve used it to help me load a deer into my UTV. I’ve used it to just move a deer around camp. I’ve used it to age a deer. And best of all, I use it to quarter and butcher my deer. As you can see from the picture, it doesn’t get the deer far off the ground. My truck will be a little higher naturally, but the Kubota is actually a perfect height for quartering. My preference is to hang from the head while skinning and quartering. Notice I use a rope as well, could get a little higher without that. The Kubota puts the deer where the rear legs just touch the ground, which actually helps the process: this keeps the deer from spinning/moving as much while I skin it.

And if it starts to rain, I can get the whole thing under a pop-up canopy and continue to work.

If you hunt alone, or if you just want to reduce the heavy lifting in deer hunting, this is a great hoist. You can get it here at Amazon:

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