Game hoists are useful for quickly field dressing large animals while hunting. There are three types: gambrel, truck-mounted, and self-contained. Gambrels are the simplest and cheapest, while truck-mounted hoists work well in areas with vehicle access. Self-contained hoists are portable and can support up to 500 pounds. All types make it easier for a single hunter to lift and restrain the animal for processing.
When hunting, it is important to field dress harvested animals as quickly as possible to preserve the meat. For very large animals, especially if the hunter is working alone, a game hoist can aid in the process by lifting and restraining the animals so that the carcass can be dealt with. The venison winch also keeps the meat out of dirt and holds it while wrapped in cloth, keeping bugs out and allowing it to cool. There are several types to choose from, including a gambrel, truck-mounted winch, and self-contained play winch.
The simplest and cheapest type of game tackle is a rope or strap attached to a bar with hooked ends, known as a gambrel. The hooks are typically placed between the tendons of the hind legs, holding the animal tightly and spreading the legs apart for easy removal of the intestines. Such systems also include one or two pulleys, making it much easier for a hunter to use the tackle to lift an animal when he is working alone. This type of 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 a treeless area must find another way to support the animal’s weight. For those who hunt in areas with adequate vehicle access, a game hoist that mounts to a truck works well. These hoists typically mount to a hitch on the back of a truck or attach directly to the sides of the truck bed. Both of these types of play lifters are made to be sturdy when in use, yet removable when not needed. A winch powered by the truck’s engine often does the actual lifting with a truck-mounted hoist.
A third option for hunters is a fully self-contained game tackle. A trio of lightweight poles are 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 posts and is fitted with pulleys which make it easier to lift the weight of a large animal. As with other manual game hoists, this type of system is set up so that a single hunter can hook his quarry to a gambrel, then pull on the rope or strap to lift the animal. The pulley system makes the weight of even a very large animal manageable for one person, allowing the hunter to process the animal easily and cleanly.