Deer Scales, Hoists and Gambrels

Using deer scales to weigh the deer that you harvest is a vital part of a deer management plan. Changes in bodyweights can give a deer manager a good indication of the health of the deer herd in relation to previous years.

I have also noticed that deer do not weigh as much as we think they do. Often when we shoot one we will try to guess its weighs before we actually weigh it. Most of the time we think that the deer is heavier than it is, even though after recording the deer weights now for eight years we are getting much closer with our estimates. This leads me to doubt any weight that other hunters report if they haven’t actually weighed the deer.

Once you have the deer scales the next obstacle is how do you get the deer up to the scales? For years we used an old pulley and rope. This worked OK but did give us some difficulty, especially if you were alone and when you needed to leave the deer hanging for a while. Hanging more than one deer was another challenge. Last year I bought a game hoist. It is a two pulley system, which reduces the force needed to raise a weight, and a locking mechanism so that a deer can be left hanging. My son and I easily operate the hoist without a hitch. I would recommend the more heavy duty hoist since the cheaper one can be a little frustrating to operate.

We also purchased two gambrels, one of which came with the hoist, that go through the legs of the deer and can easily be attached to the hoist or the deer scales. Four heavy hooks screwed into a beam provide four places to hang deer.

This whole system has simplified our deer weighing and hanging process. It can be operated by one person if necessary but is very easily done with two.

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