You may have seen a lot of products from a company called HME, but not realized what that stood for. Well, Hunting Made Easy which is owned by GSM Outdoors has been making innovative and useful hunting products for years. There are a number of new products they rolled out for 2017, but the new HME Hitch Hoist with gambrel and winch has a 400 pound capacity and rotates 360 degrees to make getting a deer in the back of a truck so much easier. Let’s take a look at the setup and usability.
This product is a heavy duty steel game hoist designed to assist lifting game into the back of a truck or UTV. It also serves as a great stationary hoist and gambrel to skin and quarter game as well. The 360 degree swiveling assembly makes swinging the hoist with game hanging on it very simple with the removal of a single pin. The hoist needs about 11 inches of ground clearance from the bottom of the hitch receiver to work. The adjustable ground base provides needed stability to keep the vehicle balanced. This is a feature that other models don’t have. If your ground clearance is high enough with your truck or SUV, it could be left in the receiver while driving as long as all the pins are in.
HME Hitch Hoist Set Up
This HME Hitch Hoist has a 400 pound capacity and is one serious piece of equipment. The assembled hoist weighs 45 pounds but comes apart easily into 3 pieces making transport a lot easier. The gambrel itself is very heavy duty and attaches to the hand crank winch cable with a simple clip. I recommend following the directions during set up because of the dangers of NOT installing the wire rope properly. If not installed properly, it could cause a dangerous situation.
It is pretty self explanatory where the pieces go together, but essentially there is one main piece where the HME Hitch Hoist fits into a 2 inch receiver and then 2 pieces that connect together to form the vertical portion of the hoist. One nice feature that sets this HME Hitch Hoist apart from others on the market is, as mentioned before, that it does have an adjustable base that relieves pressure from your vehicle suspension and creates a more stable base ( as seen below with the bottom arrow).
Bolting on and assembling the winch properly with the wire rope takes a few minutes to ensure the wire rope is secured properly. The instructions explain how to do this as well. This is one area that needs to be done properly to avoid the dangers of the wire rope coming loose.
Once the hoist’s wire rope is secured, the rope can be guided through while cranking the handle. We found that it was best to have someone stand on the other end of the cable to provide resistance to make sure it was wound tightly. *IMPORTANT- Make sure to thread the wire through the pulley before securing the wire rope to the pulley. It is very similar to winding fishing line onto a reel without first sending the line down the eyelets. Truth be told, we made that mistake, so learn from ours. We got to wind it twice!
General Use Overview
One group of people who will really love this product are people who hunt alone and would like help getting game animals in and out of the bed of their trucks. The second group of people who will like this product are people who need a mobile place to clean and butcher large game. If you hunt in the early season when it’s still hot and need to skin and quarter on the fly, this product can help you out. If you are someone who lives in a more urban area and needs a place to butcher deer and don’t have a garage, here you go. But keep in mind, it’s probably best to not butcher in view of the street (a lesson learned from experience).
Here are the specs on the HME Hitch Hoist
- 360 degree swiveling shaft with locking pin system
- 400 lb capacity
- Adjustable support foot for stability
- Gambrel included for skinning or cleaning game
- Minimum Height: 74″” Maximum Height: 102″”
- Finish: black powder coating
- Swivel Prevention Hook
Most of the hoists on the market now have the 360 degree swivel which makes things really nice. Again, this enables the hoist pole to rotate. Most tailgates will be able to open with the HME Hitch Hoist installed. The winch itself however is installed on the backside facing the vehicle side, so when opening the tailgate, it would make sense to rotate the HME Hitch hoist out of the way to not ding your tailgate.
I found the hoist fairly simple to set up and even easier to use. The best part of the device in my opinion are the gambrel guides that lock the gambrel when the deer is all the way up. It prevents the gambrel from swinging like it normally does on a typically hanging gambrel set up. This allowed me to move the deer into position and not worry about it swinging out of reach. Also, when butchering at night, it makes it easier to rotate to where the light is.
Overall, the HME Hitch Hoist has some really nice benefits to help outdoorsmen transport and clean their kills efficiently. Easily fitting into the bed of a truck, this handy tool could be a lifesaver if hunting by yourself. Not to mention the great portable cleaning station it provides at home or at deer camp. The product retails for $149.99 from GSM and various retailers. This hoist has a higher weight rating of 400 pounds compared to a lot of others on the market in the 300 range. Just another feature to consider when making a buying decision. If you struggle to get your game in the bed of your truck, or just don’t feel like man-handling it anymore, save your back, get a hitch hoist.