For years, I have had a tow ball mounted deer hoist, made by a friend of mine which I used for fallow. It was going great until I bent the main section on a large fallow. Before I had a chance to replace it, I got into a stag herd while out on my red ground and shot two large stags and a spiker, the result literally being blood, sweat and tears to get them loaded in the pickup – by hand. Arriving home in the early hours of the morning I vowed to invest in some proper kit!

Having looked around, there are very few manufacturers out there making deer hoists, let alone something for very large reds and what interested me with the Donnington hoist was the ability to swivel it into the truck. 

Two weeks later it arrived, and I was mightily impressed that the modular sections were so small. Setup onto my truck took 47 seconds and it lifted my child with ease! Measuring 8’ 6” from below the hook to the ground, I was really keen to try it out on some deer!

Deer hoistI am more than happy to gralloch on the ground, but if I can get a truck to the deer, I savoured the chance to do a suspended gralloch. The first deer I tried was a fallow, and it was a joy to use. The feet were adjustable to make it stable on the uneven ground. What impressed me was the section that fits on to the tow ball has a projection underneath it that makes it rest against the base of the tow ball meaning it is kept horizontal even before the legs are fitted. As this part is made to fit your truck, it does mean if you change trucks it would need modifying if the tow ball alters. The top section fits over the bottom section with a round piece, giving a really nice smooth swivel action.

There is a bolt that is screwed in to stop it swivelling while you work on the deer. With the fallow I certainly did not make use of its huge height, but I was certainly now looking forward to using it on a red deer!

Down to my red ground and I shot two deer on the first evening. One was a fairly young stag and I was able to get the truck to it. This was a great test and other than cutting his legs off, the hoist made light work of him. I hoisted him entire, later noting the larder weight at 110kg, and it lofted with ease. The full 8’ 6” height was utilised and as you can see in the picture, it lifted him just clean of the ground! 

The next test was to see if I could swivel him into the tray without tipping the whole thing! I learnt quickly to swivel it ‘uphill’ to avoid it tipping, and with just a slight lift to get his back end in to the truck I slowly lowered him in. The three other hinds I took on the trip were easy in comparison to the stag, and I was certainly pleased with this new setup. 

RRP: £325