The All About Moose Meat-Hooks

Every year at moose camp we hang a moose carcass. The meat-hooks that have been used in the past have varied in style and component. Our most rudimentary meat hook or gambrel was to use a 4 inch diameter log and secure this to the hocks of the moose before hoisting.

The downfall of using a log was twofold.

  1. Sometimes solid logs were in short supply.
  2. Even when we found a log of suitable diameter, the strength of the log was always suspect.

Both my partner and I are machinists and rather than buy a gambrel we thought we should make one instead.

Moose on meat-hook

The All About Moose Meat Hook Gambrel

Problems with Design

On at least one occasion while hoisting moose using a log, the log has broken or the load was not balanced as close as it could have been and the moose has fallen to the ground. I can guarantee that when a moose falls to the ground while skinning, it will not happen until the moose has had most of its hide removed and is very clean. Then it will fall onto the dirtiest spot under your tree. I am sure Murphy’s Law has something to do with this...

Having had to clean up a few of these fallen moose we decided that we needed a metal gambrel. Our first attempt at building our own meat-hooks resulted in success. Two inch by two inch square tubing about 3 feet long. A loop welded to the top at the center to attach the hoisting rope and hooks dangling from either end to hang the moose from.

Weight... I don’t remember how heavy it was but I do know it was heavy and its overall height was too much. Because of its height we had to put our cross bar that much higher in the trees. Thank goodness we have for years already brought an extension ladder along with us.

Another design fault of our first one was it had the hooks oriented incorrectly so they were difficult to insert into the moose legs. We rectified that before the next season. The hooks need to be inline with the spreader bar.

We also decided it needed to swivel for ease of skinning and cleaning. Another slight modification and the whole meat-hook would swivel. The very first time a moose was hoisted ol Murphy came calling and the nuts on the swivel came off and the whole works fell, narrowly missing my son with the extraordinarily heavy bar we made the gambrel from and the moose that was attched. With disaster narrowly averted we needed a new design for this year.

The New Meat-Hooks Design

We are pretty sure we have a winner for this season. Manufactured from aluminum 6061 plate we have kept the weight down and engineered the strength in. This new meat-hook is rated to safely lift 1500 pounds, there should be no problem to lift any sized moose we’ll ever harvest.

Link to PDF Drawing of Spreader Bar Meat-Hooks

PDF file.

If you do not have Adobe Reader you will need to install it first, it is a free download and you will find it here.

Links to YouTube – Machining of the Meat-Hook Spreader bar

Part One Machinining the outside profile.

Part Two Machining the lightening holes.

All About Moose Logo Engraving

The first CNC operation was to engrave the meat-hook bar with the All About Moose Logo. The clamps were then transferred to cut the outer profile.

meat-hook set-up

This is the setup on the CNC machine before the profile machining of the meat-hook had begun.

meat-hook machining

meat-hook hole drilling

Meat hook spreader bar after the first end was machined.

second end of the meat-hook

Meat hook spreader bar after the both ends were machined.

There is always room for improvement and no doubt after we use this meat-hook bar a few years we will have suggestions for future modifications... like all our moose hunting supplies at moose camp... it is a matter of evolution. New... bigger, better, faster and more...

Our gambrel meat-hook was designed by a student engineer so therefore our disclaimer is “user beware”... oh wait – that has always been our disclaimer for our meat hooks.

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