October 24, 2014
Every deer hunter strives to be successful, but many times that success leads to arduous, back-breaking animal recoveries, challenging cleaning and skinning efforts, and messy, laborious loading and transporting work.
Worse yet, because of the heavy lifting potentially involved, some hunters are hesitant to go afield without a partner to assist in the work. It's hard enough just to find hunting time, let alone matching two peoples' calendars. Enter Viking Solutions, who have a complete arsenal of nifty back-saving tools for all your after the shot and big buck recovery needs.
If you've ever spent time in a Summit treestand, you know the people behind Viking Solutions, a family of pioneering engineers with aeronautics backgrounds whose patriarch, John Woller Sr., even spent time on the NASA staff of Dr. Wernher von Braun working on Saturn rockets.
The Woller clan founded Summit Treestands in the early 80s and are credited with a host of innovative technologies that helped propel hunter success rates and overall treestand safety. In 2002 the Woller's sold Summit to the EBSCO Corporation and stayed on to help manage Summit and the Pradco outdoor division for a number of years before launching Viking Solutions in 2013.
"We've always been about trying to make the hunting experience more productive, more enjoyable and hassle free," said Viking Solutions' John Woller Jr.
And Viking's product line delivers on those goals, with everything from the Deer Splitter, to effortlessly cut through pelvic bones and sternums, to the High Tail, which holds deer hips and legs in the perfect position to aid in quick cleaning. As an added bonus, all Viking Solutions' products are economically priced.
The newest Viking solutions are the Kwik Hoist (MSRP $89.99), a winch/pulley hoist that mounts to nearly any handy tree; the Buck Up (MSRP $139.99), a traditional tripod-style deer hoist with winch/pulley and a unique open flat area at the top providing more room to work; the L-E-Vator (MSRP $119.99), which conveniently fits onto most ATV bow racks and hoists your game from the ground up to 40-inches high for loading game onto your ATV rack, UTV or pickup; the Rack JACK (MSRP $169.99), an innovative, 360-degree swiveling, hitch-mounted game hoist with winch/pulley that mounts right to the receiver hitch of your UTV or vehicle; and our personal favorite, the Tilt-N-Go (MSRP $199.99), a multi-function, hitch-mounted hauler that tilts for ease of loading and comes with a set of quality, removable wheels doubling its utility for both hauling gear into the field like blinds, stand or packs, then helping you get that gear — and your deer — back to your vehicle without inducing hiatal trauma.
All of Viking's hoists and haulers are ruggedly built for seasons of hard use, assemble very easily, and are rated for 300-pound capacity. So to test that rating, we set out to shoot a big whitetail during Illinois' early bow season, and employed a Tilt-N-Go and Buck Up to verify their utility and big-deer capacity.
On the second Saturday of our season, field tester Erik Olson, one of the few local Vikings I know, hauled in his pack, Summit climber and bow on the Tilt-N-Go, and promptly screwed up by shooting a sub-maximum buck for the test. When I got a text on my phone at 8:30 a.m. that he was already back at the truck with a deer, I climbed down from my stand to get my camera and meet up with him.
When I saw his buck, I was, to put it mildly, pissed. Olson's whitetail only netted 290-pounds with a 24-inch spread (he's notorious for overestimating live weight), but we figured that was close enough to at least verify the utility of the products.
Normally, hauling a buck that size out of the woods with two or even three guys would have been a herculean — albeit rewarding — chore. Olson wheeled the buck out to the vehicle by himself. After sliding the Tilt-N-Go onto the vehicle receiver hitch, we removed pins that hold on the wheel carriage, and drove it back to the barn field for cleaning and skinning on the Buck Up, which we assembled out-of-the-box in approximately five minutes with two tools.
The gambrel we used to attach to the Buck Up's winch hoist had an internal scale on which we verified weight, but it had a long neck necessitated for the spring scale, which prevented us from hoisting the buck clear up off the grass field. When switched to a standard gambrel on a gravel driveway, we were able to adequately clear the ground, and quickly cleaned and skinned the animal quite conveniently. Very easy, back-saving and effortless compared to our normal ad-hoc recovery and cleaning efforts.
If you're 21 years old and enjoy full body workouts that leave your lungs burning, legs exhausted and back straining, some Viking products are probably not for you. If you're looking for empowering after the shot solutions that help eliminate the hassle and chore of dealing with downed game, visit Viking Solutions' site to view their product lineup and complete video demos.
A large upright handle and high-quality carriage wheels — both easily removable with quick pin attachment — turns what used to be a leg-burning deer drag into a one man operation.
The Tilt-N-Go slides right into your receiver hitch for easy transportation. With a removable wheel carriage, you have a multi-use game and gear carrier for getting all sorts of loads to and from your vehicle.
Even the largest of bucks easily fits within the basket of the Tilt-N-Go.
The Tilt-N-Go with wheels reattached can then be used to take your trophy right to the Buck Up, and the included winch hoist will get it off the ground for convenient cleaning and skinning.
An open top area on the Buck Up allows you to winch loads up high, making it easier to work around your trophy.
The Buck Up assembles in mere minutes, and quality tubing, cable, hardware and winch hoist components are built for large loads and seasons of use.
Hauling any deer out of the woods can be an exhausting chore but, with Viking Solutions Tilt-N-Go, one person can accomplish the task — with even the largest of bucks — thanks to its unique tilt-and-load feature.
Viking Solutions' complete arsenal of nifty back-saving tools are perfect for all your big-buck recovery needs.