Product Test: The PowerLoader

All That It Is Claimed To Be And More

Gary Gustafson, Bear Hunting Magazine
The Powerloader Installed On An Arctic Cat 700 EFI
Note the winch cable running down to the loading platform.
The author's ATV and Cory Clark with his bear held by the Powerloader
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Anyone who has had to lug a downed bear out of the woods knows that it can be some of the most grueling work imaginable. A chubby bear has no natural holding points comparable to the legs or antlers of a deer. Thus even a 180 Lb bruin is next to impossible for a solo hunter to carry out--especially if the bear is being retrieved from a thick cedar or spruce swamp. Extracting a larger bear from such cover will put the strength and teamwork of a handful of men to an extreme test. In addition, it can be very warm during bear hunting season in many locations, and time is of the essence to prevent meat and hide spoilage. So I was very interested in assessing The PowerLoader from Great Day Inc. The PowerLoader is a lifting device that mounts to the front of an ATV or the back of a UTV and uses winch power to hoist game up onto the vehicle's rack or cargo bed. Then it helps to hold the critter in place for the ride out.

I installed the PowerLoader on a 2007 Suzuki King Quad 450 and used it to retrieve a friend's Minnesota black bear. There is some assembly required with the device, and the assembly will vary depending upon what model of ATV it is being installed on. It required a couple of attempts for me to achieve the proper clearances for the various moving parts, however once the job was done the PowerLoader stayed put and had no effect on my day time trail riding. It does partially obscure the headlights, but if a night time trail ride is in your plans all that is required for removal is for four U-bolts to be loosened, and the winch cable to be disconnected and the entire assembly can be pulled off.

We were hunting bears that were hammering a farmer's corn field. I passed on the bears that I saw, however my hunting partner Cory Clark dropped a nice five-foot boar. I drove the King Quad up to the bear. Two pins needed to be pulled and the Warn RT30 winch's clutch needed to be disengaged for the PowerLoader to be lowered to the ground. I pulled two more pins so the platform extensions could be stretched out to fit the bear's carcass onto the loader. We shimmied the bear onto the loader, and as Cory stabilized the bear I reeled in the winch using the handlebar switch. One caveat--a 3,000 Lb winch is a very powerful device, so stay out of the cable path during operation, and be sure not to overtighten the winch once the PowerLoader is fully returned to it's home position.

The PowerLoader lifted the 200 Lb bruin effortlessly onto the front rack, and held it in place as I bounced over furrows and ruts during the drive out. Great Day claims a 350 Lb weight rating for the PowerLoader, and based on this experience I believe it would certainly handle the rated weight. I (usually with hunting partners) have endured the sweaty, grueling work of hanging a dead bear from a log and carrying it out, or tying ropes around the bear and dragging it over countless, exhausting snags and deadfalls. The difference between that experience and using the PowerLoader is like night and day. You will never need to risk a slipped disk or a heart attack again if you can get an ATV equipped with a Powerloader to a downed animal. It is all that it is claimed to be and more. To order the PowerLoader, visit Great Day Incorporated or call (318) 574-5003 and tell them you need a Powerloader for bear hunting.

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