Picture this: You ascend high in the tree as you become one with the forest, able to move around your tree with the stealth of a mountain lion, prepared to capture the ultimate 360-degree shot. It certainly sounds thrilling, doesn’t it?
Well, that’s only possible with the proper saddle-hunting setup!
Remember, folks, the thrill of the hunt is best enjoyed with safety in mind. In this post, we’ll discuss everything about the right saddle-hunting setup.
So gear up, climb on, and let’s take hunting to new heights!
Table of Contents
What is Saddle Hunting
Saddle hunting is a type of tree stand that has grown in popularity recently. It involves using a hunting saddle, a kind of harness, instead of a traditional tree stand.
Using tree saddles is a hunting technique that emphasizes stealth and mobility. It involves using a low-profile hunting saddle and a tether to pivot around your selected tree, blending seamlessly into the foliage and nearly invisible to the game below.
Additionally, you have a complete 360-degree shooting lane at your disposal when the moment of truth arrives. Instead of just observing the wildlife, you become a part of it.
Essential Gear For Tree Saddle Setup
Remember, tree saddle hunting is not just about being up in the tree; it’s about becoming one with the tree, blending into your surroundings, and having the freedom to move like never before.
And to do it correctly, you must have these essential gear:
First things first, the mighty Hunting Saddle.
Imagine a fusion of a rock climber’s harness and a snug hammock — that’s your hunting saddle! It’s designed to be worn around your waist and thighs, hugging your body just right, providing the perfect blend of support and flexibility. It’s your personal sky seat, lofty lounge, and treetop throne.
What makes the hunting saddle a game-changer is its remarkable comfort and versatility. Make sure that you have the right saddle shape in your venture.
Most hunting saddles are padded and adjustable, meaning you can tailor them to fit like a glove.
Next, the trusty Tether Rope. This is your lifeline, like literally!
It’s your connection between saddle and tree. They might not seem like much compared to the hunting saddle itself, but these trusty companions are the lifelines that hold your aerial adventure together.
One end of your tether rope is connected to your hunting saddle, while the other end is secured to the tree. The tether’s length can be adjusted, letting you lean back in your saddle and comfortably pivot around the tree while still remaining safely secured.
Let’s not forget the strong carabiner. This rugged link is the guardian of your tether, securing it to the tree strap wrapped around your arboreal perch. Crafted from strong, lightweight materials like steel or aluminum, carabiners are easy to clip and unclip, yet provide a secure, fail-safe link that won’t let you down.
Your carabiner might also come with a locking mechanism, an extra safety feature that ensures the carabiner won’t accidentally open while you’re hanging out up high. It’s like a faithful hound, always on guard, always keeping you safe.
The saddle hunting platforms are compact, sturdy ledges attached to the tree at your chosen hunting height. Think of it as a minimalist tree stand, just large enough to comfortably rest your boots.
Platforms are typically made from lightweight, durable materials like aluminum or steel, and they’re designed to provide a secure, slip-resistant surface for your boots.
It’s your foothold in the sky, your pivot point as you rotate around the tree in your hunting saddle.
The tree strap is an essential piece of the puzzle that keeps your aerial venture rooted in the treetops.
The tree strap is a durable, high-strength strap designed to wrap around the trunk of your chosen tree. It serves as the anchor point for your tether rope and carabiner, connecting you securely to the tree while you’re suspended in your hunting saddle. The tree strap is your bridge to the wild, the bond between hunter and nature.
The purpose of the tree strap goes beyond keeping you secured while hunting. It also safeguards the trees that generously provide us with our hunting environment. Typically made with materials such as polyester or nylon, these straps are created to prevent damage to the bark of the trees. A
The climbing stick is the literal stepping stone that guides you up to your hunting saddle.
Climbing sticks are usually a series of steps attached to a straight, lightweight, and sturdy beam. They’re designed to be strapped onto the trunk of your tree in segments, providing you with a safe and secure way to ascend.
Setting up your climbing sticks is all about safety and stability. You’ll want to secure each stick firmly to the tree, usually starting from the bottom and working your way up until you reach your desired hunting height.
Remember, you can use any climbing method you prefer to get you into your saddle.
Safety first, fellow hunters! And when you’re up in the treetops, having the right safety gear is the trusty shield that guides you from unforeseen mishaps.
Here’s a rundown of essential safety gear for your saddle hunting escapades:
1. Safety Harness
While your hunting saddle does a splendid job of keeping you secure, a full-body safety harness is a smart choice for added protection.
This sturdy gear, also worn by rock climbers and construction workers, is designed to catch you and distribute the impact evenly across your body in the event of a fall.
2. Safety Line or Lifeline:
This is a rope that runs from the base of the tree to your hunting height. You attach it to your safety harness as you climb, ensuring you’re secure even before you reach your saddle.
If you slip, the safety line catches you, keeping you safe and sound.
Incidents happen, even for the most seasoned hunters. So getting a helmet will protect your head from any potential bumps or knocks, whether from falling branches or an unfortunate slip.
It’s a small piece of gear that can make a big difference!
Importance of Proper Hunting Saddle Setup
Before climbing up the trees with your harness, let’s discuss why setting up your hunting saddle correctly is essential.
Remember, having a well-adjusted saddle is not only about being comfortable; it is also about your safety, success, and fully experiencing the excitement of hunting.
Like rock climbing or skydiving, saddle hunting is a blast, but it’s not without risks. If your saddle isn’t properly set up, you could find yourself in a precarious situation.
A tether that’s too long might let you lean too far, a platform incorrectly positioned could slip, or an ill-fitted saddle might not support you correctly.
Ensuring that every strap is snug, every carabiner is locked, and every step is secure could be the difference between a thrilling hunt and an unwanted adventure.
Comfort is Important
Saddle hunting can be a waiting game. Hours in the treetops, patiently biding your time until that big buck strolls into view.
If your saddle isn’t set up right, that wait can turn from peaceful to painful real quick. A properly adjusted saddle and well-placed platform or steps can give you the comfort to wait it out and keep your focus on the hunt rather than an aching back or sore feet.
In saddle hunting, mobility is key. The beauty of the saddle is the ability to silently pivot around the tree, following your quarry as it moves. But if your setup is off, your bow shot could be too.
Your tether height, saddle adjustment, and step or platform placement all contribute to your ability to take steady, accurate bow shots from any angle.
Wildlife has a sixth sense for things out of place. A poorly set-up saddle can create unnatural movement or noise, alerting your prey to your presence. On the other hand, a well-set saddle allows you to move smoothly and silently, making you just another part of the forest.
Step 1. Choose Tree
Once you have all the necessary gear, you can look for the right tree.
Pick a sturdy, healthy tree that offers a good cover and could support your weight and pressure. Look up and ensure no dead branches could fall on you. Remember, the tree is your partner in this adventure!
Step 2. Attach Your Climbing Sticks and Tree Strap
After finding the right tree for you, you can begin your ascend.
Securely attach your first climbing stick at a comfortable height. Ensure it’s firm and stable before you step on it. Repeat the process, stacking the climbing sticks until you reach your desired height.
Once you’re at your desired hunting height, it’s time to attach your tree strap. Wrap it snugly around the tree and secure it according to its design. This will serve as the anchor point for your tether.
Step 3. Connect the Tether and Carabiner
Now, connect your tether to the tree strap using the carabiner. Make sure the carabiner is locked and secure. Adjust the length of your tether to suit your hunting style.
Step 4. Put on Your Hunting Saddle and Hunting Platform
Back on the ground, step into your hunting saddle, and adjust it for a comfortable and secure fit. Your saddle is like a sky hammock, so make sure it feels right!
With your hunting saddle on and your tether connected, climb back up your tree using your climbing sticks. As you climb, slide your tether up the tree strap.
Once you’re back at your hunting height, attach your platform or ring of steps to the tree. This is where you’ll rest your feet while in your saddle.
Step 5. Connect the Saddle to the Tether
Finally, attach your saddle to the tether and make sure to adjust it accordingly. This will allow you to sit comfortably with even weight distribution.
Beginner Saddle Hunters Mistakes to Avoid
Embarking on a new journey always comes with its share of learning curves, and saddle hunting is no exception. But fear not! We’re here to guide you through some common beginner mistakes to avoid so that your transition into saddle hunting is as smooth as possible.
Not Practicing Enough Beforehand
Becoming proficient with your saddle hunting gear is like learning a new language; it takes practice. Don’t head into the wild until you’ve mastered the basics in a controlled environment. Learn how to don your hunting saddle, adjust your tether, and safely climb and descend your chosen tree.
Familiarize yourself with how it feels to shoot from your saddle, as it differs significantly from shooting from the ground or a traditional tree stand. Remember, a well-prepared hunter is a successful hunter!
Picking the Wrong Tree
Choosing the right tree is crucial. The tree must be healthy and sturdy enough to support your weight. Avoid trees with loose or dead branches that might fall and cause injury. The tree’s bark should also be in good condition to ensure your climbing sticks and strap are properly secured.
Finally, consider the tree’s location and how well it offers cover and shooting lanes.
Neglecting Stealth Techniques
In saddle hunting, you aim to become a ghost in the treetops. You’ll need to minimize noise and movement while setting up and during the hunt. Choose gear that’s quiet to set up and adjust. Camouflage yourself and your equipment to blend in with your surroundings.
Remember, the more you blend in with the tree, the less likely your prey will detect your presence.
In conclusion, saddle hunting is a thrilling adventure filled with opportunities to grow as a hunter and outdoorsman. But it’s important to note the proper saddle hunting setup to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunting experience.
Make sure you’re familiar with the ins and outs of saddle hunting before trying this method.