Tree saddle hunting...

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by mikerock85, Jun 25, 2014.

  1. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    I bought the aero kestrel and killed a doe out of it last Friday. Really enjoying it so far. My recommendations to buy it soon...cause the companies are small and it takes a good while to ship. I got mine at the end of October...not enough time to practice. The learning curve is tricky trying to figure out your options. I bought millennium lite sticks (I’m not a huge fan and at some point I may switch to lone wolf or hawk helium’s). I use 3 Wild Edge Stepp Ladder steps as a platform. I’m not very good getting them to cam over like they are supposed to but I’m getting better. But once they do they are solid. This summer I plan to prep a bunch of trees in a few locations so I can go in with no sticks.

    To each their own. I like how lightweight it is and and I think it’s comfortable if you take the time to adjust your ropes to what fits you. Plan to use it exclusively as I’ve sold my climber.


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  2. Coop

    Coop Grizzled Veteran

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    I think it was a Tree Saddle brand. When I tried them there wasn't many options. Now I think about it it has been quite a few years, I think I was only on back surgery #2 then lol.
     
  3. Holt

    Holt Grizzled Veteran

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    Your right, not much out back then. You probably had the Trophy line tree saddle. I had back surgery also, and don't notice any pain now from using the saddle. The biggest pain I get is hip pinch, but just have to adjust the tether up and down til I get it right.

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  4. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    I don’t think it’s for everyone. If you had bad knees it could be rough. Like anything else you have to figure out what works best for you. On the Wired To Hunt podcast several months back John Eberhart was on there talking about how he couldn’t see a single disadvantage with a tree saddle compared to other hunting methods. I think that’s what works for him. But he’s been perfecting it for 30 some years.

    I personally enjoy the weight I’ve dropped. Going back in on a long walk tonight and I’m glad I won’t have a 18 lb climber on my back.


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  5. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    Yesterday was pretty sweet. Hiked back in .6 of a mile. Just my saddle, bow, and backpack. Got to the tree and put on my tree spurs. Went up 30 ft in a tree on top of a ridge. Had 3 does cruise the flat below me but it was too far for a shot. Had a spike come in behind them but he stayed higher on the ridge and passed right by my tree. He ended up bedding 25 yards from me. 45 minutes rolled around and I had to go. Tried throwing my hand warmer at him to no avail. He ignored it. So I thought, let’s see how quiet I can be getting down with these spurs. I lowered my bow and packed up all my camera gear keeping the tree between me and him. Went down the tree without making hardly a sound. Packed up my stuff without him noticing. He finally caught me after my bow hoist rope made some clicks as I reeled it in. He probably would’ve heard me as I walked away as the leaves were very crunchy. But the fact that I got down the tree without alerting him was awesome. That’s certainly something I could have never done with my climber.
     
  6. Scott/IL

    Scott/IL Die Hard Bowhunter

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    I see the appeal for sure. I feel like I would be exposed hanging off the side of the tree like that though. I’d also wonder how much movement would be needed to adjust shot opportunities.

    It would be nice for those hikes into public where you could drop 12-13 pounds off from the stand. Maybe I need to look more into it, but I’m pretty content with my LW setup.


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  7. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    It's actually the opposite...because you can change your position it allows you to stay concealed easier. I kept the tree between myself and the does and spike the entire time. I'm more of a sitter anyways so I keep my knees against the tree. So I'm not hanging out any more than you'd be in your LW stand. The difference is as the deer moved left to right I slowly took a step behind the tree and stayed concealed. I always hated when deer came in right in front of me and I felt like if I moved at all I'd be busted. And most of the time I got busted.

    As far as shot opportunities there's not really any spot I can't shoot. I can easily shoot anything to my left. Nov 9th I shot a doe that came in to my right. I had to take my bow up and over the bridge...but since the tree is between me and the deer she didnt see the movement. I leaned out without any trouble and smoked her. If a deer comes in behind you it's a little tricky but all you do is grab the bow and lean out to take the shot. I've never hunted with a Lone Wolf but I've heard some good things about them. I'd say the advantage you have is being able to get up in a tree with a lot of limbs and cover. Since I use spurs I prefer to use my lineman's belt from ground all the way up so I'm safe the whole way. I chose a tree the other morning in the dark that had more limbs than I cared for. But I was able to get high enough that I don't think they'd bust me. Anyways, to each their own...I'm just loving this lightweight set up.
     
  8. S.McArthur

    S.McArthur Weekend Warrior

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    Well fellas, I have to make a decision. My wife's grandfather and mother gave me (us) money to buy our own present but we have to bring it and open during our family Christmas. I have $250 to invest; I'll cover the rest.
    I want to hunt a lot more on public land, but don't want to haul a bunch of stuff; just like everyone else.
    Choice A: Climbing Sticks/Hang on
    - I like this because I'm used to hunting out of a climber
    - I know I can add/remove layers in the stand (easier?)
    Choice B: AeroHunter/Tethrd Saddle set-up
    -I like the concept and I'm already "harnessed" for the hunt; less stuff to haul

    Pros/Cons for Hang-on/Saddle.

    I think I need to invest in less bulky cold-weather gear, I have some gander mountain bibs/coat and they are bulky but warm.
    At one of my spot in Illinois, the saddle would be the way to go to get into a spot where a climber will not work at all. I tried, 1.5hr of walking and fighting Vietnam thick brush. I also know of some bug pine trees I can climb and wouldn't even need a platform for that spot, just kind of stand in the tree on the branches.
    I am leaning (pun intended) towards the saddle setup, just seems easy after some practice.
    Recommendations:
    *Platform
    -I have a muddy hang-on I'll use for practice in the yard until I find something else.
    *Harness: Tethred or Aero. I don't see much difference other than about $10 between the "Starter Kits"

    I think the starter kit will get me in the tree, anything else I should look into?
    I am also looking for a boat to hunt the far reaches of the local WMA, so I want to be light and capable of getting to a spot as efficiently as possible.
     
  9. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    I bought the Aero Kestrel in September and it came in October. Both companies take about a month or so to ship from what Ive seen. So...you won't have anything to open at Christmas except an online receipt. The Mantis is a mesh saddle and weighs less than the Kestrel but we're talking maybe a pound or so in difference. Aero also makes the Kite which is a mesh saddle. I like the Kestrel a lot. I wear thermals as a baselayer and carry my big coat to the base of the tree. I don't put it on until I'm up in and everything is set. It was 26 degrees on Friday and I didnt get cold. I suppose you could put a big pants layer on while in the saddle but it would be tricky.

    If you're wanting to do public land you'll probably have to go with some light weight sticks. I bought some Millennium Lite sticks. Al together they weigh about 10lbs. I'm not a huge fan of them. They are longer than the Lone Wolf and Hawk Helium sticks so I cant attach them to my pack. So I hike in with them over my shoulder and that isnt exactly comfortable and you get hung up on briers and what not.

    I ended up getting a pair of tree spurs and I love them. Put them in my pack, hike in with my saddle on, and pick a tree and climb. It's certainly easier if the tree doesnt have a lot of branches. But if you hunt public I'm guessing spurs arent an option since they penetrate the bark. So if I were you I'd get a 3-4 LW sticks.

    Platforms...there's several options. I went with 3 Wild Edge Stepps. It is a lightweight, super solid, option....IF you can get the things to cam over right. I've hunted with them 6-8 times and it still takes me 10 minutes or so to get those things to work right. The videos show people camming them over easy peezy but that's not my experience. I recently just traded to get what's called a ring of steps. Sounds just like the name. It's 5-6 steps on a nylon webbing that you ratchet or boat buckle to the tree. These allow you to walk all the way around the tree. The preferred kind is Ameristep ROS but they are no long manufactured so you have to buy them in the classifieds or ebay. I traded to get another version called the Bullmans Silent Approach ROS. I cant speak to how well they work since they are in the mail as we speak...but guys on saddlehunter.com (a fantastic site for info) seem to like them. The last option is a solid platform. Guys take lone wolf seats and modify them or you can drop the cash and get the predator platform from Tethrd. I hear they work well but it'll add 2-4lbs to your set up.

    The main thing I can tell you is this...$250 isn't going to get you all you need. The saddle alone costs that and if you go with the package (which I recommend) you'll add $100 to that in no time. But I can say this...it's worth it. My entire set up weighs about 4 lbs now not including my backpack with camera gear. It's very comfortable and the guys on that website are super friendly and willing to help answer questions. Send me a PM if you have other questions about saddle hunting.
     
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  10. S.McArthur

    S.McArthur Weekend Warrior

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    Thanks, I know 250 won't cover everything but it's a good start! I think I'm going with Tethrd mantis. They say 6 weeks delivery which is not an issue, I'll just bring a picture and say "look what you got me".
    I think I just need to get the basic set up and practice all year and figure out what works for me.
    I joined the saddle hunter forum, waiting on approval, but there is a boatload of info over there.
    I'm pretty excited about it, I think I'll order the mantis today and start researching via YouTube about setting up.
    As I've come to learn about most hunting topics, forum advice only goes so far, you have to put the time in and see what works for yourself. I hunt with minimal stuff, usually my bow, pack, layers and binoculars. I dont like hauling a bunch of crap to the woods.
    Stand by for pictures when this kit arrives.
     
  11. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    Awesome! I don’t think you can go wrong with that saddle. Learning the system mid season has been very challenging for sure. I was able to kill a doe on Nov 9th out of it and it was awesome. Learning to self film has been tricky...but it’s not any harder than filming from a climber. What makes saddle hunting fun is modifying it to your needs. There’s so many options and creativity goes a long way.

    Forgot to mention knee pads. I bought some super cheap army kneepads online and they do the trick. They are a must if you plan to be more of a sitter like I am.


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  12. S.McArthur

    S.McArthur Weekend Warrior

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    Alright, sizing...I wear 34 pants(6'0", 215lbs), Mantis sizing says M, but Large if I like to sit. I'm kind of skinny but should I plan for layering. Somewhere I read if the saddle is too big it can be uncomfortable.

    ***EDIT*** Nevermind, I watched the microfit adjuster's video and I think the large with the adjusters would give me the flexibility I need. Ordering a Large Mantis now.

    This is exciting.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018
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  13. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    Tried out the Bullman Ring of Steps this morning. It’s a little tricky to get them all set and spaced out but I like them a lot. I wasn’t good at using the WE Stepps...just couldn’t get them to cam over very well like some guys can...might need to work out more!


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  14. S.McArthur

    S.McArthur Weekend Warrior

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    Awesome, they look nice and light. I'm glad I ordered my setup now to give time to see what I'll need. I've been reading dang near every thread on saddle hunter, good grief there is a lot of info to sift through.
    I'm still leaning towards sticks, but those ring steps look like they will fulfill the climbing and platform needs in one group.

    Saw this on their facebook page, I'm willing to wait, but if it comes early, that'll be cool too.
    [​IMG]


    Tethrd
    Yesterday at 11:04 AM ·
    Shipping update.

    We expect to receive enough stock of Mantis Saddles (all sizes) and Predator Platforms over the next 10 days to be nearly caught up on all but the most recent orders. We should have nearly everything sent out by Christmas.

    Also, Ernie is getting our new manufacturer online this week, and our production capacity will be quadrupling. We will never again put our community in the position of waiting, and waiting, and waiting some more.

    Also, Also, we have a new product we're releasing this week. It's pretty cool.

    Also, also, also, we're releasing Tethrd Swag this week just in time for Christmas. We're not turning it live in the store until we receive the inventory later this week. If you aren't already on our email list, sign up at www.TethrdNation.com and we'll send a firesale coupon code to that list later this week. You'll be able to get the new stuff at a discount, but you'll have to act fast. When that big buck walks into your shooting lane, you only have moments to react...so when you see the email from us, just think of it as quick reaction training for the 2019 season.

    Thanks for the support!
     
  15. smctitan

    smctitan Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Well, I may be quite a ways off from actually hunting out of a tree saddle, watching the G2 videos and reading about the Ropeman ascend device has me rethinking my linesman’s rope setup for my Assault and sticks setup. Pretty interesting.


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  16. mnhunter01

    mnhunter01 Newb

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    How do users of the saddle system feel in hunting cold weather locations? Hunting late season can drop to low single digits and that's when I break out my boot covers and Artic shield insulator suit. Considering I'm walking at least a mile to my site, I dress light, and dress up when I'm up in my stand. How do most saddle hunters accommodate these extra layers that are not really ideal to climb with?
     
  17. ThrustWasher

    ThrustWasher Newb

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    A lot of guys are using the ropeman as a main life support device and that's a bad idea, Its not intended for that at all! Also in testing the ropeman has been shown to cut clean through a rope with as little as a 4Kn fall!
     
  18. ThrustWasher

    ThrustWasher Newb

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    I dress the same way as I would if I was hunting out of a regular stand! I use a aerohunter evolution!
     
  19. mnhunter01

    mnhunter01 Newb

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    Do you fully dress then get in the saddle? I'm trying to gauge what are the typical steps someone takes when they have to layer up at the stand. Do they put up sticks, platform, test out a comfortable height then climb back down and dress up? Or do you dress up and put up sticks, platform and then get comfortable with what you are wearing? Obviously some saddle platforms are not suitable for boot warmer covers like screw in steps or ring of steps. Who has hunted with these typical cold weather accessories and out of a saddle?
     
  20. SheddingLightTravis

    SheddingLightTravis Weekend Warrior

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    It's a bit simpler than that for me. I hunted a day when it was 23 degrees. I wore all my layers in except my heavy coat. I carried it over my shoulder so I wouldn't sweat. I walk through the woods with my saddle on. I put it on at the truck. When I get to the tree I tie my bow and coat to my bow-hoist and I ascend (using tree spurs). I get tethered and settle in and then I pull up my bow and coat. I put it on like normal without taking anything off. I can't easily zip it but I don't really need to. I wear thermal baselayers and socks and I dont get cold....coffee helps too.
     

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