Tree Saddles, Lock on and climber, I just don't get it.

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by Vabowman, Nov 14, 2019.

  1. dnoodles

    dnoodles Grizzled Veteran

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    as someone who hunts public and private, ladders, climbers, hang ons, and now this season also a saddle...my thoughts.
    If I owned my own property and wasn't worried about theft, I'd hunt primarily out of ladder sticks with a Millenium-type hang on (using the EZ hang bracket.) They're quieter and just as safe as any ladder stand. Also semi-portable if you have time and space to move around pre- or even early season. Then, depending on tree choices; I'd keep a either a saddle + climbing sticks or a climber on hand in my truck or back at camp for switching it up on the fly if needed as deer activity and sign warrants.

    I really liked hunting out of a saddle this season, and I wasn't even what I would call "saddle shape". People's main concern regarding saddle hunting is usually having "the tree in front of me." I personally find that to be my favorite part. It's awesome to keep the tree between you and the deer. I think you can get away with a lot more movement. Another really nice thing about saddle and sticks is if you are hunting on the fly, you find a spot where it might be better to be on the ground (or it's your only real option) and it's really easy to tether up at ground level and the tree provides a lot of cover. DIY Hunter does this quite a bit in swamps and there's a river bottom crossing I found this year that looks like a prime spot for that tactic.

    My biggest issues with using a saddle were 1) I totally suck at climbing sticks; altho I got better as the season went on. I have to resign myself to the mantra that slow is smooth, smooth is fast( -ish.)

    and

    2) when resting/putting weight on the sides of my knees on the tree, after a bit the nerve gets pressured and makes my lower leg fall asleep for a long time. Knee pads don't cover that area. I need to figure something out for that.
     
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  2. early in

    early in Grizzled Veteran

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    That's what I always envisioned would be a problem using the saddle. No thanks, I'll stick to my never fail LW climber. Quiet, stable, and light weight. Oh, did I mention how quiet it is? :biggrin:
     
  3. Holt

    Holt Grizzled Veteran

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    You would be perfect for a saddle, your already a tree climber by trade. You actually would like it if you tryed it. I've used all stands and saddle is by far quietest method. But I know you like your climber and won't change. But like I said in previous years, you want to try it, we can meet up anytime.

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  4. early in

    early in Grizzled Veteran

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    I appreciate that Holt, but like you mentioned, I won't change. :lol: Yep, I've been climbing trees for almost 40 years now, and I just don't see there being any advantage to using the saddle to hunt deer. I see it as being more complicated, and not as comfy as a climber. jmo
     
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  5. Vabowman

    Vabowman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    If i have to wear knee pads bowhunting , count me out on the saddle..
     
  6. siwulat

    siwulat Weekend Warrior

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    All three have their place and pros/cons. Personally, I've used all three this season, each in different circumstances.

    1) Climber - great for comfort and short, known hikes when you have a tree picked out ahead of time. For years this was my only system, and I'm a smooth, quiet and efficient climber using it. The main drawback for me was it's large frame that often gets hung up in brush and makes unnecessary noise, and the fact that I really need a tree picked out ahead of time. Tough to go into an area blind hauling it and be confident. I used mine on a park hunt where we could scout ahead of time and knew no one was going to be in our spot come the first morning hunt. Sat all day with zero issues in terms of comfort.

    2) Hang on - much like the climber, also great for preset locations, and I personally use it when the trees aren't suitable for a climber. Pretty easy to set up so long as you're wearing the right gear (lineman). Quiet, comfortable enough. I used one again on a park hunt, but in a tree that would have been impossible to use the climber. Not as comfortable as the climber or saddle, imo.

    3) Saddle - Quite comfortable, light, and great for long hikes or hunting areas that you're going into cold. Don't necessarily need to know the particular tree ahead of time, just any old tree will do. Versatile enough to maneuver around branches, knots, leans, etc. As efficient in climbing as with a climber, but much less of a workout (less sweat). Drawbacks would be the learning curve. Not something you can run into the woods for the first sit and expect to be efficient and comfortable. That takes time. Personally, this is my go-to all season long on public land where we can't leave anything out overnight. Has definitely changed the way I hunt and scout since I'm no longer looking for an exact tree.
     
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  7. cantexian

    cantexian Grizzled Veteran

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    I don't wear knee pads. I don't get why anyone would.
     
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  8. Vabowman

    Vabowman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    me either
     
  9. WildernessPhantom

    WildernessPhantom Weekend Warrior

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    I have one of each. The hang on and sticks goes right on the fringe of a big bedding area well before season so I can really sneak in for a few hunts a season. The climber is what I use to bounce around areas depending on the wind for those days I can hunt.


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  10. ckempo

    ckempo Newb

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  11. BowhuntOnly

    BowhuntOnly Weekend Warrior

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    I like climbers too and thanks for sharing your climber model. Public land requires a super light setup and 16 lbs is it! Lately i have gone to a ground setup that has really increased my mobilty and ease of setup. Adds a new challenge eye to eye with deer, but the encounters have increased! 20191023_091220.jpeg

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  12. Vabowman

    Vabowman Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Amazon has them at a decent price.
     
  13. Shocker99

    Shocker99 Grizzled Veteran

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    I’ve got a good story why I switched over to a hang on. I do still use a climber from time to time and they are the only stand to use on tall limbless trees. This is why I switched though... went to hunt an island that we had pics of some really good bucks. Went in one morning and found a ton of fresh sign. The tree I knew I had to be in was about 30 branches too many for my climber. There was no was to effectively and silently trim what I needed to do. I opted for a tree about 50 yds back which was the first climbable tree. Well I watched about a 160” buck walk 15 yds from the tree I wanted to be in which put me at about 65 yds from that. That was the end of my climber days.
    Here in Illinois I can effectively use a climber about 20-30% of the time. I hunt with guys that still primarily use them but they both admit it limits them and they don’t use hang ons out of laziness. Here’s an example of a tree I sent a pic to a buddy of cause we are going to put a hang on set in it. It’s the tree right in middle of pic. Good luck climbing that lol.
    6B12DC93-4D6F-43E9-A9DA-C209D833DB36.jpeg
     
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  14. fox hollow 2

    fox hollow 2 Weekend Warrior

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    I hunt mostly private property. I used to be a climber guy. Had an old API climber, (which was great once settled in the tree) but you have to be a man to pack that thing in and out all the time. Also, I over pack anyway so it made it really uncomfortable transporting all my gear every hunt.
    So, as the years went by i switched to pre set hang on stands. I like being able to just walk in climb up and be ready. Then just climb down and go as quick as possible. I don't see me changing from the hang ons to a run and gun set up. instead of the cheep steel hang ons i have started to go all aluminum (the old muddy stands, Hawk, and XOP). I may give some ground blinds a try here at some point.
     
  15. kennyg

    kennyg Die Hard Bowhunter

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    For the most part, everyone’s ideas are dead on with mine. I have all three types. I started out with a high end climber that I only use now for gun season. It cost me the largest deer I’ve ever seen because I was 50 yards off where I needed to be due to no climber acceptable trees exactly where I needed to be. The next year I had a lone wolf and sticks. This worked great the past 5-6 years until I lost my land. Now strictly hunting public the last two years I need to get away from people as much as finding sign so I got a Mantis that I use with sticks. I figured with demand being higher than the supply I could easily get my $$ back if it didn’t work out. I’m about 5’8” and 180. Not in the best shape by far. I had a lot of doubts with the saddle. A lot of leg soreness. However, I got used to it and better at it. I don’t believe I can do all day sits, but can’t with the lone wolf either do to being uncomfortable. I’ve used the saddle all season and decided to try hanging the lone wolf last week and struggled, lol. There is a whole saddle forum on Facebook and tons of YouTube videos for tips on getting it dialed in for your personal style. It’s true that you can easily shoot 360, but you have to get comfortable using it and you have to trust your equipment your hanging from. This is 100% the key.
     
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  16. parkersdad

    parkersdad Weekend Warrior

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    I’ve hunted from all of the above and my least favorite is a lock on. I like my JX3 hybrid and climbers. The JX3 is as comfortable as a Summit Viper with the flexibility of a hang on or a saddle.




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  17. tynimiller

    tynimiller Legendary Woodsman

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    Saddle hunting intrigues me and if I hunted public or bigger properties I'd definitely use one or a climber (or both)...however for my hang and leave style, they don't make the most logical sense. I also would say that all or nearly all of the trees my stands are in a climber wouldn't work in, I stay clear of tall straight and branchless trees for stands so a hang on is the most logical sense.

    My tree selection for stands is why honestly for my use a saddle would make more sense than a climber.
     
  18. GMCmedic

    GMCmedic Weekend Warrior

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    A climber is great, but its not lighter. I can get 20 feet up a tree with 9 pounds worth of sticks and a platform. Ive never seen a 9 pound climber anywhere. My main lock on and 3 climbing sticks still weighs the same as the OPs climber.

    The hunting world is shifting to light and mobile and climbers arent catching up.

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  19. BowhuntOnly

    BowhuntOnly Weekend Warrior

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    I sold my lone wolf climber last year...it was a sit and clime from 2005. The best climber I used. I have upgraded now to the XOP ambush...headed out for the first time this weekend with it. Assuming it will be great!

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  20. BowedUp

    BowedUp Newb

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    I agree with everyone else- its very situational. I have 2 or 3 climbers and about 7 or 8 lock ons. I prefer to hunt out of my lock on's most of the time due to the fact that I feel I can ascend to the top silently ( I hunt private leased land so I leave them out all season). The spots that I choose to hunt from climbers are the areas where I need to get significant height, or if I'm bouncing around playing the wind/trying new spots out. I usually hang my lock ons in all the areas where I've previously had success and know that a permanent feature (travel, food, bedding etc) is nearby and won't be going away. I certainly want to give the saddle a try but I have my reservations about it. Just need to try it out in the backyard first I suppose and then maybe hunt out of it next season.
     
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