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ziplomacy

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Reply with quote  #1 
Who uses them and how do you like them? 

I will likely be hunting public land this year, and am thinking about getting a saddle. I don't have room in my little apartment to keep the stands in the offseason but a saddle packs down small. It would also allow me to, in theory, hike in deeper than I might be able to with a stand. Also, I can't leave a stand up on public land in TN. 


This will be my first deer season. Any pointers would be nice.

Thanks all!

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Osage Selfbow #55@28"
NM Baraga #50@28"
Pronghorn Takedown #42@28"
Ben Pearson Cougar #37@28"

Knoxville, TN
Sam

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Reply with quote  #2 
Zip, is that girl really going to let you out of the house come deer season? I have often wondered about saddles, but are they steady enough to shoot well from them? Good luck with it.
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Sam McMichael

Gray, GA

"The spirit of the bow dwells in the heart of all young men" - Geronimo

Hill Wesley Special (2, both 65#)
Hill Cheetah (2, one 55# and one 40#)
Hill Big 5 (50#)
NM Shelton (2, both 53#)
Deathwish Longbow (59#)
Archery Traditions Bamboo Longhunter (3, one 56#, one 60# and one 78#)

chuckc

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Reply with quote  #3 
Zip. I have no saddle experience. That may be a very good choice for you, but...don't limit yourself to the trees.

There are other, more grounded, ways open to you.

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ChuckC

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I did too !

Madison, Wisconsin.   Public land hunter
ziplomacy

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Reply with quote  #4 
Ive been thinking about ghillie hunting, however, it is usually in the high 70's during archery season here. More like 80's early in the season. I think the heat is my biggest concern for ghillie hunting. I do like the possibility of using it for deer turkey and predator hunting tho.
I would love to spot and stalk but it doesn't seem very practical with how thick the undergrowth is here.

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Osage Selfbow #55@28"
NM Baraga #50@28"
Pronghorn Takedown #42@28"
Ben Pearson Cougar #37@28"

Knoxville, TN
Tradslinger

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Reply with quote  #5 
Never used the saddle and now I am too old to begin. But even in the thick terrain that we also have here in the western Arkansas mountains (close to Oklahoma border), pre scouting food sources and funnel area pay off. I have always tried to make some sort of natural ground blinds at a place where I had options due to the wind. I basically tried to have at least two blinds set up as best as I could with as little impact as possible. I tried very hard not to make it too obvious to others to find. I also liked to hide folding chairs or stools at each place. I usually put the chair in something to keep it both dry and insect free. Then just have to cover with leaves or whatever. When hunting a scrape line or a rub line, I tried to hunt it indirectly from the ground with the same type of ground blinds. I have used my tree umbrellas when it rained but also used them as a blind cover as well. I really like to cut a recess into a very thick spot, leaving a short wall in the front to hide my movements. I found that I needed really good back cover so that I wouldn't be silhouetted so easily. I used a lot of small cedar trees to make some of these spots. But that was before I discovered using old Christmas tree limbs as cover. I simply stretched some trotline across a spot and hung them from the string. I'm just sayimg that you have a lot of options including that saddle 
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sempertodd

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Reply with quote  #6 
I have used saddles, let me say they have come a long way from decades ago.  I tried few different ones, but settled on one that don't think made anymore "Guido's web".  What drove me to that model is one had a little back support and more importantly had a bar to rest on tree as have really bad knee's.  I have always loved hunting from a elevated stand, however in last few years been ground hunting more, do to knee replacement and challenge.  But let me run down the Pro's/Con's I found from an old, out of shape guy.

Pro's
Safety- A quality saddle system will keep you connected to the tree at all times and you have to try hard to fall out.
Portable- This is the lightest system you will ever find, compared to any tree stand.
Camo- The design of the saddle, keeps the hunter much more hidden to animals.  Keep in mind still have to hunt, can't get sloppy.
Maneuvering- the saddle allows the hunter to move for better position with lessening chance of getting "busted".

Con's
Comfort- be very picky, as all are not created evenly, some have issue finding comfort for long sits
Practice- This should be said without saying, but one needs to practice setting up, "hanging", maneuvering, and shooting with saddle.  If you will do this you will 
              find many advantages, but few are willing to put time in.
Cost- a quality saddle will on average cost more than a hang on stand.  I highly advice trying one before invest in it.  

It is personal preference and limitations will dictate, use and level of comfort.  I believe, you can "move" more with a saddle as long as do so as "stand stalking" and be fine.  Typically, from me and few friends, the knee's and lower back is what gets tired.  As with anything, take stock of personal inventory of injury, and limitations, be honest and apply to what you are going to do, before invest.  There are a great many ways to climb a tree, but the one that I found long time ago and still love is sold by Wildedge (Stepp climbing system).  I am 5'7", and with 10 steps, safely/securely get up to 17' with 10 stepps.  Look at saddle forums, a lot of experience and like here open peeps.

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bob4st

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Reply with quote  #7 
Hello Zip.. Take a look at New Tribe arborist saddles.. they design them for recreational tree climbers as well as professional tree climbers/arborists.. I suggest their recreational line because they are lighter, don't have the heavy steel D-loops for lanyards, etc.. However, I would take an hour to check out the usual professional arborist saddle manufacturers such as Weaver, Buckingham, Notch, Petzl, DBI Sala, etc., too.. They provide excellent products that would work very well for you too.. More importantly, when choosing a saddle the more knowledge you have the better choices you can make regarding comfort (bosun seat vs padded leg loops), weight (some are 6-7 pounds), type of trees, etc..  I suggest you visit WesSpur.com or Tree Stuff.com as both sites have video reviews and general instructions that accompany many of their products.. Lastly, you can always try the usual rock climbing harness manufacturers such as Petzl, Black Diamond, Metolius, etc.. However, I wouldn't want to be spending a long time suspended in them waiting for critters to arrive as they don't provide the lumbar, leg and butt support.. Be careful and get some training, because you can go from comfortable to hurt or dead in a split second..
Best wishes,
Bob4st

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stickandstring

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Reply with quote  #8 
First Lite sponser Taylor Chamberlin on YouTube. He kills 100s deer a year using a saddle in suburban backyards.
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Selden Slider

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Reply with quote  #9 
Zip, about the Ghillie, they are heavy and hot.  Consider a leafy suit.  Much lighter and cooler.  It will render you invisible.  Not just for turkey, deer too.  I have a Cabela's I bought what, 10 years ago or more?  Works great.  If you do go with the leafy suit also get the cape.  It's a boonie with a drape and breaks up your head profile.  Frank
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stickandstring

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Reply with quote  #10 
First Lite sponser Taylor Chamberlain on YouTube. He kills 100s deer a year using a saddle in suburban backyards.
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Shortdraw

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Reply with quote  #11 
I don't often post here but saw this thread and thought I would weigh in. The last two years I only hunted from a saddle. For background, I'm 59 and have been rock climbing since I was 19, albeit a little less than in earlier years!  So I am used to hanging around in harnesses from ropes.  I've also never had access to land where I just hang stands in spring and come back to them in the fall.  I've always been a hike in, hang a stand, hunt, and gather my stuff and head out kinda hunter.  For that kind of hunting, I simply love a saddle.  Climbing is the same as setting up a tree stand (I use sticks).  But once I get to the desired height, I girth hitch my tether line, clip in, quickly set up my little platform (I use one of the platforms from Tethrd), step on and clean up my tether angle, hang my pack, pull up and hook up my bow, and done!  Much more quiet than my Lone Wolf stand, particularly in the dark.

I rarely hunt from perfectly straight trees.  A lot of bottom land cottonwoods.  Often they have a bit of a lean.  My stands have always been a little wonky in leaning trees.  No trouble with the saddle unless they are really leaning and then I wouldn't be able to use a stand either.  Also, and this may come from years of climbing, I feel way more stable in a saddle.  I like the sensation of constantly leaning against the tether.  Shooting from a saddle came quite easily actually.  And I love getting into my saddle early in the morning and taking a little nap while I hang there.  Never keen to do that sitting in the Lone Wolf! 

If one is new to hanging out on saddles or harnesses then a little practice time is in order.  But doesn't that apply to any new skill or technique?  I've never used one of those big comfy hang it and forget it stands.  They look pretty sweet, particularly the cup holders [wink], but I hunt mostly public lands or private land where I have short term permission.  For that kind of hunting, it's a pretty slick set up.  

Last, a few new techniques (knots, using a prussic, using a Ropeman, types of ropes, etc) and an understanding of some equipment that may be new (tubular webbing...crazy strong, not just for skinny climbers!) will be part of the learning curve but there is a lot of internet info out there.  A lot in the hunting realm but don't be afraid to journey into the climbing and arborist world as well.  Some of this ancillary equipment is easily found on non-hunting sources like REI, Backcountry.com as well as hunting oriented like Tethrd and others.  And saddle hunter.com has endless forum-surfing to offer while you practice social distancing [rolleyes].

And a quick story: On my first day in a saddle, I was leaning against the tree when out of the corner of my eye, a fine, heavy bodied buck came walking my way.  Naturally I had a doe-only tag!!  So I pulled out my phone to take pics, hid on the off-side of the tree and watched him casually walk by at 12 yards.  He never saw me, never acted worried, and slowly walked out of my life.  Maybe the same would have happened in my LW stand but I know the most he saw of me would have been a knee here or a shoulder there but not my whole human form.  Anecdotal evidence at best but pretty cool nonetheless.  

Enjoy!

chuckc

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Reply with quote  #12 
Shortdraw. Thank you, and welcome to TAS. Don't be scarce. Learning from each other's experience is where its at.
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ChuckC

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I did too !

Madison, Wisconsin.   Public land hunter
steelflight

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Reply with quote  #13 
Jmho . if you like the saddle i wish you success. Spot and stock on public land is a good ticket. Im never going to stop suggesting a light plaid shirt. Simple and does work for simple cam.
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ziplomacy

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Reply with quote  #14 
Shortdraw, thank you for the good info, I appreciate it.
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Osage Selfbow #55@28"
NM Baraga #50@28"
Pronghorn Takedown #42@28"
Ben Pearson Cougar #37@28"

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Deno

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Reply with quote  #15 
shortdraw

Chuck said it all. Welcome to the campfire!!   

Deno

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United Bowhunters of New Jersey
Traditional Archers of New Jersey TANJ

Howard Hill Wesley Special 70#
Howard Hill Big 5  65#
Jerry Hill Stalker Deluxe  60#
Jerry Hill Wildcat ll 50#


 

Northern New Jersey
longbowwally

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Reply with quote  #16 
I have had 4 different saddles over the years - treesuit, Guidos, Tethrd Mantis and a Aero Hunter Flex. 

I killed several deer out of the treesuit and Guidos with trad bows as long as 66".

The Aero Hunter Flex was the best saddle and most comfortable - discounting the Guidos because it is comfortable but bulkier and heavier than a 'normal' saddle.

I have sold all of my saddles and do not plan on buying another one - even though the saddle concept - 'on paper' - appeals to me and I wanted the saddle to work for me.

What I found is you still have to take a lot of stuff with you and the weight savings over a lightweight stand just isn't significant. You still need a way to climb the tree - and for me I also wanted a platform to stand on and have used the Tethrd Predator and the Out on a limb Podium - which are both great platforms. 

The lightest system I used was a LW hand climber top for a climber and platform with the saddle. That was a very compact combination and a pleasure to carry in the woods but climbing, for me, was pretty labor intensive and caused me to sweat and also I did not feel like it was as quiet a way to climb as a normal climber. 

It is not as easy to stay still in a saddle - which I feel is one of the most important things to successful hunting. The reason its hard to stay still is you will need to shift from time to time to be comfortable - more so than a regular stand - and also the nature of the beast makes you want to swing around a little to look around.

I thought having the tree in front of me would be a good thing, and it can be. But I found I like the tree behind me to help cover any movement I make from animals that come up behind me that I am not aware of - I got busted on occasion like this with the saddle.

Saddles have a 'cult like' following and I'm sure some will disagree with my opinions - but they are only my opinions based on my experiences....


hammerstone

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Reply with quote  #17 
I had the original Anderson tree treesling back in the 80s and killed a few deer with it until it
was stolen . started hunting from climbers for quite a few years but , missed the portability 
of the sling so i bought a couple of different ones these last few years . If you can do yourself 
a favor and try out a couple before you buy , as they seem to fit people differently and , one 
that pinches you will be miserable to hunt from .
Treehopper has brought back the original treesling " with improvements " . I highly recommend
it . It seems to be the lightest one out there.
 
Steve

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Reply with quote  #18 
Zip, I still have one of the "Anderson Tree Slings" that is basically new. I replaced the original one with this one and only used it once. Back 35yr ago I was a tree climber and was very comfortable with this set up. Prefer to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground these days. I'd be more than happy to let ya try it out for the season if you want. PM me if you want to give it a try.
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