Saddle Hunting - Year 1 Review

K

KatManDew

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Joined
Feb 26, 2011
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59
Location
TN
First season hunting from a saddle and I'll have to say it was great. I had doubts at first, but I never once took out my summit climbers. Early season I used my beast sticks to pack light into both public and private spots for the mobility. On my private place I took some old summit and api sticks (long and heavy), and used them as permanent fixed sticks in trees where we normally couldn't use a climber, but they were in spots where big bucks are killed every year. Also, this prevented me from having to carry in sticks to these two spots which are my best rut stand locations. I was able to climb in and out faster since I didn't have to mess with my mobile sticks. I took a good 9 point from one of them the last week of archery season out of the saddle. Would not have killed that deer without the flexibility of using a saddle in nearly any tree. The spot just has no trees suitable for my climber.

All in all, I felt safe and was comfortable all season and had no desire to use my summit climber, which I normally wont hunt without due to the safety and comfort factors that stand provides. I went with Tethrd Phantom and Predator platform. It took some getting used to as there was some hip pinch initially and i had to get my body into "saddle shape", but once the MVP attachment came out, i bought one of those and used it as a 2-panel saddle and I had no hip pinch after adding that. Anyone looking might also want to look at the Cruzr XC. Its bulkier and probably not as comfortable wearing during the walk in or out, but i hear it has no hip pinch because of the design and larger support area and there is no need for that 2nd panel to get all day comfort as with the Tethrd. From the reviews, many say the Cruzr is the most comfortable saddle. I may try that one next year and see which I like best. Those are the two options I'd look at if I were just getting into it. Saddles are definitely a fun, safe and comfortable way to hunt if there is anyone on the fence about it. Best thing about it for me is the mobility and the versatility. It also doubles as a good safety harness if you ever want to hunt out of other fixed stands.
 
S

smalljawbasser

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Nov 9, 2013
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1,326
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Elizabethton
I’ll echo almost everything said here - I have the same setup.

it took me 3 sits to figure out how to get comfortable. The first sit was miserable, the second barely tolerable for a couple hours, and the 3rd I found the key to being comfortable. The mobility kept me trying.

You have to trust the thing. I fought it and wouldn’t take off my lineman’s belt. Then when I did I wouldn’t get far enough from the tree. Once I trusted it, the next step was learning how to adjust the bridge, and rotate my hips while in the tree.

I never made the time to practice before an actual hunt. If I had, I would have killed a doe my first sit and a good Buck my 2nd.

Ymmv
 
tree_ghost

tree_ghost

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Joined
Jan 19, 2014
Messages
6,430
Location
mboro, tennessee
This was my first year as well and would say my results were similar and loved it. The hardest part I found was making my self sit still and not swing around to look. I do need to practice more at setting up the sticks I am still slow at set up.
I’m not the most patient hunter out there and find this to be my biggest struggle when in the saddle.
 
K

KatManDew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2011
Messages
59
Location
TN
I’m not the most patient hunter out there and find this to be my biggest struggle when in the saddle.
I swapped my stick's standard straps for the lighter amsteel daisy chains that have the loops. Seemed to speed it up quite a bit. Those straps just took me forever to unwrap and wrap back up on the way out. Definitely on private though, find some cheap used api sticks, the long ones and fix them to your permanent trees then its just go climb up, strap on the ropes and hang your platform.
 
Wolverine72

Wolverine72

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Joined
Aug 24, 2015
Messages
148
First season hunting from a saddle and I'll have to say it was great. I had doubts at first, but I never once took out my summit climbers. Early season I used my beast sticks to pack light into both public and private spots for the mobility. On my private place I took some old summit and api sticks (long and heavy), and used them as permanent fixed sticks in trees where we normally couldn't use a climber, but they were in spots where big bucks are killed every year. Also, this prevented me from having to carry in sticks to these two spots which are my best rut stand locations. I was able to climb in and out faster since I didn't have to mess with my mobile sticks. I took a good 9 point from one of them the last week of archery season out of the saddle. Would not have killed that deer without the flexibility of using a saddle in nearly any tree. The spot just has no trees suitable for my climber.

All in all, I felt safe and was comfortable all season and had no desire to use my summit climber, which I normally wont hunt without due to the safety and comfort factors that stand provides. I went with Tethrd Phantom and Predator platform. It took some getting used to as there was some hip pinch initially and i had to get my body into "saddle shape", but once the MVP attachment came out, i bought one of those and used it as a 2-panel saddle and I had no hip pinch after adding that. Anyone looking might also want to look at the Cruzr XC. Its bulkier and probably not as comfortable wearing during the walk in or out, but i hear it has no hip pinch because of the design and larger support area and there is no need for that 2nd panel to get all day comfort as with the Tethrd. From the reviews, many say the Cruzr is the most comfortable saddle. I may try that one next year and see which I like best. Those are the two options I'd look at if I were just getting into it. Saddles are definitely a fun, safe and comfortable way to hunt if there is anyone on the fence about it. Best thing about it for me is the mobility and the versatility. It also doubles as a good safety harness if you ever want to hunt out of other fixed stands.
Beast sticks are pretty pricey. What are your thoughts on these vs. Other sticks you've tried?
 
1

1smoothredneck

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Joined
Dec 1, 2021
Messages
7
Location
Middle Tennessee
Beast sticks are pretty pricey. What are your thoughts on these vs. Other sticks you've tried?
Tethrd has a brand new product called the Skelator sticks. <$230 for four pack, and all the slick upgrades a guy could want. Quiet & quick Amsteel ropes, packs easy and quiet, rope storage, the works. I’m happy with Hawk full size sticks, but I might pick up some of these Tethrd Skelators also. Beast gear is awesome….. I have tried their lock on stand. It’s all you need. But I dunno that it’s worth the extra coin over my Lone Wolf. $625 for a lock on is nuts!
 
S

smalljawbasser

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Nov 9, 2013
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1,326
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Elizabethton
The hawk helium’s grab the tree great, the steps are awesome, and they are cheap.

They are also cheap pieces of junk, the stacking buttons break the first time you use them and they are heavy and unwieldy.

If you want to be truly mobile get the skeletors. I haven’t used mine yet but they are way lighter and stack much better.
 
Wolverine72

Wolverine72

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Joined
Aug 24, 2015
Messages
148
Tethrd has a brand new product called the Skelator sticks. <$230 for four pack, and all the slick upgrades a guy could want. Quiet & quick Amsteel ropes, packs easy and quiet, rope storage, the works. I’m happy with Hawk full size sticks, but I might pick up some of these Tethrd Skelators also. Beast gear is awesome….. I have tried their lock on stand. It’s all you need. But I dunno that it’s worth the extra coin over my Lone Wolf. $625 for a lock on is nuts!
Yup. I seen those. They look real nice. Got my eye on the skelators for sure. Wonder how they compare to beast sticks for the price. The beast gear is so expensive. Definitely premium pricing.
 
Wolverine72

Wolverine72

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Joined
Aug 24, 2015
Messages
148
The hawk helium’s grab the tree great, the steps are awesome, and they are cheap.

They are also cheap pieces of junk, the stacking buttons break the first time you use them and they are heavy and unwieldy.

If you want to be truly mobile get the skeletors. I haven’t used mine yet but they are way lighter and stack much better.
Thanks! Definitely considering skeletors.
 
S

smalljawbasser

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Elizabethton
For the money, hawks are good sticks. But if you want to be mobile I don’t think they cut it, plus I hate cheap made stuff. The skeletors might be just as bad, but at the price point and the way this stuff resells it’s not much of a gamble.
 
U

UCStandSitter

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Oct 20, 2021
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1,026
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"Plataw"
Tethrd has a brand new product called the Skelator sticks. <$230 for four pack, and all the slick upgrades a guy could want. Quiet & quick Amsteel ropes, packs easy and quiet, rope storage, the works. I’m happy with Hawk full size sticks, but I might pick up some of these Tethrd Skelators also. Beast gear is awesome….. I have tried their lock on stand. It’s all you need. But I dunno that it’s worth the extra coin over my Lone Wolf. $625 for a lock on is nuts!
Had a lot of different sticks over the years. Picked up the Skeletors on release date because they seemed to combine many of the features I was looking for. I do NOT regret that decision. They have been great. Granted I only got to use them on the tail of the season but the weight, the standoff, how they secure together, tree grip, all GREAT. Catman has a pretty good review of em on YT as well as others. For the price, this is the best stick on the market hands down. As stock increases I'm going to dump my secondary setups (XOP Ultras, Muddy Pros, Beasts) and swap out for these across the board. My Muddys were my go to set before this and I shaved a full 4.5lbs going with Skeletors. Probably the biggest upside for me is how they secure together. Those lil nubs almost fit together too well. Can be tight getting them apart. This security allowed me to use an old bow sling and tie to the top stick on the stack. Now I just sling my sticks over my shoulder and skip the step of securing to my pack. If you're anywhere near the plateau I'd be happy to meet up and let you give em a try.
 
S

Swim615

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Joined
Oct 11, 2021
Messages
52
Location
Williamson county
Interested! Following!
Not sure I understand all the benefits.

I did tree work for my business back in the day. Still have my belt, safety ropes, spikes etc. Not sure it'd be comfortable for a several hour hunt though?
 
Gravey

Gravey

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Jul 20, 2005
Messages
31,518
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Christiana (Rutherford County)
Had a lot of different sticks over the years. Picked up the Skeletors on release date because they seemed to combine many of the features I was looking for. I do NOT regret that decision. They have been great. Granted I only got to use them on the tail of the season but the weight, the standoff, how they secure together, tree grip, all GREAT. Catman has a pretty good review of em on YT as well as others. For the price, this is the best stick on the market hands down. As stock increases I'm going to dump my secondary setups (XOP Ultras, Muddy Pros, Beasts) and swap out for these across the board. My Muddys were my go to set before this and I shaved a full 4.5lbs going with Skeletors. Probably the biggest upside for me is how they secure together. Those lil nubs almost fit together too well. Can be tight getting them apart. This security allowed me to use an old bow sling and tie to the top stick on the stack. Now I just sling my sticks over my shoulder and skip the step of securing to my pack. If you're anywhere near the plateau I'd be happy to meet up and let you give em a try.
I spent this year putting stuff together and have yet to hunt out if it but bought the skeletor sticks in Black Friday. Finally got them and messed with them on a tree and think they’ll be great. The way the steps angle away from the tree give more foot room and how the amsteel lock down are pluses. Look forward to trying them out more and more so I’m ready to hunt out of the saddle next season.
 
U

UCStandSitter

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Oct 20, 2021
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"Plataw"
I spent this year putting stuff together and have yet to hunt out if it but bought the skeletor sticks in Black Friday. Finally got them and messed with them on a tree and think they’ll be great. The way the steps angle away from the tree give more foot room and how the amsteel lock down are pluses. Look forward to trying them out more and more so I’m ready to hunt out of the saddle next season.
I still have hogs to occupy my time for a bit longer. Hope to get some more use out of them before cleaning and storage.

My setup is finally exactly where I want it with my Cruzr XC and the Skeletors (until the next must have thing comes along).
 
themanpcl

themanpcl

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Aug 28, 2012
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268
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Lebanon, TN
Disclaimer: My opinions only and from my experiences only. This was my first year using a saddle as well. I didn't use saddle every hunt but got through the awkward first few hunts. I really enjoyed it and will use the saddle more next season. I am a bigger guy 250# so my experiences may differ than if I was 140#. Also I do not have 10 mile hikes into my spots so differences in ounces of weight aren't a factor. I have the hawk helium 20" sticks, hawk saddle and hawk platforms. I didn't want to spend >$600 for something I may not like so I got in for $300 for all new equipment (4 sticks, saddle, platform). I have some things that I would like to change/modify and if I cannot work it out with the present setup, I may try another setup. Sticks: Grip all the trees very well (no kick outs or slips) with cam straps. Will be trying daisy strap, maybe amsteel next season simply for the ease of setup and not performance or weight issues. (4) 20" sticks get me to the 15' height and I really don't go much higher in climber. Saddle: Very easy to use. Comfortable too. I do not like walking with the leg straps on as the size of my legs makes it constricting on long hikes. Loosening makes it worse so there's that. Ropes: All ropes were included. The lineman's rope had a prusic and the tether had a hawk ascender. I replaced both with Ropeman 1's. MUCH easier. I will probably replace the carabiners next year. Platform #1: I added non skid grip tape after I painted it and no slippage even with wet or muddy boots. Platform #2: This is the one that attaches to the top climbing stick. Not a fan but it does have a use if you have a long haul and want limited weight and amount of gear as it is attached to the stick. That being said, might not be the best for a long hunt. Mods: I added 2 dump pouches to the saddle initially. Took them off after 1 hunt. Nite Iyz gear ties, worth weight in gold. I used a $4.50 hammock strap and S hooks for hanging weapon/gear/backpack from tree. Stated before, I added non slip tape to the saddle platforms. I painted sticks and platforms. All in all, this was a great first year for me. I will be practicing with bow at range this winter out of the saddle. One thing I will do next season is begin practice climbing in the summer. Would love to see a saddle hunting forum on here!
 
J

JCDEERMAN

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Jul 19, 2008
Messages
14,081
Location
NASHVILLE, TN
I spent this year putting stuff together and have yet to hunt out if it but bought the skeletor sticks in Black Friday. Finally got them and messed with them on a tree and think they’ll be great. The way the steps angle away from the tree give more foot room and how the amsteel lock down are pluses. Look forward to trying them out more and more so I’m ready to hunt out of the saddle next season.
Keep us abreast on those sticks. I have the Hawks and they seem to try to kick out on me too often. I just got them because they were on clearance. I also have the CRUZR XC and love it!
 

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