Welcome to the Saddle Hunter Community! To get you started on your journey, it would be helpful to understand a few of the terms that may be new to you. Saddle - Any type of sling or harness system used to hang in an elevated position for the purposes of hunting. Some of the popular Saddles among our users are the Trophyline Tree Saddle (no longer commercially available), New Tribe Aerohunter, SitDrag, Guido’s Web, and a few others. Click through the “Saddle Information for New Users” forum for in depth reviews and descriptions of the different Saddles. Tether - This is the rope/webbing/strap used to attach the Saddle, and therefore the hunter, to the tree. Some popular options are heavy duty webbing or climbing rope. This is a very important piece of equipment as it is your primary safety device. Just like traditional treestands, you should always be attached safely to the tree with a heavy duty tether. Tree stand hunters generally use the tether to connect to the back of their safety harness and it is ONLY used to prevent falls and catastrophic injury. Saddle Hunters connect the tether to the front of the Saddle and it holds the weight of the hunter for the entire hunt. Lineman Belt - The lineman belt is borrowed from the telephone/utility pole climbing industry. It is a belt/strap that goes around the tree and connects to the saddle at each hip via “lineman loops” usually with a carabiner. You should ONLY use climbing rated locking carabiners with any Saddle system. The Lineman belt is generally used to climb the tree and removed once the hunter is safely attached to the tether at hunting height. This belt is usually adjustable and allows you to use both hands to climb and setup in the tree while being safely attached. The Lineman belt DOES NOT reduce the need for a tether and is not your primary safety device. When used properly it can reduce the chances of falling and sustaining injury. Bridge - The bridge is the main connection point from the Saddle to the tether. Because it supports your weight and must be extremely durable and strong, the bridge is usually made from climbing rope, Amsteel, climbing runner, or heavy duty nylon webbing. It connects to the loops or hardware located on each hip and is used with a climbing rated carabiner to attach to your tether. The carabiner should slide freely along the bridge allowing the Saddle Hunter to rotate in the tree and achieve a 360 degree shooting range. Platform - Since Saddle hunters are suspended from a tether in the tree, it is important to have a platform. It serves two main purposes. 1 - it allows the hunter a place to rest their feet and take weight off the Saddle. 2 - It allows the hunter to pivot and move around the tree in order to achieve a 360 degree shooting range. Styles of platforms vary greatly from screw in tree steps, strap on tree steps (Ameristeps), DIY versions made of traditional treestand parts, wood blocks, and the list goes on. The platform is placed at the top of the hunters climbing aid and should only be climbed on AFTER the hunter has attached his tether to the tree. Just like traditional treestands, most accidents happen during the transition from climbing aid to platform. Climbing Aid - In order to hunt from a Saddle, you first need to climb the tree. There are no shortage of commercial and DIY options to do this. Hunting ladders, climbing sticks, DRT (Double Rope Technique), SRT (Single Rope Technique), aiders, screw-in steps and strap-on steps are just a few of the options available to Saddle Hunters. Each of these options are highly personal in choice, and what works for one may not work for another. The important thing to remember is no matter what climbing aid you choose, ALWAYS keep safety first, and ALWAYS use a Lineman belt/tether to ensure you are ALWAYS connected to the tree. Climbing the tree is the most dangerous part of any elevated hunting activity. Treat every climbing session with respect and caution. CONCLUSION These make the up the basics of any Saddle hunting setup. From here, there is an endless supply of creative ways to enhance the basic setup. saddlehunter.com is full of ways to maximize the comfort, usability, and safety of your Saddle system. This post is not meant to be an exhaustive list of all the different Saddle, bridge, tether, climbing aid, and platform options available, but to give you a baseline of terms and equipment. Dive into the forums and learn about all the creative ways our users are pushing the boundaries of this exciting way of hunting. Once you decide to take the plunge into Saddle hunting, make sure you practice and familiarize yourself with all your new gear from the ground (or just a few feet off the ground). The time to learn IS NOT in the middle of a hunt after you’ve climbed a tree. Saddle hunting is a very rewarding style of hunting. It is the most mobile, lightweight, and versatile hunting style there is. The Saddle allows you to successfully hide from game (behind the tree trunk), hunt any tree you like (not just ones that accommodate a treestand), and eliminates dead spots by allowing you to truly shoot 360 degrees around the tree. After thoroughly learning their gear, Saddle Hunters almost always feel more safe in a Saddle than a traditional treestand. Many never return to treestand hunting.