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2019-The year of safety

redsquirrel

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Feb 19, 2014
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NJ
I'm declaring 2019 the year of safety around saddlehunter.com. With the recent explosion in saddle hunters I've seen a lot of questionable things floating around here lately. I need you, the community, to call these ideas out. We have developed a culture of safety around here and we need to stick to that. Our mantra has always been about finding new, better and lighter ways to do things while still maintaining safe practices.
 

Nutterbuster

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Oct 12, 2017
Messages
9,416
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Where the skys are so blue!
Sooo no paracord tethers or hanging off of power poles? What about the biners I bought from the dollar store? And we can still put ropeman 1s on amsteel tethers and use nylon tubular as prussics, right?

Right!?

All kidding aside, I think this is an excellent idea. Some of the stuff I've seen lately makes my butt pucker up. It's all fun and sunrise selfies until you're vegetative folks.
 

Islandshooter

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Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
1,098
Location
Flagler Beach, FL
Three only stupid question is there one you don't ask! And this is the perfect place to ask ALL questions!! Especially safety oriented.
 

Ontariofarmer

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Joined
Dec 25, 2015
Messages
5,246
Mostly being too cheap, going off specs and DIY... is the risky part...
Careful working with carbon fiber... another one...
I built some sticks and use Infalt sticks... they are sturdier.... Light is not always better just lighter. And more costly.
 

mattsteg

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Joined
Sep 26, 2018
Messages
2,364
Mostly being too cheap, going off specs and DIY... is the risky part...
Careful working with carbon fiber... another one...
I built some sticks and use Infalt sticks... they are sturdier.... Light is not always better just lighter. And more costly.
At some point another pound or 2 is meaningless. Bulk reduction and pack ability are so much more meaningful for most hunts. Unless you're on a multi-day trek, a streamlined profile matters so much more. Sticks, for example, I can't get too worked up about a little weight here and there - they're mostly just kinda bulky and inconvenient.

And if you're gonna fly close to the sun...have a rock solid backup in place. I'd feel better about someone using a sketchy DIY stick, if they're fully tethered in, using a tree squeeze, etc.
 

Kurt

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Joined
Nov 1, 2018
Messages
2,329
Location
Massachusetts
IMPATIENCE. Lets not always try to cut the top off the learning curve. Some of these techniques require some time close to the ground. As I've heard many times on this site in the short time I've been a member, "20 feet up is not the place to be working on technique" ' or something to that effect.
 

Islandshooter

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Joined
Nov 19, 2018
Messages
1,098
Location
Flagler Beach, FL
This will be my first saddle season. First with amsteel stick mods (if i don't completely convert to versa straps), first in a saddle, first on a platform! It's only January, which gives me about 9 months at ground level to get my system wired!! Thanks to you guys, my tree game is already much safer. Not that I was unsafe before (rock harness on lone wolf's) but now my tethers/ropes are backed up.
Also, this is the first place I recommend to others for ANYTHING SADDLE RELATED!
 

KYHunter

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Joined
Jan 20, 2018
Messages
1,113
This past season was my first saddle season but I spent a few months beforehand on the forum researching gear and techniques before I bought anything. At first I was skeptical of the safety but soon saw that it may be safer than traditional stand hunting. I think all new members would do well to spend a month researching and reading threads before they take the plunge.
 
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Peterk1234

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Joined
Oct 23, 2017
Messages
801
Location
Massachusetts
Great post. I asked this in another thread, I would like to hear about some of the issues and failures people have experienced. With all the new ideas and people becoming involved, there had to be some mishaps. I know I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. Please do not hesitate to post something that did work.

It appears that climbing methods have been fairly well refined and the new methods are a mixture of other ideas or pushing working methods to the limit. Is the increase in risk or complexity really worth it? I think several people will spend the off season answering that question.

I was fortunate this season with no slips, falls or failures. I also kept a close eye on wear and tear on my knaiders, bridge, tether and lineman. Everything still looks awesome. The lineman probably experienced the most wear, which is just some fuzz. I used no knots in any of my ropes. Everything was spliced. I did them myself and was the first time I ever spliced anything. They are rock solid and much easier and compact to pack.

I used the knaider/swaider system and a sitdrag to hang. No issues. I think the key for me was that I had almost five months of lots of practice and I learned to be VERY deliberate with all my movements, doing everything the same way all the time. I am not tethered as I limb. I relied only on my lineman belt. I found the lineman combined with the WE Steps and knaider/swaider to be rock solid as long as I always leaned back into the belt. The only way for me to fall would be a step or aider failure (break).

Five steps (5 pounds) to get me over 20 feet and have platform of 2 steps and 2 ameristeps is as light and compact as I need to be. I climb plenty fast and never break a sweat. Coming down is stupid easy and safe and ascending and descending can be done easily in the dark. Oh, and I have never been quieter.

I have never felt safer in a stand than I do now. The sense of relief I get when that bridge is hooked to tether is hard to put into words; it's just good. My setup requires a rock harness. This allows me to use another prussic, which is hooked into the harness. My bridge can fail and I am still safe. Only my tether lacks redundancy. I can live with that. I would be totally comfortable with a sitdrag only, and I have considered it. I determined though that it was not worth the slight weight or comfort savings. Pete
 

DaveT1963

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Dec 2, 2014
Messages
3,511
The most dangerous thing many of us do is drive to and from hunting spots, especially on hazardous road conditions.
If you want to be safer climbing trees, then use your tether from ground up - it will slow you down (which I think would improve a lot of folks sits) but will reduce chance of falling even more than a lineman's belt.
 

N1ChBryant

Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
81
Location
Ramona Ok
Hard to get hurt with a solid tether in use from the ground up. I would reccomend all on here to go big on their tether and use it while trying any experimental ideas.
 

Vtbow

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SH Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2018
Messages
5,476
The most dangerous thing many of us do is drive to and from hunting spots, especially on hazardous road conditions.
If you want to be safer climbing trees, then use your tether from ground up - it will slow you down (which I think would improve a lot of folks sits) but will reduce chance of falling even more than a lineman's belt.
I agree-- the actual percent chance of being involved in an incident is much much higher when traveling to and from hunting within our vehicles....

BUT, personally, I am very comfortable driving in horrible conditions. I have the right equipment--all wheel drive car, studded Hak's, good windshield wipers--I scrape and brush all the snow off my car before I leave the driveway. I do everything I can to mitigate my own risk of being involved in an accident. But not everyone does that, and it's the outliers, people on the road on bald tires, their defroster doesn't work, there's 12" of snow on top of their car that are the wild cards. They are the risk you can't account for, and the "environmental" factors that you cant control.

What we do is inherently dangerous. It is important for us to recognize this, and that those who are new recognize it as well. After years of working with rope systems and such we can become complacent and comfortable, and and let down our guard to some of the "environmental" factors.

Risk cannot be eliminated. The term "safe" is really non-existent. What we do every day is manage risk to the best of our abilities and the level "EDUCATION"we have on the activity we are partaking in. Control everything we can to the best of our abilities.

IMHO it is our job as members of this community to help those seeking the education and direction in order manage their own risk and comfort level. And, it should be done in a clear, nonjudgmental and respectful way so as to allow them and others to be comfortable asking questions and sharing information for the bettering of the saddlehunter.com community. The better we do this, the less of a chance their will be for an accident in the saddle hunting community, and the methods and gear we have all come to love will potentially receive less scrutiny from the greater hunting community as "crazy" or "unsafe".

@redsquirrel Thank you for bringing the topic of safety and self policing back to the top of the priority list for the upcoming year. It's something we should always be focused and and not take for granted.
 
Last edited:

redsquirrel

Administrator
Staff member
SH Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2014
Messages
14,511
Location
NJ
Great post. I asked this in another thread, I would like to hear about some of the issues and failures people have experienced. With all the new ideas and people becoming involved, there had to be some mishaps. I know I learn more from my mistakes than my successes. Please do not hesitate to post something that did work.

It appears that climbing methods have been fairly well refined and the new methods are a mixture of other ideas or pushing working methods to the limit. Is the increase in risk or complexity really worth it? I think several people will spend the off season answering that question.

I was fortunate this season with no slips, falls or failures. I also kept a close eye on wear and tear on my knaiders, bridge, tether and lineman. Everything still looks awesome. The lineman probably experienced the most wear, which is just some fuzz. I used no knots in any of my ropes. Everything was spliced. I did them myself and was the first time I ever spliced anything. They are rock solid and much easier and compact to pack.

I used the knaider/swaider system and a sitdrag to hang. No issues. I think the key for me was that I had almost five months of lots of practice and I learned to be VERY deliberate with all my movements, doing everything the same way all the time. I am not tethered as I limb. I relied only on my lineman belt. I found the lineman combined with the WE Steps and knaider/swaider to be rock solid as long as I always leaned back into the belt. The only way for me to fall would be a step or aider failure (break).

Five steps (5 pounds) to get me over 20 feet and have platform of 2 steps and 2 ameristeps is as light and compact as I need to be. I climb plenty fast and never break a sweat. Coming down is stupid easy and safe and ascending and descending can be done easily in the dark. Oh, and I have never been quieter.

I have never felt safer in a stand than I do now. The sense of relief I get when that bridge is hooked to tether is hard to put into words; it's just good. My setup requires a rock harness. This allows me to use another prussic, which is hooked into the harness. My bridge can fail and I am still safe. Only my tether lacks redundancy. I can live with that. I would be totally comfortable with a sitdrag only, and I have considered it. I determined though that it was not worth the slight weight or comfort savings. Pete
I'm glad you posted Peter. I think the knaider/swaider is a great example for the safety topic. You have been climbing with it all year and got very comfortable with the system. I tried the swaider the couple weeks before the season but I didn't feel comfortable with it so I carried 8 stepps and a knaider all season. My system was bulletproof for me. I'm fooling around more with the knaider/swaider/double swaider now but I'm only going to use it in the woods once/if I'm comfortable. Why do I bring this up? I've seen multiple posts where people say I just got my saddle, platform and stepps in the mail this morning and I'm going out to climb for my first hunt with the knaider/swaider! This scares the crap out of me. I would consider this an advanced climbing system that requires lots of practice near the ground at home before you can go out and hunt with it.
 

public_land

Active Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
145
Location
North Central Oklahoma
First season with my saddle, aside from using it a couple of times about 10 years ago.

I wish I had spent more time with it years ago. Being tied to the tree from the ground up is far more comforting than just climbing up a ladder. I take safety a little more seriously now. Not sure what changed, supervising others at work, kids at home now, more aware of the possibility of injury, who knows. But what I do know is with the saddle system, I do not cut corners. I used to just be strapped to the tree while hanging stands and sticks. Sometimes use a harness. Now I am tied in before I leave the ground and until I am back on the ground. There is no reason this hunting method should not be the safest available. I tell my buddies all the time now that they should be more consistent with using their harness and other safety gear. It goes a long way to improving your hunt. You almost forget you are off the ground once you are set. Knowing that your gear is rated for your safety brings great piece of mind. Stay safe out there!

I have a saying, kind of a joke, when my buddies tell me they are about to go do this or that... I tell them "make good choices". Half way joking but hopefully it helps them think again before trying something they may regret.
 

DaveT1963

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Joined
Dec 2, 2014
Messages
3,511
I agree-- the actual percent chance of being involved in an incident is much much higher when traveling to and from hunting within our vehicles....

BUT, personally, I am very comfortable driving in horrible conditions. I have the right equipment--all wheel drive car, studded Hak's, good windshield wipers--I scrape and brush all the snow off my car before I leave the driveway. I do everything I can to mitigate my own risk of being involved in an accident. But not everyone does that, and it's the outliers, people on the road on bald tires, their defroster doesn't work, there's 12" of snow on top of their car that are the wild cards. They are the risk you can't account for, and the "environmental" factors that you cant control.

What we do is inherently dangerous. It is important for us to recognize this, and that those who are new recognize it as well. After years of working with rope systems and such we can become complacent and comfortable, and and let down our guard to some of the "environmental" factors.

Risk cannot be eliminated. The term "safe" is really non-existent. What we do every day is manage risk to the best of our abilities and the level "EDUCATION"we have on the activity we are partaking in. Control everything we can to the best of our abilities.

IMHO it is our job as members of this community to help those seeking the education and direction in order manage their own risk and comfort level. And, it should be done in a clear, nonjudgmental and respectful way so as to allow them and others to be comfortable asking questions and sharing information for the bettering of the saddlehunter.com community. The better we do this, the less of a chance their will be for an accident in the saddle hunting community, and the methods and gear we have all come to love will potentially receive less scrutiny from the greater hunting community as "crazy" or "unsafe".

@redsquirrel Thank you for bringing the topic of safety and self policing back to the top of the priority list for the upcoming year. It's something we should always be focused and and not take for granted.

Absolutely agree - in the DoD/USAF we are taught Risk management - it is just a part of what we do. Some risks can and should be accepted - but not blindly. Hell living is risky - we all need to learn to think through and mitigate risk to an acceptable level.
 
Joined
Sep 9, 2018
Messages
83
Location
SE Ohio
Great post and reminder. I need to take safety to the next level next year. I felt safe mostly but using spurs had it's learning curve. I never had both gaff out but I did have one go a couple of time. I'm sure my lineman's harness would have caught me if both went but smacking into the tree wouldn't have been good. I also need to research on here the best way to deal with branches in trees. I used my tether most of the time in those scenarios. I'm wondering if a second lineman's belt might be the way to go?

Anyways, I'd encourage all the new guys to practice a bunch in the off season. And don't just practice on easy trees. Practice on crooked trees or trees with multiple limbs. I can tell you from experience, learning this mid season was not easy. I'm excited for the warmer weather to come so I can get better and better at my setups.
 

public_land

Active Member
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Messages
145
Location
North Central Oklahoma
Great post and reminder. I need to take safety to the next level next year. I felt safe mostly but using spurs had it's learning curve. I never had both gaff out but I did have one go a couple of time. I'm sure my lineman's harness would have caught me if both went but smacking into the tree wouldn't have been good. I also need to research on here the best way to deal with branches in trees. I used my tether most of the time in those scenarios. I'm wondering if a second lineman's belt might be the way to go?

Anyways, I'd encourage all the new guys to practice a bunch in the off season. And don't just practice on easy trees. Practice on crooked trees or trees with multiple limbs. I can tell you from experience, learning this mid season was not easy. I'm excited for the warmer weather to come so I can get better and better at my setups.
Be it tether or second lineman's belt, I think it is personal preference. Just make sure you are attached at all times.
 

DaveT1963

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Dec 2, 2014
Messages
3,511
Be it tether or second lineman's belt, I think it is personal preference. Just make sure you are attached at all times.
A tether is far more safe and would cause far less injuries then using only a lineman's belt. The ONLY downside to using a tether is the added time and effort to move it - but in all truth, with using a lineman's belt moving a tether is not all that hard or time consuming. Changing our mindset is the biggest hurdle.
 
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