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Saddlehunter

Tree hunter

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Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
132
Question for all .
Besides just being fun , have you found saddlehunting has added to your success as a hunter ?
Judgment free
 

MattMan81

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Jan 13, 2020
Messages
1,628
Location
S.E. Michigan
Yes. But could probably do the same using a stand. Being mobile has made me more successful. But the mobile stands with me and those metal seats do not agree. Saddle hunting has been more exciting and got me out more. But has also cost me a shoot or two based on being more exposed. But I feel using the system more and setting up better can help with that.
 

Red Beard

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Mar 3, 2019
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3,131
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In my skin
ABSOLUTELY! I don't believe ol @Nutterbuster in that access to high density game is the one thing that does something spectacular for me regarding harvesting more deer each year. I mean, success just came uber-naturally when I donned a saddle. Well that... and all the other gear I bought because I became part of this forum.

;)
 

Bigterp

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Sep 11, 2017
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Baltimore, Maryland
Yes, but only because it caused me to rethink my approach & dial in n a system. Add to that I never really found a remotely lightweight stand /climbing system that I felt comfortable with being a large human. So for argument sake it’s possible without the saddle, but I prefer it. That equates to more confidence in my setup/system & the stealthiness to execute (quite literally) at the moment of truth. I’ve quite literally more than doubled the lbs of venison in my freezer & increased my enjoyment doing it.
 

trailblazer75

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Dec 24, 2018
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Springfield, MO
I believe its aided me in killing deer.

I go further with more confidence and less weight. I hate the idea of setting up less because I'm not lugging a stand. But I came to find mobile hunting in a backward manner and discovered saddles before super light stands. Now I have a light stand and that has its place. I think of it like a bunch of tools in my tool box and I use them as I need to. For me, the more tools I have the more likely I am to find a reason, time and place to use those tools. So I'd say, it has certainly created an uptik in my killing.
 

elk yinzer

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Oct 23, 2017
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1,702
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State College, PA
I switched from a climbing stand and became much more intentional about finding THE tree and that has made an impact. I spent one year in between carrying around a 12lb stand and 10 pounds of sticks right before the saddle and mobile fad went boom. A handful of years later I have a hybrid setup, the LWCG .5 and saddle, that weighs about 1/2 that. Hybrid setup is a perfect blend of both worlds for me as the minimal platforms and ROS are not for me. I have issues with excessive movement setting up shots with the pure saddle style.

I wouldn't attest that I undoubtedly owe it to killing more deer, but it's magnitudes more pleasant to carry and opens up some backcountry I probably would not have accessed in my Summit so I don't think it's too much of stretch to say it's improved my gameplan. Although I'm not one of those guys that feeds my ego by killing everything 7 miles in deep, I have my share of spots 100 yards off the road too, but it's nice to have options.
 

DB4x4

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Jul 25, 2018
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1,045
Absolutely. I used to carry 20+ lbs of metal and hunt trees. Now I carry a fraction of that, and hunt deer instead.

Climbing a tree with my old clickety-clank was a lot of work. I wasn't very successful and I would get burnt out quickly. Now I enjoy myself, even if I don't get anything. Climbing the tree is easier, more fun, and I get to rappel down afterward.

Hunting from a saddle has made me vastly more efficient and has reignited that fire I had when I was a kid.
 

Schwonkhead

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Feb 10, 2021
Messages
157
Location
Illinois
TBD, this will be my first year trying. I will say that I have become more successful than a lot of my hunting group because I adapt to how the deer move through our area year to year as opposed to hunting the same tree for 30 years. I suspect the saddle will help with that, but I also have success from the ground sitting at the base of a tree when I find a good spot.
 

Fl Canopy Stalker

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Feb 4, 2021
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Yes and no. From a strictly numbers stand point, I have not seen an increase in number of deer or hogs I shot. However from a quality of game (size) and pure timing standpoint, yes. I spend less time lined up in a single tree (all day sit). I find myself tracking further into lands. I spend more time scouting preseason and less time hunting per say because I no longer look for a certain size tree, with certain shot clearings, close enough to the truck, ect. Now when I scout I spend more time looking for signs closer to bedding areas and water sources. Many of these areas do not necessarily have trees that favored my old stands (ie too small of diameter, split trucks or leaning trees). So while numerically I have not seen an increase in numbers, I have seen an increase in efficiency as well as quality of the game shot. Plus for some reason I feel my form is better in my saddle. It might only be in my mind, but it definitely seems like I pay less attention. My mechanics changed a little. Now instead of aiming at the horizon and then bending at the waist, it’s basically a slip of the bridge through a carabiner to change the angle and draw while facing the animal. PS keeping the tree between you and the deer is definitely beneficial as well.
 

131north

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Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
231
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
I think it has because it keeps me in the woods longer. I can hang longer even when the conditions are not ideal or I'm not seeing deer than I could in my fixed stands. Plus, there's something about making those little micro moves, maybe moving up 30 yards, or turning to face another direction, that help keep your head in the game.

I'll also add that because the gear is so dang small I've been able to buy so much more new stuff and hide it from the Mrs. that I'm also just benefitting from using modern equipment versus literally stuff I've been using since probably 1996.
 

Bigterp

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I’ll add this also, before saddle hunting I did some really sketchy stuff climbing. Refining my saddle setup made me examine some of that & abandon the stuff I don’t feel comfortable with. I understand that there’s an argument to be made on whether the actual saddle hunting aspect is safer than stand/harness ( but that’s another can of worms) I know that there’s a good chance setting OG lone wolf stick in bad weather/dark would’ve resulted in a mishap sooner or later, which I did for years. Not to mention the untethered acrobatics getting a stand off my back while hanging with 1arm & sometimes 1 foot on the stick. So not completely related but long term it makes me a better killer & more venison if I live to fight another day.
 

Exhumis

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Mar 12, 2019
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1,684
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Northern Virginia
I’ll say yes but for a different reason. It’s made me enjoy being in the woods more. I have a rotating list of properties I hunt because of development and getting sold off. This caused me to have multiple stands and have to spend multiple days in the woods setting/taking down, moving and relocating, etc. With a busy job and busy family this was quickly starting to wear me out. Saddle hunting allows me to conduct an electronic survey and then go in and set up accordingly and allows me adaptability should the need arise. Additionally, having back issues and sworn out body was not conducive to carrying sticks and a stand on my back. It’s because of that I’m still hunting and enjoying it.
 

boyne bowhunter

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NW Michigan
I can't say hunting from a saddle has improved my "deer production". That's a hard statistic for me to define. At this point in my hunting lifecycle I've become relatively picky about what I actually will try to kill so I just don't kill the numbers I used to. That transition to picky actually occurred before I started saddle hunting and I'd have to say that I'm probably pretty close to on a par between the climber and the saddle.

What I can certainly attest to is, as @DB4x4 alluded to, is that I really enjoy the process of hunting again. In turn, that means I look forward to hunting and actually spend more time on stand which should, in theory anyway, increase my opportunities. After 40+ years of bow hunting (20+out of the climber) I had found myself in a bit of a rut. Not that I was sick of hunting but it had become a bit stale and I might have passed up days where weather or the will to lug that climber a mile or so one way would affect my hunting decisions. Hunting with the saddle has rejuvenated the whole experience for me and now I can't wait to get out there and get after it again, whatever the conditions.

As far as I perceive the benefits of the saddle, the ability to access spots and set up quietly is the key for me. With the climber on my back, in spite of my best efforts, I couldn't sneak through the brush. There was always some sort of underbrush scrapping and clanking off the climber. Then there's climbing with the climber . . . I really never mastered keeping that silent. I am much, much stealthier with the saddle and one stick. That said, I can't honestly say I see any more deer than I did when I was using the climber. It may be that I put too much concern on this aspect as I have shot deer that approached me while I was clanking my way up the tree before. At any rate, it makes me feel better about my approach and there's something to be said for that.
 

MIPublic

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Oct 5, 2020
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376
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SW MI
Only having half a season under my belt I can say my bow season was no more or less successful than my previous one season.

With that being said I am infinitely more comfortable in the tree than I ever was prior. This alone makes me feel it's better suited. I know others have said the same, but something about feeling that constant pressure of being tied to the tree makes me feel secure more than I ever did in a ladder or lock on. This will allow me to focus more on the hunt, and not in the back of my mind be thinking about whether or not I'm going to fall out while sitting there.

I'm looking forward to a full season in the saddle now that I've somewhat dialed in my gear choices, had time to practice, and study the land more. Should be a fun fall.
 

TNbowhunter

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Mar 12, 2019
Messages
813
Location
Middle Tennessee
Yes. I quit carrying my climber because it was too heavy, cumbersome, and noisy, so that limited me to only hunting ladder stands/lock-ons. As a man of limited means, that meant I only hunted the same dozen or so trees all fall. While I still hunt the “ol faithful” stands, having the saddle allows me to hunt a TON more spots because I don’t have to buy a stand for each spot I want to hunt, and pre-drilling with bolts and the saddle is a spot-multiplier, so to speak. I killed my buck last year out of one such spot (I didn’t have enough stands to hang one there, but it was a spot I liked and wanted to hunt).
More than that, as others have said, it’s been something that’s kept my attention on deer almost year-round by inspiring me to focus in on my gear and tactics a lot more. Some folks like to just show up and shoot a big buck and that’s that; I’d rather “work at it” all year (in one way or another) because deer hunting is my passion, and the more time I can spend doing it or thinking about it, the better.
 

Still Kicking

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Jul 22, 2020
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687
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Central Illinois
Yes, I can stay in the saddle all day but the stands aggravate my lower back pretty quickly. So from a comfort level the saddle is the winner.
 

ThePennsylvanian

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Feb 13, 2019
Messages
642
Location
Western Pennsylvania
I feel that the gear itself didn't necessarily aid in producing more deer for me. The real difference for me came in the change in mindset that using the saddle has produced. The versatility of a saddle also I'd say helps too. What I mean by all this is say when I used a climber and I was deep in, once I was setup I was reluctant to climb back down and move, but now I'll move immediately if I feel I need to. Also if I get to an area and I feel I may be better off on the ground or still hunting, I'm doing it, even though I'm wearing my saddle. If I took my treestand, I always felt like I needed to use it since I carried the thing out there, and I dang sure wasn't still hunting with a climber on my back.
In those ways, I've improved my opportunities at deer.
 
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