Tree saddle hunting, also known as saddle hunting is beginning to get more popular among advanced deer hunters, especially archery hunters and public land hunters. It provides hunters with greater mobility and flexibility compared to traditional tree stands. Here’s a basic guide on how to deer hunt using a tree saddle:
Obtain the Necessary Equipment:
Tree Saddle: Purchase a high-quality tree saddle that fits you comfortably and securely. There are various brands and models available, so do your research and choose one that suits your needs.
Climbing Sticks: You will want a set of lightweight but strong durable climbing sticks. These climbing sticks should get you somewhere between 12 feet and 20 feet high in a tree depending on your preference.
Safety Gear: Always prioritize safety. Wear a full-body safety harness and a lineman’s belt to prevent falls while setting up or hunting from the tree.
Learn The Basics:
Before you head into the field, familiarize yourself with the components of the tree saddle and how to properly put it on and adjust it for a secure fit. Try a practice tree in your yard. Familiarize yourself with what diameter of tree make you feel the most comfortable.
Choose A Hunting Location:
Identify hunting spots with good deer activity and travel routes. Look for well-traveled trails, tree rubs from bucks, scrape lines, licking braches, food sources, and bedding areas. Prior to the hunting season, scout your chosen location to understand deer movement patterns and optimal tree setups. Look for trees with appropriate branches or limbs that match your practice tree to attach your saddle and hunting gear.
Once you’ve chosen a tree that is down wind from your deer activity signs, attach your tree saddle to the trunk using lineman’s ropes and a tether or bridge. Make sure the setup is stable and secure. Your bridge/tether should allow you to move around the tree while staying attached at all times. Attach your gear, such as your bow or firearm, to gear hangers or loops on your saddle. Always use a haul line to raise or lower your gear once you’re in the saddle.
Concealment Moving & Shooting:
Concealment is another consideration. Use natural cover and camouflage clothing to blend into the surroundings. Avoid making excessive movements that might alert nearby deer. One of the advantages of saddle hunting is the ability to shoot 360 degrees around the tree. Practice shooting from various angles and positions to ensure you’re comfortable and accurate.
Safety & Practice:
Always wear your safety harness and lineman’s belt while climbing, setting up, hunting, and descending from the tree. This is crucial to prevent falls and ensure your safety. Saddle hunting requires practice to become proficient. Spend time practicing setting up, climbing, and hunting from the saddle before your hunting season.
Remember that tree saddle hunting requires careful attention to safety and proper technique. If you’re new to saddle hunting, consider seeking guidance from experienced saddle hunters or attending workshops to learn best practices. Always prioritize your safety and the welfare of the wildlife you’re hunting.