Brandon's First Saddle Hunt!

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  • SquatchBot's avatar

    Hi @Brandon! Congratulations on your purchase! Saddle hunting is a great way to hunt! Here are some tips to get you started:
    1. Make sure you have the right gear for the terrain you'll be hunting in.
    2. Practice setting up and taking down your saddle to get comfortable with the system.
    3. Get to know the area you'll be hunting in and scout for the best spots.
    4. Have patience and be prepared to SquatchBot is GoWild’s furry assistant powered by artificial intelligence. He comments on all posts flagged as questions. It’s a good idea to also ask a human.

  • Nicholas's avatar

    The sticks are okay, not the best. Recommend getting mechanical ascenders if you don’t already have, and also a way to stow/hang gear in the tree.

  • Brad's avatar

    I would go out with all of your gear for a practice run and get 1-2 sticks off the ground the set everything up. This showed me what I needed (bow/gun hanger, more carabiners, carrying pouch, etc.).

  • Brandon's avatar

    @Nicholas that’s why I was looking at I was gonna probably purchase them a little later on but definitely want to get either a rope man 1 or 2

  • Brandon's avatar

    @Brad thank you man!

  • Brad's avatar

    @Brandon we’ve been talking about it a ton on uncensored. Check out that podcast: and we have some blogs like this one:

  • Sean's avatar

    I love saddle hunting! The Hawk Helium Hammock set is a great way to get started into saddle hunting. Practice with your gear, how to climb, how to set everything, how to maneuver around the tree, and how to shoot your bow/gun from the saddle. Since the Hawk Helium Hammock comes with an ascended already, I would recommend getting one more mechanical ascender (Ropeman 1 is my recommendation for the Hawk ropes due to size and the Ropeman 2 has little teeth that grip the rope and make it a little tough to adjust). With the two ascenders you’ll have one for your tether and linesman rope, this will save you all kind of headache! Always inspect your ropes, especially the HAWK supplied ones. I made it s little over a full season and my tether rope had s blow out (the core pushed through the outer sheath). Good luck with your new saddle, I’m sure you’ll love it!

  • Brandon's avatar

    @Brad that’s perfect been watching a lot of YouTube videos and reading articles I want to get as much info as possible before my setup gets here so I have the basic knowledge.

  • Brandon's avatar

    @Sean thanks man appreciate it!

  • Mike's avatar

    Treat it like scuba diving. Don’t deploy it into the field until everything about it is second nature. You don’t want to be underwater or hanging in the air while trying to learn your equipment. Practice setting everything up until it feels like complete second nature and your hunts will be successful much quicker. Good luck!

  • Zac's avatar

    What @Brad said is spot on. It’s a sweet way to hunt slip in and out with less bulk IMO. But practice is a must. Start low like he said and double check all your connections and everything to make it second nature. Then take everything you’re going to hunt with out and practice like you’re setting up to hunt before season actually starts. I thought I had a good system down this year and the opening morning of early archery I was all over the place didn’t know what to do with my pack, bow, which side to put what on and so forth. I also recommend if you archery hunt to practice shooting from it. Doesn’t have to be super high just one stick will simulate it well. Different angles mess with your shots more than you think. And YouTube is your friend if you don’t know how to do something.

  • Kris's avatar

    Knee pads are a must

  • Brandon's avatar

    @Zac that was helpful man thanks, just tried my buddies saddle and I like the feel sitting in it just need to get used to the platform.

  • PK's avatar

    Don’t forget to set your platform to your strong side and not directly underneath your climbing sticks and always toe lock or cam lock your platform for a more steady base. And practice all your weak side shots cuz it’s a bit different then a hang on stand as far as shooting of from it. Good luck

  • Matt's avatar

    This was my first year saddle hunting as well. My one critique on the Hawk set up is the platform is not nearly as sturdy. It doesn’t feel like it locks in as good as the predator platform. I started with it and then switched to the predator platform another thing I would highly recommend if that kit does not come with a recliner or MVP strap I would get one from tethered. It makes a huge difference for getting comfortable. The other thing I found is if you Slide way down in your tether to almost a seated position and put that recliner strap in the middle of your back. It’s almost as comfortable sitting in a stand, but for the most part, it just takes a lot of time to figure out what’s comfortable for you. I spent a lot of hours figuring it out. My initial reaction saddle hunting was I hated it was super uncomfortable, but I kept after it, in the more time I spent the more ways I found to get comfortable and now I can sit from daylight till dark with no problems just stick with it because it rly is a a great way to hunt esp when hunting those big pieces of public that require long walks and constant changing of set ups

  • Mark's avatar

    Congratulations Brandon, I’m A Michigan Saddle Hunter have been hunting this method for 3 years I use climbing sticks . But I hunt permanent sets on private land , much different than being mobile hunter. John Eberhart The Godfather of saddle hunting would be A fine choice to tune in on YouTube will teach you A lot Good luck practicing is key. Mark

  • Zac's avatar

    @Brandon I understand. You’ll do fine just put in a little time. If you purchased the Hawk platform I recommend adding some traction to it. It can be slick even if your boots are wet from dew. Use a grinder and cut slots on the outside and you can add grip tape to the top or that paint with sand or whatever in it. Also strictly my opinion but saddle hunting was meant to be more streamline and simple with less bulk than a tree stand. So be careful about getting sucked into all the gear and gadgets they sell for everything under the Sun. I added pouches and hooks and this and that to mine when I started. Now after a full season and many many hours in a saddle I don’t have anything on it except one S beaner and a 8mm rope with a ropeman on it. Streamline is best and I’m up and down a tree fully set up or tore down in under 10 minutes usually without sound too. I still use a stand setup also. To me it’s an additional tool. Not a end all be all. Good luck with it hope to see you get a deer out of it next season!

  • Eric's avatar

    Be safe first. Get familiar with your setup. It

  • Adam's avatar

    You got to practice otherwise plan on getting there earlier lol but everyone is going to say that so I won’t harp on it to much but what I don’t hear much is learn some knots and then learn to tie them with one hand.

  • Josh's avatar

    Saddle hunting is awesome. My words of advice though is to watch your ropes. They don't come with very good rope. To make sure you are safe tie a knot at the very end of your tether every single time in case the outer rope breaks and you slide down. You can always order some 9mm Sterling from Eastern Woods Outdoors if you notice something isn't right. I use the sticks and you just have to make sure that they are set correctly. They aren't the best at biting the tree so just take your time.

    As others have stated, find a tree and practice, practice, practice. Practice in and after rain. Practice leaning trees, once you get the climbing down Practice shooting. Shoot strong side and weakside. Practice going over your tether and leaning off shots (I always like one knee into the tree when pushing off with the other foot). I don't use knee pads because they annoy me, I just bring a thermaseat cushion and strap it to my tether at the needed height.

    Good luck, once you get the hang of it, it's a blast.

  • Josh's avatar

    If you're looking for the perfect set up get ready to drop some money lol I am a big gear head and love trying new things, so I came into this trying to keep costs low and now at the end of the season I'm probably $1k deep and Im a big time DIY'er and i haven't even tried mechanical ascenders (I dont plan on getting one; check out Hang Free they do a lot with swabisch hitches and tinders and they make for really easy adjustments). Something I found is that saddle hunting is addicting and can be expensive, but I've killed a bunch of deer out of one just this year and at the beginning of the year I had never even shot a deer out of a stand. It's definitely a lot of fun. I'm hoping that @GoWild adds a separate saddle hunting section in the future in the interests.

  • Mike's avatar

    First get a decent saddle , stay away from Hawk!
    You need to find a climbing system. I love wild edge steps, for more then one reason. Once you learn to use them you can climb all kinds of different trees. Second you can also me ake a ring of steps with them.
    To many people rely on platforms. Rings in of steps weather wild edge or many other companies , will let you walk around the tree. Helping you hide from the deer like a squirrel hides from you. It also allows you to avoid making weak side shots. This is a it of a learning curve. Do your homework. Don't complicate your climbing system. Your objective is to get to height and hunt.
    Start out practicing, at the bottom of the tree. Shoot get use to shooting from the tree. Once your comfortable at the bottom move up the tree and shoot. This is not like being in a treestand , shoot out of the tree! Remember don't complicate your climbing , especially if your just starting out keep it simple stupid , is my policy. Good luck

  • Cody's avatar

    I wouldn't spend money on any mechanical ascenders, learn to tie a distel or swabisch hitch or use a tender for your prussic knot. Anything mechanical has a greater chance of failing as long as you practice your knots enough to know how to tie them well. Have a system that works best for you & keep practicing that system until you think you could do it with your eyes closed then practice some more. I just started one sticking & rappelling down this year & that's definitely the system I prefer but to each their own. Keep your tether tight, your arrows true & stay safe. Good luck & I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!!!

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Brandon's avatar

Brandon R


Avid hunter and Founder of the Rocket Outdoorz hunting page! Follow it on Facebook, instagram, YouTube, and Tiktok!!!

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