Is saddle hunting worth it?

Is saddle hunting worth it?
March 31, 2022

By: Adam Miller

If you have been following any hunting content on social media over the past few years you have inevitably been exposed to this new craze of saddle hunting.

It seems everywhere you look there is some new piece of gear, climbing method or gadget you need for saddle hunting. So now you have decided to look into it a little closer, I mean heck, you are reading this article, right?

The further you delve down the rabbit hole you start to get pulled further in by all the hype and promotion, and start to build your gear list.

Once you finally get all of the items that are the “must haves” for any saddle hunter, the bill can be staggering.  You then sit back and think to yourself, “Is it all worth it?”.

Hopefully, by the end of this article, you will be able to answer that question.

It turns out that saddle hunting is not new, in fact saddles have been around since the 1960’s before there was much coverage of hunting at all, let alone social media.

The first Trophyline saddles made by the Green family were made due to a fear of falling out of the tree. The saddle allowed him to hunt from an elevated position while ensuring that he couldn’t fall.

So if you are someone who doesn’t like heights, falls asleep in the stand or simply feels unsteady in a traditional treestand, saddle hunting may be worth it.

While saddle hunting it is very nearly impossible to fall any significant distance due to the fact that while saddle hunting you must be tethered to the tree. If you are someone who is unaffected by the aforementioned fear of heights or falling then we should next dive into your style of hunting.

One of the main benefits of saddle hunting is the ability for the hunter to cut down on the bulk of items brought into the woods.

Generally speaking for a typical mobile hunter you would be bringing with you into the woods a treestand and some way to get up the tree, a backpack and safety harness.

Whether it’s a climbing stand or a  lock-on with sticks, the amount of gear on your back can certainly hinder your ability to move through thick brush, tight trails and moving through the woods quickly and quietly.

For saddle hunters the setup usually consists of a backpack with sometimes no more than a rope or single stick to get up the tree with the saddle, oftentimes, in the pack itself. If you can think to yourself the look of the silhouettes of these two hunters you can quickly see where there would be a benefit.

For someone who hunts mainly preset stands and carries in the bare minimum of weapon and perhaps a game call, the benefit of the saddle may not warrant the cost, for a public land hunter going miles deep bulk can be a huge hindrance and may warrant the cost.

While those benefits may not move the needle for some people, the benefit seen from all saddle hunters is the orientation of the hunter while in the tree.

Saddle hunting places the hunter on the backside of the tree, placing the tree between the hunter and the game they choose to pursue. One of the main objectives of deer hunting is to be able to remain unnoticed, whether you choose to harvest the animal or not.

Saddle hunting aids in this in two ways, the first is obviously being able to hide behind the tree as the animal approaches, however the second may not be so intuitive.  Hunting from a saddle puts you in a more natural looking state in nature.

How many trees do you see with a giant blob on the side of them about twenty feet up? Not many.

Saddle hunting places you in a position where your feet are at the base of the tree and your body gradually comes up and out from there, making it look more like a large tree branch would. From a concealment standpoint the benefits of saddle hunting can hardly be overlooked.

Now that you are beginning to see the benefits of saddle hunting other than just the “cool” factor it’s time to find someone in your area that has a saddle setup and play around with. Try as many as you can. If possible get to a Tethrd teach and train event or a saddle hunting meet up and get your hands on as many saddles as possible.  Tethrd, Trophyline, Latitude and Cruzr all make great saddles but they all feel different for different body types.

Buying the best fitting saddle for your body type the first time is the best way to help mitigate the cost of saddle hunting.

 

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