- Saddle Hunting Lineman's Rope
Saddle Hunting Lineman's Rope
By: Jeremy Dinsmore
“Hold on for dear life!” That is what I used to say inside my head as a young teenage hunter when I would be ascending and descending a tree during a hunt.
What I am getting at here is that it wasn’t uncommon to be fully attached to the tree from the ground up in my earlier hunting days.
Safe…heck no! However, the homemade stand my father had made was only about the height of a treehouse. As I got older and ventured into ladder stands, I still rarely used a safety harness.
Fast forward to my twenties and thirties, I always use a safety harness. The beauty of saddle hunting is that your saddle is your safety harness.
A common question I received at the PA Great American Outdoor show this past February from people who never saw a saddle or knew how they worked was how do you climb up the tree safely? My answer would be the same each time. I told them I used climbing sticks with my lineman's rope wrapped around the tree to keep me safe and secure and allow me to have both hands free.
Let’s talk a little more about the importance of a lineman’s rope, material/size and how you can store it for your hunts.
The Purpose & How To
The main purpose of a lineman’s rope is to keep you safely connected to the tree while you climb so that you don’t fall. This can be considered the most important piece of equipment that you need no matter what method of hunting you are doing up in a tree.
A lineman’s rope should be at least 8 feet long and rated at a minimum of 5,000 lbs of strength.
Ropes can come in a variety of colors and thickness. I currently use the Tethrd 8mm Lineman’s Rope. This specific rope is rated at 9,000 lbs of strength! It is a lot lighter compared to its counterpart, the 11mm lineman’s rope. It also stores a lot better in your pouch as well.
The 11mm rope works perfectly fine; however, it just comes down to budget and personal preference.
The majority, if not all, of lineman’s ropes come with a spliced eye loop, carabiner and a prusik cord. When you wear your saddle into the field and get to your hunting destination you will remove the rope from one of your side pouches. I always have my rope attached on my left lineman’s loop on my Tethrd Phantom saddle. To do this, I simply attach it by putting the rope around the lineman’s loop and through the rope's spliced eye and cinch down.
All the extra rope will be used to go around the tree and clip onto the right side of my saddle’s lineman’s loop. At this point, I can control the distance I am away from the tree by either the prusik knot or by using a Ropeman 1 ascender.
The Ropeman 1 ascender is a lot easier to use and is user friendly to work with one hand.
The prusik knot works fine, but you just need to loosen and slide it each time you need to make an adjustment.
So for efficiency, the ascender is the way to go. When you begin your climb and place each climbing stick on the tree, you will be safely secured because of the lineman’s rope. With both hands free now you can place each step in the appropriate place and continue your climb. Once you get to your top climbing height, setting up your platform is a lot easier with two hands. After you get that settled and set onto the platform, you are ready to connect your tree tether.
At this point you will now be connected to the tree in two different locations: the lineman’s rope and tree tether. Ensure your tree tether is safely secured and then unclip your lineman’s rope. Pass it around the other side of the tree and put the remaining rope into your pouch.
When you climb down the tree you will complete the same safety measures as you descend.
The lineman’s rope plays an important role in keeping you safe while you hunt. This one single piece of rope has helped me get more comfortable while climbing up and down trees. No more saying to myself, “hold on for dear life,” while I go up and down the tree! Do yourself a favor and make sure you always use a lineman’s rope!