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I have the beast sticks, very light & grip the tree like crazy.
Hawke helium lites are good and the Muddy Pros...hope I got that right....are good and versatile as I can use the smaller step as an offset if needs be. Again....look into making your own ropes for the safety line and the lineman's belt. And, do not go cheap on carabiners....that is your neck/a$$ in the tree. A ropeman ascender is a good useful item. R&W rope is a good place to get your gear. I learned a ton from making my own ropes.
 

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Check out saddlehunter.com, it’s a wealth of information. They even have a members map so you can find someone close to you and try out their saddle before you buy. There are a few threads there about using a crossbow from saddles too. Can’t wait for my Cruzr to arrive this week
 

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I want to thank Spartan for the tip on Cruzr saddles. After watching YouTube video reviews most agree they are really comfortable. I am rethinking tethrd saddles however I do like some of there accessories. The nation is a wonderful resource for like minded hunters.
No credit ... to unlike minded hunters? :p ;)
 

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I have been interested In lightening my load from my Summit Viper tree stand. Which, in my option is the most comfortable tree stands you can buy however, heavy to tote for a older fella. That brings me to my question, hunting from a saddle. It looks like a very mobile and light weight option. Does anyone have any experience with saddle hunting and am I barking up the wrong tree? Thanks
I saddle hunt with a bow (have not tried it with a crossbow).

I use a cruzr -- very lightweight and easy/

I think how you get up the tree is the kicker. Sticks work well -- but now you are getting heavy and bulky. I went to the rope technique of the ny saddle hunters (see Log into Facebook). I use the "DRT" technique.

The pros of that are I got about 7 lbs of stuff to carry. The cons are you really need to pre select and tree and have a run a paracord into the tree so that you can just climb. Using a throw line and weight is possible, but I think kinda noisy.

It does feel safer -- and I have also snoozed in the saddle -- it is quite comfortable.

hth

Jerry
 

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I put together a DIY saddle about two years ago. I tried it a few times with the crossbow and wasn't crazy about the results. It was difficult for me to maneuver the crossbow fully from the saddle. I put the gear together with the idea of hunting deep into public areas with a handgun (which I still haven't done) but think that combination would be ideal for the saddle platform. I use lightweight Millennium aluminum climbing sticks with the saddle. Wouldn't do the DIY project if I had to do it over today. Gear is much improved and you are probably getting a superior system now. DIY is still workable if you are on a tight budget or already have some of the gear on hand for the project.
 

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I’m always open minded to new ways, but, I, personally, have not been interested enough to try a saddle. Especially, if the method is to use steps and a base. By the time you have steps, a base, saddle, ropes, and other miscellaneous gear, you lose what would be the biggest draws to me (which is weight and minimization. I realize other advantages they offer. I also realize there are several other methods to get up the tree for saddle, but those don’t appeal to me. But I can appreciate and understand while it would be to some folks.

For me I have been successful on public using the Summit Viper (aluminum version) with Hazmore seat and Third Hand Archery straps. I also bought the XOP Treestand Transport System (replacement strap system), which I like so far. I’m just small enough that I may try the Mini Viper, which sheds a few pounds, is less bulky, and would not have the back of my boots hitting as easily when traversing over fallen trees etc.

Or, I take a Big Game tree seat that is no longer made (for hunting from the ground). I modified it to include an addition strap for the tree. This, IMHO, is far superior to any type of stool because you are up against the tree. I’ll use this in areas where I walk in further and/or when I’m in areas without trees suitable for using the Viper. As most of you know, part of the beauty of the crossbow is that it’s already drawn back and can be very accurate, which aids in hunting from the ground. Hunting from the ground using a tree seat can be effective in the right situations using a crossbow.

I’ll also using ladder and fixed stands in some situations, but the Viper and the tree seat are the best mobile options for me at this point.
 

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Saddle plus the bottom part of a climber is what I used last year. Actually used the seat of a lone wolf hand climber until it crapped out on me in November. That was a light weight combo while it lasted. To me it’s much easier than fiddling with sticks or wild edge steps. Just attach climber base, climb up on it, attach your tether, and up you go. Tethrd menace is what I used. Not as comfortable as a summit but it wasn’t bad at all. What I like the most about a saddle is how easy it is to maneuver around the tree and get a shot. Compared to a climber or lock on where your backs against the tree it definitely has its advantages. I’d have to guess that the JX3 would be up there as far as comfort goes, but you can get a back rest for most of ‘em
 

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I fought the saddle for quite awhile before I gave in. I know it looks uncomfortable and maybe even awkward, but it can be very comfortable, it's very safe when done correctly, very mobile, you can easily shoot a crossbow(low teather, learn to shoot either hand, shoot in the leaning position so you shoot over your low teather and in front of the tree, do this and you can shoot 360 without getting off the platform). But if your comfortable with the climber and hunt straight trees only, it's a great option too (shooting rail is a big plus)
 

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I put together a DIY saddle about two years ago. I tried it a few times with the crossbow and wasn't crazy about the results. It was difficult for me to maneuver the crossbow fully from the saddle......
Pretty much the sole reason I picked up a Ravin R26. My little deadly pocket rocket. Plenty maneuverable from a saddle. ;)
 

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Here is a pretty good over view video on using a saddle. It just touches what a lot of folks feel are the advantages of using one without getting to deep into specifics.

If that ... looks comfortable to you guys you're a lot more Spartan than me ...lol :oops:😂 And as far as a position for good shooting form?... Fohgettaboutit! 😵
 

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If that ... looks comfortable to you guys you're a lot more Spartan than me ...lol :oops:😂 And as far as a position for good shooting form?... Fohgettaboutit! 😵
I was on the fence about that along with shooting freehand compared to a summit viper where you have a solid rest with 3 points of contact w/ the shooting rail.

Not too mention the tethers anchor point to the saddle being lower on your body compared to a conventional harness. Or maybe not anchor point, but being clipped into the bridge and the saddle it’self cupping your rear end. I’m no expert nor did I ever take physics but it seems to me if you slipped or fell there would more of a pendulum swinging action towards the tree. Seems like there would be less of that action with a full body harness. When I told my dad I was going to a saddle he busted out laughing saying something to the effect of “just wait till you slip and get your face smashed by the tree.” And ask your uncle so and so about it. :) Saddles have advantages but there’s gotta be a reason some hunters quit using them in the past.
 

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I was on the fence about that along with shooting freehand compared to a summit viper where you have a solid rest with 3 points of contact w/ the shooting rail.

Not too mention the tethers anchor point to the saddle being lower on your body compared to a conventional harness. Or maybe not anchor point, rather but being clipped into the bridge and the saddle it’self cupping your real end. I’m no expert nor did I ever take physics but it seems to me if you slipped or fell there would more of a pendulum swing action towards the tree. When I told my dad was going to a saddle he busted out laughing saying something to the effect of “just wait till you slip and get your face smashed by the tree.” And ask your uncle so and so about it. :) Saddles have advantages but there’s gotta be a reason some hunters quit using them in the past.
Amen ... What about all the little stuff? Changing gloves, clothing adjustments for cold, wind, rain - taking a leak, eating & drinking, using your thermal or binoculars, rangefinding a deer, changing positions when you're stiff, the list of common every hunt things you do become a task. Leg cramps anyone?...lol Not to mention you're strung-up fully visible in plain view. I have a skirt on all my stands that allow me a lot of movement that's hidden from the deer's view. I just don't see a saddle as an enjoyable hunting experience; "quality of the experience" beyond killing the deer. Looks more like Captain Ahab complete with tangled ropes on the side of the white whale to me...lol
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Frankly ... I don't see it. The Summit has a shooting rail which is about the most stable shooting position short of a bench & sandbags. It's infinitely safer, HAS to be more comfortable with a solid backrest and big foot platform, faster & easier up & down and a far more stable shooting position for all 360°. I still do the lineman's belt routine putting up 35' high hang-ons and I have no issue with hanging from, and trusting ropes; but the saddle doesn't strike me as being anything more than "fun" for those who like a little adventure now and then. "Maybe" in super special situations it might be better than other available options.
Well let's look at it objectively vs subjectively. A saddle is a tool nothing more. No different a choice than say a ladder stand, a climber, a lock on, or a tripod. It is not the end all be all as some may touted it to be. That said, this will be my fifth season exclusively in a saddle. Prior to my saddle I almost exclusively used a summit openshot climber. Now, let's look at advantages that a saddle can offer you over other types of setups. First we'll nab the hanging fruits, so when in the tree it forces you to be tethered to the tree, you don't have a choice, where as some folks in stands choose not tp where a harness, you have no option here. Two, the obvious weight differences don't really warrant much discussion, there is no comparison. Third, versatility. Now this is relative/borderline subjective, because the versatility comes in the form of packability. You can a basic setup, such as 4 wild edge steps and a saddle in a backpack, then go into an area to scout with a just incase setup that'll get you 12-18' high depending on your height and climbing method. You can't really just throw a stand in a backpack just in case.

Back to safety, any method used to climb trees can be very dangerous. Safety is the responsibility of the individual hunter. As far as equipment is concerned you are fast out wrong in the thinking that a treestand is "infinitely safer". There is nothing more dangerous about the equipment used to saddle hunt vs using any other treestand. The equipment is only as safe as the hunter intends it to be.

I am far faster with my saddle setup than my climber. Night and day difference really.

Stability in shooting 360°, I genuinely would like to see you shoot 360° behind you in a climber. Side pressure on climbers creates a situation that can easily become unstable unless the lower gripping portion of the stand parts are strapped to the tree. Especially the top section of say a viper or similar stand with a shooting rail. The security of a climber depends on straight downward pressure, adding side pressure CAN create a situation causing slippage.
Some cons. First: Honestly, my take on it is its not a true beginners type of setup. What I mean is, unlike a tree stand, that is relatively straight foward, ratchet some steps ips ratchet your stand up hunt. There are so many options and methods and types of gear that it can be intimidating.
Second: Price point is a set back for some. You can spend upward of 200$ on a saddle alone. Then still need a climbing method and so on. Now there are packages available but they can get very pricey.

I'm not one of those guys that want to change your mind on a saddle. How you choose to hunt is very personal, what works for you may not work for me and vice versa. I'm only trying to convoy some truths here. Saddles WILL NOT be the end to treestands. The are not better in every single way as some saddle folks would lead you to believe.
What they are is a useful addition to anyone's tool kit when trying to do what we all love to do. I look at it in the same way I look at crossbows, it's a tool, I use one because it suits me. And the way I hunt. Crossbows in some crowds are a very controversial subject.
 

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Amen ... What about all the little stuff? Changing gloves, clothing adjustments for cold, wind, rain - taking a leak, eating & drinking, using your thermal or binoculars, rangefinding a deer, changing positions when you're stiff, the list of common every hunt things you do become a task. Leg cramps anyone?...lol Not to mention you're strung-up fully visible in plain view. I have a skirt on all my stands that allow me a lot of movement that's hidden from the deer's view. I just don't see a saddle as an enjoyable hunting experience; "quality of the experience" beyond killing the deer. Looks more like Captain Ahab complete with tangled ropes on the side of the white whale to me...lol
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You things the same as another stand. You have all the same questions that a brand new hunter will have about a treestand. Having a skirt on all of your stands may hide some movement, however it is very noticeable by a deer, very unnatural to see a large squarish blob on the tree. Until you experience it you can't really no for yourself.
Leg cramps? Have you ever sat all day in a climber? Even stand and sitting a bunch alter ating ever so often, there's not much you can do to get away from it. Your in a confined space. Now as far as leg cramps caused by the saddle, no wrong, worn properly it won't happen!

As far as the tether is concerned with falling, there is always tension on the tether, so it won't have the snap effect. But any fall with any harness will pendulum you to the tree, because you know gravity.
I'm not 100% on why you would think doing rhe little every hunt things become more difficult but it's really not that different.
 

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A tool ... agreed. But so is a jackhammer ...lol A jackhammer is a tool that does a very limited certain thing well, but it's not something that any sane guy falls in love with. :p ;) I'm not trying to just hammer saddle lovers. Frankly if that's their thing, more power to them. They're pretty cool and hanging off a tree trusting ropes is pretty cool to. I have a bit of a rope fetish myself ...lol I shoot with pros who all love shooting out of the old TreeLounge treestands, and I HATE them, so I getit that they can work for the next guy. We set them up as a hang-on using removable tree steps and lags. Trying to shoot out the sides and you're turning into a contortionist trying to get into a stable shooting position. Particularly on your weak side. I'm just giving the other side of the saddle debate for the sake of the newbies or guys that can get all testosteroned up, run out and buy one, then find out the saddle is a disaster for them. Just getting people to "think" about it and project into their future.
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