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climbing sticks method question
For the folks who mobile hunt out of saddles or hang ons, I have a question as I’m continually working on ironing out my mobile hunting set up (4 LW Sticks which I love and an XOP lock on that I run the backpack straps of a molle backpack through and carry in).
One of my biggest remaining hurdles is how you carry the sticks up/ down the tree easily, safely, and quietly? While I was successful on Saturday (shot 2 in the first hour of light), I know I could do better so I thought I’d consult the Bowsite hive mind.
Sorry climber folks; I tried one last year and it wasn’t for me. Thanks for the help y’all!!
I'm a 3 stick guy, and been doing it that way for roughly 9 years. At the end of the day I was best off and quietest simply affixing 1 step, then putting the 2nd one up, then climbing down, and grabbing my 3rd step, hang platform off the waist, tie rope to bow and climb up affix 3rd step, then attach platform, then climb up and haul bow in. It takes roughly 10 seconds to climb down, grab a stick and climb up. Perfectly silent. As opposed to risking them clanking with multiple. I also hang my predator platform even with the top of my last step so that I have the platform plus the top of the last step giving me tons of "foot space" to negotiate around the tree. Saddle is new to me this year. Prior to that I have been running LW/XOP hang ons.
I did that the first time I used my mobile set up- although im a four stick person, and attached my extra two sticks to belt loops. I also have a rope with my stand attached as well. I use the XOP bracket so I put that on, then pull the stand up and put it in the bracket. Ideally I do it in one go but I’ll definitely experiment more with the hang two then climb method.
I used 5 out of my 6 sticks, for my NM Elk Hunt. A lot of climbing down, and climbing back up, but it's pretty effortless, and pretty quiet. Killed my bull an hour after I put it up.
Still lighter packing the XOP and sticks, than packing a climber a mile down into a hole in the Rockies.
I use 4 LW sticks w/rope modifications, linemans belt and a fanny pack and a stand, but how I hang the sticks would be the same using a stand or saddle, I'm usually at the 20-21 ft platform height when done .. first, I hang the two bottom sticks, with the second stick I start using my linemans belt to keep my hands free...I climb back down, put on my fanny pack and tie a loop on the two remaining sticks, a simple over hand knot and drape that loop over the side pockets of the fanny pack so the steps are hanging one on each side of me .... I climb the first two sticks always using the linemans belt, get to where I want the 3rd stick, remove it from my fanny pack, attach it as I did the lower two, climb to the top of #3 and then attach stick #4, climb to the top of #4, at that point I attach my Hook/strap for the stand and pull up the stand with the bow rope on it ( I use two ropes, one for the stand and one for the bow), and once the stand is hung, attach the other two straps to the stand and climb on with my linemans belt still attached to me.... what happens at the top if one is using a saddle instead of a stand, I couldnt tell ya, but that is how I hang my sticks/stand and my process is flawless for me ..your process may differ ...
I can't fathom putting up climbing sticks and hanging a stand everytime i hunt... Then undoing them, and packing them up after an evening hunt.. Don't you get tired of putting up/taking them down.. Just seems like a lot of work and time... When my evening hunt is over, I want to get down and get home, I seem to sweat like crazy hanging stands too..... Id have to see someones set up and routine to believe it would be safer and easier then a climber. Not knocking anyone, just my opinion....
Important part is to insulate sticks with pipe foam insulation to avoid noise. Have the stacked sticks held in a loop at each end. The loops are connected with a sling rope placed over shoulder or over your back. Loosen the loops, take 1st stick out and place it on the tree. Climb 1st stick, lean on lineman belt, take 2nd stick out of loops and attach to tree. Continue until running out of sticks. On your way down do the same or just throw 2 sticks down if ground is soft.
Fields... Nope, both places where I hunt is a BOW only area, and no stands can be left "unattended" so you pack it in and out every hunt, even if I change locations I dont mind the setup/take down even on some of my 1 mile + walk ins, plus because of this, it limits many to the outer areas where stands can be left up ... only the more serious BOWhunters will do what I can do.. some use portables and sticks like I do some use climbers.. I like the portable/sticks because with my setup, I can go up some huge tree's others have to walk by, so it opens up more locations I can get into... ... btw, it pays off for me in more buck sightings and larger racks on the wall and a full freezer and less human interference ..
JTV. thanks for the response, it makes sense about getting up larger trees that a climber cannot get in..... I've been there...... You ever use a climber?? you think sticks and hang ons are easier, quieter... how about safer?? Im only asking to learn more, so don't take offense.... thanks.
I'm in year 2 of mobile hunting - and to be fair, I only did it a small handful of times last year. And that was because I hated the climber.
I love the light hang on/separate sticks method. I can get in to trees I never would have thought about with a climber, I feel safer, I think it's quieter, and I find them more easily transportable than climbers. I see the appeal for saddles, I just decided on a mobile hang on instead (mostly because of familiarity with treestands and entry costs - my whole mobile set up has cost roughly what my friend who decided on a saddle has spent on just the saddle/associated upgrades such as the ropeman, gear pouches, etc.)
Fields, I have two climbers, I never use 'em, one is only 2yrs old (Muddy Stalker) plus an older Sumitt .... if all I had/used was a climber, I never could get into half the trees/locations I do .... is one safer over the other ?? ... well, I can sleep in my sit and climb ... I guess both have their advantages .. Ive only used the newer climber once since Ive had it ... it was 'ok' , but because of the locations I hunt, it stays home ... everyone has their favorite stand/saddle/climbing method, find one you want to use and modify it and your methods to suit your needs, that is what I did ...
A loop of paracord attached to your lineman's belt works well for carrying sticks on the climb. Pic shows it attached to my saddle. Highly recommend stealth strips added to your sticks to quiet them and make them warmer to the touch in cold weather. Amazing stuff.
Midwest that is exactly the way I do it as well. Tied some paracord on my safty harness with a loop at the end, I just put the end of a stick through the loop. I have multiple cord on both sides of harness so sticks dont bang together when i climb.
Okay I an now in the old guys group,,,, but I have done this for the past 45 years.... I now use a M7 stand, and 2 sticks tops, sometimes only one stick...... all of my stuff is covered with stealth strips................... I am 70
In the UP, I am hunting such heavy cover, one stick is all I need and can tuck into the conifers,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, passed 3 bucks so far there all within 25 yards
In SW Wis Bluff country, I use 2 sticks on the hills,,,,,,,,,, quick, easy and quiet, is my motto..................... you think you need to be 30 feet,,,, well think again
I'm always very disappointed in the noise I sometimes make while hanging a stand but last fall I was standing on my top (third) step getting ready to pull up my stand when a bull elk walked in at 20 yds and laid down in the water hole I was prepping to hunt. Of course I had a cow tag which made it easier to see my bow on the ground. I stood on the top step for 10 minutes while he "bathed" and fortunately left to run off a spike so I could finish my set up.
I'm just the opposite of most & yes I have several hang on stands & use them & they usually stay up the entire hunting season but my lw sit & climb gets a lot of use
I do like Midwest, I hang first to sticks than put stand on back and hang one stick on each side with a piece of para cord. Tie my bow to a haul line and leave on ground. Climb up hang last two sticks and stand, climb in pull up bow and hunt. I use a Chippewa Wedge Lok stand, it's tiny but weighs only 6.5#s Shawn
I used to try to bring them all up with me every time, but found I just couldn't be quiet. So I've resorted to climbing up and down. I also have the rope mod on my sticks which is quieter. I hang the first one from the ground, climb up on the first one to secure the second stick (usually don't need my linesman's belt for the second one). I then climb down, grab the third stick, climb up, attach the lineman's belt and attach the third. Climb down, tie haul rope to bow and jacket, put on fanny pack, attach haul rope to fanny pack strap, put stand on back, grab 4th stick and climb up to the third stick. Attach the fourth stick, climb stick, attach stand, climb on stand, attach tether to tree, put in bow hanger, haul up bow, hang bow on hanger, hang fanny pack, hunt. Takes me about 12 minutes on an easy tree. 15 on a challenging tree.
I will say that my kill rate has not increased going from three sticks to four, so going back to three sticks would be faster and probably wouldn't effect my kills. I might have to be more selective in what tree I choose though.
I’m with you fields. Can’t fathom that process especially in the dark. I’d be soaked thru my clothes every time by the time I sat in the stand .
My stand height is dictated by several factors....the amount of cover in the tree, getting over/around branches, opening up shooting lanes through nearby cover, getting above or hidden from deer that may be at eye level on a slope, etc. Trimming isn't an option on public land.
Look at all that weight, bulk, and noise. The climbing system I'm playing with now weighs 4-1/4 lbs., fits in 1 hand, and will get me 20 feet up.
So if you go in a mile or more on public land..... when you’re done after dark.... do you use a handheld gps to get back to your truck ?
Big Bear, I can only speak for myself, but in most of the places I hunt public land, if I'm going in a mile, I'm coming out the other side. LOL. But honestly, you have to have some woodsmanship skills or you better stay home. And I will say, it doesn't take a mile to get lost. Don't ask me how I know this.
Steve..... The vast majority of my deer hunting in my life has been on private land in stands that stay up all year long. I like that way......
But these threads on saddle hunting have piqued my interest....
Another good way to quite your climbing sticks and stands also is to wrap with hockey tape. The stuff sticks to about anything is easy to apply to tight areas and is inexpensive plus comes in camo if you feel you need it.
I attach the first stick (XOP/Lone Wolf) then with the fall restraint and a lineman's climbing belt looped around the tree, I begin ascending. I have a 100' rope tied to my HSS vest that has loops set at appropriate spots for tying each remaining stick with my stand tied to the opposite end of the 100'. Each stick is laid on the ground about 4' from the tree in succession and a minimum of 2' apart with the excess rope laying between each step with my stand on the end. I have another rope tied to the end of my tree stand with a pack and my bow attached. As I climb to each stick, I pull up the next stick to be attached. There is enough slack so the next stick is still on the ground. I pull each stick up from the same side and drape the excess rope to the opposite side across my lineman's belt as I climb higher. The lengths are adjusted so that I am never climbing with a stick suspended in the air. With each gain in height I loosen the fall restraint tree belt, raise as high as I can reach and re-tighten. After all the sticks are in I pull up the stand and mount to the tree. Once I climb into the stand, adjust the fall restraint to the height I'll use for hunting, I disconnect the lineman's belt and pull up my pack / bow on the 2nd haul line. In my pack is a lifeline with a prusik knot that gets attached to the tree if I'm going to leave the stand in. Then when I'm done hunting, I clip to the life line Prusik before unclipping from the tree strap and descend. Once on the ground I secure the bottom of the lifeline for the next time I climb into the stand. This way I'm always connected safely when I'm off the ground. I find the method quiet and safe. Although it usually takes a little longer than I like, I compensate for this by just getting into my spot extra early enough.
Am I the only guy that doesn't use a haul rope to get the stand up into the tree? Curious why you guys don't put the stand on your back. Do you not feel safe climbing with the stand on your back? I've been doing it since I first bought a treestand 30+ years ago.
I only saddle hunt, but yesterday I set up a hang on for my son to shotgun hunt. I do the one stick method and while I did not use that to set up the hang-on I have used 4 steps before. Stick 1...place on tree where you can climb. Stick 2...place as high as you can reach to the side of the tree...side of stick 1. Stick 3 and 4 are hanging from my saddle. Climb up stick 1 and get to the top...place lineman's belt on tree. Once secure, reach down and move stick #2 and place it where you can advance your climb. Get to the top of stick #2 and place stick #3...climb and repeat for stick #4. Climb stick four and set hang-on. I like to set it almost level with the top of Stick 4 or about 1 to 1 1/2 feet higher. I can easily get to 20+ feet with that method. If I wanted to get higher than 20' then I'd use a moveable aider.
I have to hand it to the guys that do this....it`s a lot of work and to do it right you need a well planned system. I did it quite often in my younger days with my Windwalker and screw ins (pre step era) and I will say it`s a very effective way of hunting.
I believe the guys that do it have a better chance of killing deer.
12 yds, I tried that, till the damn stand hit a stick above me and knocked it loose ... the haul ropes works fine for me .....
Hanging sticks and a stand shouldn't make you sweat. That's why I do it. Screw in steps will sweat a guy up like crazy. If you are slow and methodical hanging three sticks and a stand takes less time than a climber. Done it head to head. You also don't need to trim all the branches all the way up the tree.
Yes it's a lot of work, yes I don't enjoy it, but yes it is effective. Even picking trees in the dark. Deer never ever know which tree I'm in, my stuff doesn't get stolen, and no stranger sits my stands. I am always set up in the correct wind instead of "picking the best stand." Hanging height is dictated by cover. Even if there is cover I don't go past 3 sticks. If I do I'm into the foliage and shooting options are drastically cut down.
I put up a hang on using screw ins a month ago, I have a tool to crank them in and it still wore me out, I was drenched.
I’m running 3 hawk helium’s with a daisy chain Amsteel rope, it really can’t get much easier, if I want to go higher I have 3 primal steps but I think I’ll get another helium .
I've hung a pile of stands when I only hunted private. Always used screw-ins and I could get a stand up quick. I learned real fast the type of screw-in step you used made a HUGE difference. If they weren't a machined, tapered thread, they were garbage and very difficult to screw in any tree. The machined thread bit quick and easy with very little effort.
Nick X 1000. If you are going to use screw in steps, the tapered machined ones go in very quick. But, I quit using them for the most part. Tears up the trees.
For any hang and hunt, I use only a saddle now. First year doing so but, it sure beats lugging a hang on around. I use 3 Helium sticks with an aider strap. But, I think I'm going to for go the aider strap and put an aider containing two steps on each stick section. That'll turn a 31 inch stick into approximately a 60 inch stick. That should get me to 20 feet easily. With a tree to hide behind, that is more then high enough.
No sweating here for me hanging sticks and stand .... if its hot out, Im going for a run or hitting the river for Steelhead/Salmon ....
Thanks for sharing everybody...
I put my 4 laddersticks together on the ground, lean it up against the tree and step on the bottom section to seat it into the ground...fasten the first tie to the tree and move up the tree doing the same thing...Haul my Hang On (Gorilla Brand) up with a rope and attach it to the tree...I haul all of it on an old freighter meat pack frame along with my Daypack...handles the load easy and its handy to have when packing out Your animal...Only drawback is it's Sketchy during a Lightning Storm ;)...4finger
Never a GPS even going back on a mile or so, hell I don't even carry a flashlight or headlamp. As far as sweating it is about taking your time and I usually pack my clothes in with me and dress at the tree. Shawn
I have found that I am generally more quiet if I just make more trips up and down as to having sticks hanging from a loop and potentially clanking against my sticks as I’m climbing.
Hang the first stick on the ground with the bottom step level with my knee cap. Climb up and hang the 2nd stick and the same with the 3rd. On the 4th stick, I climb with my stand in my back and my bow rope looped to my safety harness. I hang the final stick, set my stand and get my bow up and I’m hunting. I’m usually set up in about 10-15 minutes which is quick enough for me.
Much like others here...
I only use three sticks now, XOPs with either an XOP or LW Alpha stand.
I put the first stick up. I climb it and hang the second stick and come back down.
I attach a bag with quick release belt which holds the hook belt, picture shown, my two stand straps and my tow rope.
I place the stand on my back, climb up with the third stick in my left hand and hang the third stick, climb it to the top. I pull the stand hook out of the bag, it is on top, and attach it to the tree.
I take the stand off my back with my right hand and put it near the hook. With my left hand I hang the stand on the attached tree hook to a piece of chord I have tried to the stand near the seat.
I then put the two stand straps around the tree, attach my tow rope and climb down.
I put on my pack, attach my bow to the pull rope, put on my safety harness and climb to the top with my safety tree strap in pocket. At the top I attach my safety system to the tree before stepping on to the stand.
I then screw in my pack hook, quiver hook and bow hook, pull up my bow and settle in.
5-10 minutes later I shoot a deer and reverse the process. ;-)