I would love to find a combination where I could easily climb one time with the sticks and stand on my back without having a bunch of rope laying around for pulling up different sticks. I want a stand that is easy to hang. Helluva wish list, I know.
If one sticking isn’t your thing, a set of Skeletor sticks from tethrd is what I’d recommend. However, I’d still plan on repelling. Da first way to descend. Fun too.
As far as stands go. I have a lone wolf alpha 11 hang on as well as the Novix helo.
Saddles are ok and I have a Tetherd Phantom.
If you don't want to go the saddle route, I'd look at the lightweight treestand options from Millennium, Novix, or XOP.
Saddle hunting is effective but can cause alot of movement.
I really have avoided moving towards the saddle direction. Just seems like a big commitment to get it figured out and I know a number of folks that spent the energy and time and decided it was not for them. So the upside does not seem like it is worth the energy.
The stands are a tough choice. I am on the longer legged side of things and my knees are not great so I do like either a longer platform or foot rest pegs for longer sits. Not familiar with Novix or Beast so will certainly check them out.
I would personally just say that the idea of having everything and ascending the tree once is way over romanticized. I typically used 3 steps. Put one on the tree, 3 short steps and put the 2nd one on, then back to the ground. Grab 3rd stick and now I am hooked up to stand and bow and stuff via rope, so I ascent with only the 3rd stick in my hand, put it on, climb higher, put the hook on the tree, then haul up stand via rope and attach.
The time difference in climbing up/down vs the time climbing once is literally like 8 seconds. The risk of having a bunch of metal to clang hanging off your belt is massive. Those 8 seconds are probably lost fiddling with attaching stuff to yourself to climb with anyways, so I highly doubt the 8 seconds are even gained in the good old end. The ability to do things one at a time QUIETLY is paramount to me, and as mentioned, there is such little time gained it isn't worth talking about. How long does it take for you to climb 5 steps up and down?
IMO these one stick methods and aiders and all this jazz is totally over-romanticized and made for YouTube clicks.
All that being said, I now use a saddle 90% of the time. My last two years' bucks were killed from a saddle. The main reason I have gone to a saddle is because where I hunt almost all the trees poplar trees about 8-10" diameter. They are super tough to hide on, but I have found being behind the tree makes a huge difference. I have found the saddle to be a very convenient and conducive way to mobile hunt. All the best in your pursuit! Oh, and finally, the Hawk sticks pictured above are garbage compared to the other brands. I have both. I would hate to have the Hawk sticks as my predominant mobile use sticks.
It may not be for you but, it isn’t a you tube fad.
Do either/any of you saddle fans hunt pine trees often? The feedback I have received from guys down here that started saddle hunting is that they struggled with the noise of it.
Once at hunting height a saddle or a stand could be a static sit and you'll need to clear something to shoot your bow. If you clear a little more, a saddle will allow you to swing around the tree and shoot more. But the thing about a saddle, is I can not envision a situation that finds you more limited than a stand. So your base level is that you simply don't move in a saddle and things are equal. Now if you move at all, I feel like advantage is saddle.
I think the reason a person might say that about a pine, is that if you are a hang and hunt guy, you try to avoid clearing a ton of limbs, because you are essentially hunting in 10 minutes. I imagine the overwhelming majority of saddle hunters are doing it to hang and hunt, and would therefore shy away from trees where a ton of trimming is necessary, as opposed to a stand hunter wanting to use the same tree over and over again where a pine is fantastic due to cover after the work is done.
Here is something to consider. It’s not just my opinion. It’s what I’ve found to be true. I’m not the expert either. But, I’ve done enough to know how and which method of climbing works best.
Sticks. Every mobile hunter has them. Every mobile hunter uses them. They really shine in shorter timber. Young timber. Timber that has a lot of limbs. And, if you only employ one climbing method, this is the one.
I can’t remember who makes the sticks Adam is referring to. But, if it’s just fold up steps, a bunch make them. I use skeletors by tethrd. I carry them when I’m in an area that has hemlock, young timber, field grown timber, etc…. Because they are easily used to get in those type trees. I use a one step amsteel aider on each of the four stick sections.
Going around limbs, changing trunks in a cluster, climbing hard leaning trees, etc…. Is all much easier with sticks. Just use your tether and lineman’s rope in conjunction to always remain attached to the tree.
The only other thing I’ll advise is to repel out of the tree. It’s the most safe way to descend. Especially if using aiders. I’ll never go back to climbing down aiders. Never. Plus it’s fun.
There’s been several touch on the sticks they use. There is a bunch of good ones. I like my hawk heliums. I like the skeletors much better for reasons Adam pointed out. There are a bunch made the same way. You just gotta pick one and go with it.
Pine trees are zero problem climbing with sticks.
lol in all seriousness I don't give a flying rip if anyone believes me or not. It's just one opinion on the internet for someone to weight into their pile of data. I like to reference where I live, and conditions because so much will differ based on that. I have a certain hunting style that I like, and I like to learn, but I also know 100% that if I lived even 300 miles south of where I am now a bunch of my equipment and styles would change simply due to terrain, tree types etc. So much of what we do is built around the terrain where we live, the type of hunting we do, public land available and quality thereof etc etc etc.
So my opinion is one of many; that comes with its own conditions and variables. I think any smart person gets that, the others can suck eggs cause they're not worth talking to ;)
Carry on, Canuck. :)