What is “Saddle Hunting?”
Saddle hunting is a hunting technique that involves the use of a specialized harness, often referred to as a “saddle,” to suspend a hunter from a tree while hunting. Instead of using traditional tree stands or ground blinds, hunters using saddle hunting methods are attached to the tree trunk, allowing them to sit or stand comfortably at an elevated position.
The saddle itself is a lightweight and compact harness that is worn around the waist and legs. It includes various attachment points, loops, and straps to secure the hunter to the tree and provide stability while in position. Hunters using saddle setups also utilize additional equipment such as lineman ropes, tree tether lines, and platforms to create a secure and functional hunting perch.
The core concept of saddle hunting is to provide hunters with an elevated vantage point that offers a clear line of sight, increased concealment, and adaptability to various hunting situations. This method enables hunters to easily adjust their position, move to different trees or locations, and maintain a lower profile compared to traditional tree stands. Too many times I’ve been picked off from a deer from being in a line of sight. Saddle hunting places us behind the tree for concealment.
Saddle hunting has gained popularity for its numerous benefits, including enhanced mobility, reduced environmental impact, versatility in tree selection, and year-round usability. It caters to hunters who value stealth, adaptability, and a deeper connection with the environment.
It’s important to note that saddle hunting requires proper training and practice to ensure safety and effective use. Hunters need to be familiar with the equipment, understand proper attachment techniques, and follow safety guidelines to prevent accidents and ensure a successful hunting experience. As with any hunting technique, responsible and ethical practices are paramount. One of my biggest challenges at first was getting comfortable shooting my bow from the saddle. As much time you take learning how to climb, you should spend the same learning how to shoot.
Below is a list of the basics you will need to begin saddle hunting. There is no cookie cutter setup as each hunter will have different items to make their sit more enjoyable, I just want to give you some basics.
- Saddle Harness: The core of saddle hunting, this harness provides a secure attachment to the tree and serves as your hunting seat.
- Lineman’s Belt: A lineman’s belt helps you ascend and descend the tree safely while setting up or moving around.
- Tree Tether or Rope: This is the connection between your saddle and the tree, offering stability and support while you’re in the saddle.
- Bridge: A bridge attaches to the saddle and provides a platform for your feet, allowing you to shift positions and distribute weight. Most Saddles come with a bridge
- Platform: Some saddle hunters use a small platform to stand on for added comfort during longer hunts.
- Carabiners: These are used to connect various components of your saddle setup and ensure secure attachments.
- Climbing Sticks or Steps: These allow you to access your desired hunting height safely and easily.
- Rope Ascender: This can help you ascend the tree more easily when setting up or relocating. This is a mechanical device that helps you lock your rope in. You can also use prussic knots
- Haul Line: A haul line is used to raise and lower your hunting gear, backpack, or weapons once you’re securely in your saddle.
- Backpack: A compact and lightweight backpack is essential to carry your gear to the hunting location.
- Headlamp or Flashlight: Essential for setting up in low-light conditions or navigating early in the morning or late at night.
- Gloves: Choose gloves that allow for dexterity while providing protection against the elements.
- Cell Phone
- First Aid Kit: Always have a basic first aid kit on hand for any minor injuries that might occur during your hunting trips.
We hope this helped! As you begin your saddle hunting journey, remember that safety and proper training are paramount. It’s recommended to take the time to learn how to use each piece of equipment correctly and practice setting up and moving in your saddle before heading out on your hunting adventure. Feel free to reach out to us for any questions!