Benefits of a saddle over any other types of stands!!!!
-The concept is simple, you hang in the Saddle from the trunk of the tree to which you are securely fastened.
-You sit facing the tree with your legs somewhat straddling the trunk or your knees into the trunk.
-Your feet rest on tree-steps placed around the tree, and they are used for leverage while maneuvering, and as footrests while sitting.
-Once properly adjusted the saddle is very comfortable, and acts as its own safety belt, and is almost impossible to fall out of once properly fastened to the tree.
-To shoot, you stand up or lean back (straighten your legs) in the saddle away from the tree.
-There is no platform to stand on and nothing to encumber movement around the tree or make noise
-Bowhunting for mature bucks is all about being able to adapt to their ever-changing movements.
-The more adept, and expedient you are at responding to changing deer movements, the better your chances will be at tagging a trophy.
-Not only can you adjust to ever changing sign during the season, you can also prepare as many trees prior to the season as you consider necessary, because you only need one Saddle to hunt from all of your trees.
-Having many trees ready to hunt is a huge advantage from a surprise standpoint.
-You can clear out trees for every potential situation, you do not have to limit yourself to a handful of spots. I have over fifty trees ready to hunt prior to each season. Many have been in place for years and require some periodic cleaning up and some are in new locations every year.
-Having so many trees ready for the season also allows you to rotate sites, which increases your element of surprise and reduces both scent contamination and general human presence in a hunting area.
-As you know pressured mature bucks do not tolerate known hunter presence.
-The saddles "specific" mobility, makes it possible to shoot a full 360 degrees around most trees.
-Considering that mature bucks often come from unexpected directions during the rut phases this is an important advantage.
-As you can see you have to make your sparse opportunities count and the mobility and
shooting range advantages of the saddle will do that.
-Another major advantage is general mobility, or the ability to hunt almost any tree in the woods. It is no longer a question of finding a tree to hunt out of, but finding the right spot and making a tree work.
-With a saddle there are few limitations to tree diameters, branches, or straightness. Trees leaning more than fifteen degrees will not give you the full 360 degree shooting circumference, but they are trees you couldn't even hunt without the saddle.
-Another form of mobility is the ability to adjust to circumstances. If you find a hot scrape area or fresh rub line it is no problem to quietly set up and hunt in a matter of minutes if you take a set of steps with you.
-Weight and bulky treestand frames are also factors when reacting to fresh sign. The Ambush, our lightest saddle weighs less than three pounds and can be carried in your backpack. This eases opportunities to scout in heavy cover and set up on the spur of the moment.
-Another major advantage is the fact that you can be sure your stand will be there when you arrive because it is always with you.
-No more concern about other hunters hunting you location when you are not there.
-Stolen tree stands are unfortunately a sad fact of life for anyone hunting state land, or even private property in states with heavy hunting pressure. Not any more, because your saddle is always with you.
-Yet another big plus is that you can keep the trunk of the tree that you are in between you and the deer. As a non-targeted deer approach you slowly ease your way around the trunk, out of sight of the deer. This keeps your silhouette from sticking out from the tree. This is especially important in pressured areas where deer tend to look for hunters in trees.
-Height is another big advantage, especially once the hunting gets good and the foliage is gone from the trees. With a Saddle the only height constraint is your ability to get up the tree. There should never be a fear of height because you at all times have a safety system attached to the tree.
-Because saddles are all made from fabric there is no noise concerns with the set-up. This is very important when setting up near where deer feed or bed.
-The mobility of the saddle makes it awesome for freelance hunting or on trips to unknown properties.
-As with everything that has to do with hunting, the type of hunting system you use is ultimately based on your own hunting situation, goals, and personal preference. The Saddle is a tool that can be added to your hunting arsenal to increase your element of surprise and success rate.
-It has completely changed the way I hunt, providing unsurpassed ease of use and mobility. When used properly the advantages it offers will without question increase the number of opportunities you receive and the likelihood of success dramatically.
Here is what I suggest for first time saddle users. Watch the instructional DVD several times with your saddle in front of or on you so that you become comfortable and familiar with the straps.
1. Pick out a tree in your yard (or telephone pole) and place steps around the tree about 14 inches apart and all at the same level on the tree about 18 inches from the ground. This is where you will practice shooting prior to season from ground level so that you get used to and become comfortable with the concept of facing the tree while being attached to a lead.
2. While standing on the ground at the base of the tree, step into the saddle as shown on the DVD. When putting on the saddle try to keep the top of the saddle (hammock like seat) at waist level, do not allow it to climb or ride up your lower back above your waist. If the saddle is allowed to climb farther up into your lower back it will slightly confine your waist mobility when shooting behind you or leaning back away from the lead strap for a shot.
Keep the bottom or lower portion of the seat or saddle from going below the bottom crease of your butt cheeks. Basically all you want the saddle to do is cradle just your butt. When it rides below your butt cheeks and down onto your upper thighs it can possibly cut off some of the circulation in your legs and possibly cause your legs to temporarily fall asleep.
Once the saddle is on tighten the front cinch strap attached to the two sides of the saddle until the saddle is tight around your waist. This will allow you to climb without the saddle sliding down. Wrap the safety strap around the tree and adjust it as needed for the diameter of the tree and climbing comfort. The safety strap is also a nice feature because you can use the saddle for preparing trees while scouting, keeping both hands free for screwing in steps, attaching climbing sticks, or cutting branches.
Once you step up onto the steps you will be shooting or hunting from, adjust the safety strap so that you can lean back a little and be comfortable while attaching the lead strap, then (I know this will be tough for first time users, but) let go of the tree. You should now have each foot on its own step, your legs should be nearly straight (not bent at the knees), you should be leaning back just a little, and both of your hands should be free to hook up the lead strap.
Hook up the lead strap as shown in the instructional DVD. Personally, I like to attach the lead strap a little lower than advised in the DVD. I like the hook on the end of the lead to be no higher than eye level once the lead is tied off. The instructions show it being well above head level. With the hook at eye level the angle of the lead strap coming off the tree is less severe (comes straighter off the tree) and when you draw your bow with a shot 90 degrees directly to your left (if right handed), your right elbow will easily go over the lead strap. When the hook of the lead strap is tied high the angle of the lead strap is nearly straight down from the tree and in the way with a 90 degrees shot to your left (if right handed). I suggest trying both ways (per instructional DVD and my way) and use what is most comfortable for you.
Always set up the saddle just as you would a tree stand with your expected shot opportunity being 90 degrees directly to your side (left if right handed and vise versa if left handed). Yes you will be able to shoot all 360 degrees around most trees, but you still want to make as little movement as possible when deer are close. No matter what type of system you hunt from, you always want to keep movements to an absolute minimum at crunch time.
3. Once the lead is hooked up to the saddle let the slack (loosen) totally back out of the cinch strap and adjust your drape (how you sit or hang) with the lead adjustment strap in front of you until you feel comfortable with the way you are sitting. Loosening the cinch strap will allow the lead to slide along it when you twist at the waist for shot opportunities behind you. Once connected to the lead and comfortable in the saddle undo the safety belt and store it in its respective pouch.
Pull up your bow and hang it on a screw in bow hanger approximately 90 degrees to your left (if right handed), now it is in a place close to your bow hand for easy access. I also put a bow hanger on the opposite side of the tree so that if I need to swing around the tree for a shot, I can move the bow to that hanger so it is ready.
If you carry a pack screw in another bow hanger approximately 120 degrees to your right (if right handed) and hang it on it, this will put it out of the way for any shot opportunity yet make it accessible for taking calls, rangefinder, or anything else you may need out of it. No matter what type of system you use, being familiar with it and being able to easily perform every function automatically makes you a much more dangerous hunter.
If you are practicing in the yard I recommend setting up just as you would when hunting and practice every application as if hunting.
Now, if you are in the yard you are ready to practice and if you are in the field you are ready to do business.
4. When practicing, put targets in different directions and distances around the tree and
practice moving slowly around the tree on the other steps you placed for shooting in
all directions (there are no dead areas with the saddle). If moving around the tree requires to much effort, place the steps closer together (less than the 14 inches apart that was earlier described), if it is easy to move around the tree you may want to consider placing the steps a little farther apart when preparing trees for hunting.
While hunting when you see a shot opportunity starting to present itself slowly and methodically move into the correct position. I tend to hunt about 25 feet high or higher depending on the type of tree and the available cover in it because the foliage is generally gone in most trees by the rut phases when I do most of my hunting. This added height also makes it easier to move without getting picked off. Just like hunting at anytime and from any type of stand, movements are always a judgement call as far as when and how you perform them.
You should, from your original position on the steps, without moving your feet, be able to shoot nearly 180 degrees from 90 degrees directly to your left and 90 degrees directly to your right. When the saddle is put on in the proper manner your waist movement should not be confined and you should be able to twist at the waist and spin your upper body around to shoot the 90 degrees directly to your right (if right handed). The cinch strap connecting the two sides of the saddle will slide quietly through the loop in the lead as you spin around allowing you to make this shot. For shots other than those you will be required to move around the tree on the other steps you placed.
At any time during a hunt if you feel uncomfortable you can stand up to take the pressure off the lead and adjust your drape (the angle you are hanging at) by simply letting out or taking in some of the lead strap with the quick adjust right in front of you (only an inch or two of adjustment will make a big difference in your drape). I find myself doing this very so often when sitting for long periods. My favorite position is to have my knees bent about 45% or so, that way most of my weight is distributed into the saddle and not on my legs.
5. To get down re-attach the safety strap around the tree in the same position you had it when you initially tied off the lead strap during set-up. Then unhook the lead strap and place it back in its pouch. Now you can descend the tree using the safety strap, adjusting it as you go down for the tree diameter.
When you prepare a tree for hunting, do it just like you would a tree stand. Use whatever you normally use for ascending the tree (I use screw-in tree steps simply because they take up less space in my pack). When hunting I carry my saddle in my backpack along with my other hunting gear and get into the saddle at the base of the tree. James Green, the creator of the saddle concept wears his saddle around his waist from the vehicle to the tree, try both and do whatever feels best for you.
I think it is very important that once you are comfortable practicing from just off the ground that you set up in a tree at a similar height to what you hunt from and get used to that as well.
The saddle set-up is going to be different than what you are used to and may take a little getting used to. That is why I suggest practicing from it prior to season. Whatever you do, do not get in it and give up on the concept because it is different. Stick with it, it is much more comfortable that any stand once you get used to it, and the advantages of it over conventional stands are huge and can not be disputed.