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Old 08-12-2016, 12:07 AM   #1
IkemanTX
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Default Anyone else hunt out of a saddle?

I only hunt public, and a lot of these places have 72 hour limits on stands along with restrictions to damaging trees. As such, I have been trying to reduce the amount of weight I carry in. Last season I got to 41lbs of stand, sticks, safety harness, and cold weather clothing NOT including my bow.



I decided a change was necessary, so I gave saddle hunting a try. I put together my own saddle out of two Molle waist bands and some nylon webbing. I have never felt more comfortable or safe in a tree in my life. I can't believe I didn't do this before. I plan on making a very minimal saddle next year to further reduce my weight and bulk.

Anyhow, here is what I am using this season



The two waist bands are sewn together using a heavy weight waxed thread, but the sewing is NOT wight bearing



The curves are different radius, which causes a cupping shape, adding comfort



The saddle as it hooks to the tree



And a platform I put together with the seat of a Lone Wolf stand (based on someone else's design)







For climbing, I use 3 Hawk Helium sticks with a 2 step aider each (homemade, of course) this gets me to 20 feet, if I have that much space before the tree canopy gets in the way.





Anyone else hunt out of a saddle or playing a game of ounces? Show me your setups!

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Old 08-12-2016, 07:21 AM   #2
scoutman
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Yes been using a treesaddle since 08, wouldn't hunt any other way. Changed my hunting life.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:26 AM   #3
scoutman
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Moving to Hickory Creek in November, my stuff is packed up in storage.
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:17 AM   #4
drop dead fred
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I've always wondered about how easy it is to hunt/shoot from these, and just there overall comfortability on long sits. Great idea
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:23 AM   #5
jctex81
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Wow..first time to see these..Good stuff!
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Old 08-12-2016, 08:23 AM   #6
SwampRabbit
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I've looked into it. I've done the Dean Torges seat (kinda like your lone wolf thing... but lighter) and it works well for ground hunting. I've considered the sling, but not for anything up high. I figure if I have to bring steps, I might as well just bring a climber.
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:04 AM   #7
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I need pictures.
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:15 AM   #8
Instinct
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Purchased a Guidos Web 2 years ago. More options on how you hunt. And by far the most comfortable sits.
http://www.guidosoutdoors.com

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Old 08-12-2016, 10:20 AM   #9
IkemanTX
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Default Anyone else hunt out of a saddle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by drop dead fred View Post
I've always wondered about how easy it is to hunt/shoot from these, and just there overall comfortability on long sits. Great idea


They are much more comfortable than a climber or hang on stand, and honestly I feel much safer in it. Also, if your bridge (the connection from your saddle to your tree strap) is a decent length, you can shoot 360 around the tree. I run mine shorter so I can only comfortably shoot around 280-300. Still much more than a treestand affords you.


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Old 08-12-2016, 12:55 PM   #10
scoutman
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We use them hunting elk over water in Colorado, whitetails all over. Weighs 2 lbs and multiple climbing options.
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Old 08-12-2016, 04:10 PM   #11
cj7zrcool
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IkemanTX View Post
Anyone else hunt out of a saddle?

Back in my waaay younger days I frequented a watering hole that had a few of these, so yes. I have.

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Old 08-12-2016, 05:27 PM   #12
Evolver
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I've got a tree saddle rig from back in my Kansas bowhunting days...just never could get used to it. I like the theory, just didn't like all the moving parts, belts, straps, etc. Your custom rig looks like quite an improvement.
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Old 08-12-2016, 05:56 PM   #13
gatorgar
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So, are you facing the tree?

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Old 08-12-2016, 06:33 PM   #14
scoutman
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Yes you face the tree, great rifle rest and you easily move around to shoot a bow. You have to practice at ground level to get the hang of it. Once you do it is a great way to hunt.
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Old 08-12-2016, 07:00 PM   #15
IkemanTX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evolver View Post
I've got a tree saddle rig from back in my Kansas bowhunting days...just never could get used to it. I like the theory, just didn't like all the moving parts, belts, straps, etc. Your custom rig looks like quite an improvement.


You should see how some of the other saddle hunters have simplified even further. Mine is a heck of a contraption compared to others. Lots of guys using old singer sewing machines and sewing all the connections. No more messing with straps.


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Old 08-12-2016, 07:09 PM   #16
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What kind of knot did you tie on those caribiners?
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Old 08-12-2016, 09:28 PM   #17
IkemanTX
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What kind of knot did you tie on those caribiners?


That was a temporary overhand knot for a proof of concept. I don't recommend them because they will lose their tail and eventually come undone with repeated loads. I can't remember the name of the exact variation of knot I tied as the final... It is essentially a single ended water knot. Still not a slip free knot, but my tails are long, and I vary my bridge length enough that it will get re-tied once or twice a season.


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Old 08-12-2016, 09:37 PM   #18
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Just found the name, I used an "overhand on a bight".


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Old 08-13-2016, 09:02 AM   #19
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Although webbing does not slip much you could tie a stopper knot with the tag end. Leave yourself plenty of tail on the tag end,loop it around the load end and tie an overhand knot in it.
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Old 08-13-2016, 09:37 AM   #20
scoutman
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We use a HSS tree strap for a tether line with the prussic knot, Works great.
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Old 08-13-2016, 10:08 AM   #21
El Paisano
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Check this out. Themule.com
I use a Nif-t-seat and hunt the ground.
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Old 08-13-2016, 11:01 AM   #22
IkemanTX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cashcropper View Post
Although webbing does not slip much you could tie a stopper knot with the tag end. Leave yourself plenty of tail on the tag end,loop it around the load end and tie an overhand knot in it.
The overhand on a bight is listed as a rescue approved knot. I am pretty obsessive about checking my gear before use, and that is one of the first items on the list. I haven't had any measurable slippage so far. It is just such a quick and easy knot to tie. I can switch from a 24" bridge to a 30" in a matter of a minute or less...

Quote:
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We use a HSS tree strap for a tether line with the prussic knot, Works great.

I use my HSS w/Prussic for my lineman's belt at the moment. I hope to get a couple ropeman 1 ascenders next year to replace both the Prussic knot, and the webbing tree strap I use.



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Old 08-14-2016, 12:09 PM   #23
IkemanTX
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Most of the original saddle designs were/are based loosely off of arborist harnesses. They can be fairly complicated affairs with lots of straps for adjustability, and are designed to be sat in. There has become almost more home built saddles than purchased now and they seem to be evolving more into a waist belt that is leaned into (while standing on some sort of step or platform) instead of a sitting position.

Here are some of those really compact and simple setups that do basically the same thing as mine. I will be going to something like this in the near future... None of these are my work or design.





And just to show how compact and light some setups can get, here is one with a pad that only weighs 10 ounces for the saddle itself...



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Old 08-14-2016, 10:32 PM   #24
scoutman
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Very nice
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:20 PM   #25
bow4my2
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old school, i like it
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Old 08-14-2016, 11:58 PM   #26
MLAH
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^
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:14 PM   #27
Carny
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It's something I've been thinking about for a long time but still haven't tried it. Is there a forum somewhere just for this? Where did you find all the pics?

One concern I've had is noise while getting set up. I sneak in slow and quiet and usually don't even use a light. Can you be pretty quiet getting in a tree? I'm on a lease so I could leave steps and whatever else I needed in the tree so I guess that would help.

Is there a build thread on those steps?
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Old 08-15-2016, 11:57 PM   #28
IkemanTX
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Default Anyone else hunt out of a saddle?

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It's something I've been thinking about for a long time but still haven't tried it. Is there a forum somewhere just for this? Where did you find all the pics?

One concern I've had is noise while getting set up. I sneak in slow and quiet and usually don't even use a light. Can you be pretty quiet getting in a tree? I'm on a lease so I could leave steps and whatever else I needed in the tree so I guess that would help.

Is there a build thread on those steps?


There is a forum, and it is also on Tapatalk. It is called saddlehunter.com

As far as being quiet, going up a tree with screw in steps is about as quiet as it gets. Pre-prepped trees with permanent infrastructure would be a piece of cake. I just use the climbing sticks because I can't use anything that causes damage on public land.

As far as the added steps, I don't think I ever did a dedicated build thread on them. They are pretty simple though. It is just nylon tubular webbing and flexible schedule 80 irrigation hose. Each step has a loop of webbing for itself, so it is a small loop inside a bigger loop. I tied a simple water knot at the top and sewed the two loops to keep them together. I just hang the knot over the bottom v-bracket before the stick goes on the tree.



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Last edited by IkemanTX; 08-16-2016 at 12:00 AM..
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Old 09-03-2016, 11:07 PM   #29
Carny
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Do you usually go pretty high? I will eventually try this but from what I've seen it looks like you might get spotted pretty easily. Maybe it's not an issue but the way you are sticking out from the tree and can move all around it seems like you would stand out. Have you had any problems with that?
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:15 AM   #30
IkemanTX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carny View Post
Do you usually go pretty high? I will eventually try this but from what I've seen it looks like you might get spotted pretty easily. Maybe it's not an issue but the way you are sticking out from the tree and can move all around it seems like you would stand out. Have you had any problems with that?


I typically end up 18-20ft up


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Old 09-05-2016, 09:36 AM   #31
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I have a Treesuit that is very similar to your saddle. I ordered it years ago and it is very comfortable. I wear it to the woods and usually already have a stik ladder set up on the tree I plan on hunting out of or I can use the screw in steps. It is mae to either sit in or to lean back against, very adjustable. It took a couple of times of using it to figure out the most comfortable way o using it. I don't know what happened to the company that made them, but apparently they went out of business, I think they were made in Mississippi.
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Old 10-04-2016, 09:03 PM   #32
IkemanTX
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Well, I sat all weekend in the saddle and I am liking it more and more. If you hunt mobile, without permanent stands, there is really no easier setup. Also, the thing is dang near impossible to fall out of. I fell asleep in it on Saturday, dozed off for about 30 minutes. I will be adding one or two of the smaller "minimalist" saddles for next year, and probably switching from climbing sticks to grade 8 bolts slid into pre-drilled holes for climbing. But, I will probably forever be in a saddle now. Between the weight reduction and the comfort, I just can't go back to stands.


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Old 10-04-2016, 09:57 PM   #33
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You'll like using the bolts, we use them too, very easy and safe. We dip ours in plasti-dip to silence them and add some texture.
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Old 11-28-2016, 10:41 AM   #34
IkemanTX
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Realized I hadn't added my minimalist saddle to this thread yet.
I modified an already existing product called a Sit Drag. Basically just cut off their original tether, added a waist belt, folded and sewed the loops to make carabiners easy to get off and on, added a Molle loop to each side for some future dump pouches, and added 3 little loops on the bottom for gear ties to anchor climbing sticks and platforms to. The Sit Drag is like $35, and the upholstery shop charged me $25 for the sewing.


Now I just need linesman spurs to replace my climbing sticks...


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Old 11-28-2016, 12:00 PM   #35
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When I lived near the blue ridge in VA, I found that my rock climbing harness was the perfect answer! Never looked back after that, but I doubt too many people have a harness just lying around like I did

Can sometimes find them cheap on eBay for anyone interested that doesn't want to build one or for anyone that sucks at sewing like me.
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Old 11-28-2016, 12:03 PM   #36
IkemanTX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by straightGrizzly View Post
When I lived near the blue ridge in VA, I found that my rock climbing harness was the perfect answer! Never looked back after that, but I doubt too many people have a harness just lying around like I did



Can sometimes find them cheap on eBay for anyone interested that doesn't want to build one or for anyone that sucks at sewing like me.


I just can't do long sits in a climbing harness, otherwise I would do that. I get less pressure spots in the slings. I'm hoping to use spurs to climb, and rappel down with a ground length tether.


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Old 12-06-2016, 08:48 PM   #37
gettin closer
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I have been looking into this a lot. I just don't trust myself to stitch things up then have to wear a rock climbing harness for the extra safety measure. The wife would not be happy if I fell 20' out of a tree because I was sitting in a homemade rig. I am strongly considering the Guido's Web for next year and have not decided on the sticks with the aiders or the the Stepp Ladder. I like the sticks as they are faster but the Stepp Ladder really lows for mobility around limbs and can make a platform. although the platform that you have is very nice too.
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Old 12-06-2016, 08:58 PM   #38
IkemanTX
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I have been looking into this a lot. I just don't trust myself to stitch things up then have to wear a rock climbing harness for the extra safety measure. The wife would not be happy if I fell 20' out of a tree because I was sitting in a homemade rig. I am strongly considering the Guido's Web for next year and have not decided on the sticks with the aiders or the the Stepp Ladder. I like the sticks as they are faster but the Stepp Ladder really lows for mobility around limbs and can make a platform. although the platform that you have is very nice too.


If you can drill or screw steps on the properties you hunt, look at the treehopper or EZKut bolt systems. You drill a hole in the tree and slide a very tightly fitting grade 8 bolt in as your step. Bolts slide in and out on your way up and down, prepped trees are very hard to see, and a full set of bolts will weigh about 2.5 pounds. Also, lots of guys are using linesman spikes for even more portable setups.

Supposedly the guidos web is insanely comfortable, but they are a bit heavy and hot for early season down here. The custom sewing on this sling is just holding the add-ons like dump pouches, belt strap so I can wear it in, tie off points... etc. All of the weight bearing fabric was factory sewn.

The circled items are the only modifications


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Old 12-07-2016, 07:12 AM   #39
gettin closer
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That is good to know. I have heard the Web can be hot during summer and early season but I suppose I need to test one of the sit drags and look into it a bit more. Lots of people on saddlehunter.com really like them. I have looked into the bolt method and my cousin and I are going to try that on his place but I also want something for public land as well. That is where the helium sticks or Stepp Ladder would come in.
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Old 12-07-2016, 07:31 AM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IkemanTX View Post
They are much more comfortable than a climber or hang on stand, and honestly I feel much safer in it. Also, if your bridge (the connection from your saddle to your tree strap) is a decent length, you can shoot 360 around the tree. I run mine shorter so I can only comfortably shoot around 280-300. Still much more than a treestand affords you.


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Not trying to derail this thread, but I have used a rock climbing harness and hang on the last two years. I also have 360 range using that type of a harness.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...
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Old 12-07-2016, 08:56 AM   #41
mjbtexas
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i love TBH.

I was just lamenting a spot on public land. Getting to the right "X" has been hard. All the trees are wrong for a climber (almost hurt myself last time).


I missed a buck this year because I was facing the wrong way and wrapped around the tree shooting behind it.
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Old 12-07-2016, 09:17 AM   #42
Texastaxi
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I need some pictures ... I can't visualize how this thing is used.

And since there's nothing behind you (I think), how on Earth do you take a nap?
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:05 AM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastaxi View Post
I need some pictures ... I can't visualize how this thing is used.



And since there's nothing behind you (I think), how on Earth do you take a nap?


Lol
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:13 AM   #44
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Interesting.

I'd like to see an action photo as well.... shooting and napping.
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Old 12-07-2016, 01:26 PM   #45
TexasRangerFan7
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Following.

Definitely going to try a setup like this in the future. It's a pain carrying in my hang on stand, sticks, bow, and any other gear.


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Old 12-07-2016, 01:37 PM   #46
IkemanTX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XBowHunter View Post
Not trying to derail this thread, but I have used a rock climbing harness and hang on the last two years. I also have 360 range using that type of a harness.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Not derailing at all. I just can't get comfortable in a climbing harness on long sits. I end up with pressure points, loss of circulation, and discomfort. That means I fidget a LOT. Also, I do lots of all day sits, and climbing harnesses just don't make for pleasant days. The saddle relieved a lot of the pressure points for me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texastaxi View Post
I need some pictures ... I can't visualize how this thing is used.



And since there's nothing behind you (I think), how on Earth do you take a nap?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Devin View Post
Interesting.

I'd like to see an action photo as well.... shooting and napping.


I don't have any pics of me napping, but I turned kinda side saddle to the tree, wrapped my arms around the bridge, and leaned my side (hips through shoulder) and head against the tree. I do have a little footage of my setup in the original saddle I made. Filming isn't all that great, but you can get a better idea.
https://youtu.be/aJi_dw7OOeE

And here is a more in depth video of the basics that DIYSportsman did
https://youtu.be/z_OVhk7U2JY

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Old 12-07-2016, 03:25 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by IkemanTX View Post
Not derailing at all. I just can't get comfortable in a climbing harness on long sits. I end up with pressure points, loss of circulation, and discomfort. That means I fidget a LOT. Also, I do lots of all day sits, and climbing harnesses just don't make for pleasant days. The saddle relieved a lot of the pressure points for me.

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I've never done an all day sit with mine, so I can't speak to the comfort.

Longest I have used mine would be about 3 1/2 hours. And as with any harness I was glad to get it off as soon as I got out of the tree, LOL!!!

I really do like the range it gives me however.
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Old 12-13-2016, 04:17 PM   #48
Reds015
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IkemanTX View Post

I don't have any pics of me napping, but I turned kinda side saddle to the tree, wrapped my arms around the bridge, and leaned my side (hips through shoulder) and head against the tree. I do have a little footage of my setup in the original saddle I made. Filming isn't all that great, but you can get a better idea.
https://youtu.be/aJi_dw7OOeE

And here is a more in depth video of the basics that DIYSportsman did
https://youtu.be/z_OVhk7U2JY

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Yes! I get it now. very cool. How do you turn around? Just have enough slack in the straps?
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Old 12-13-2016, 04:29 PM   #49
IkemanTX
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Originally Posted by Reds015 View Post
Yes! I get it now. very cool. How do you turn around? Just have enough slack in the straps?


The only thing holding the saddle onto me is a non-weight bearing waist belt, so I just loosen that enough to spin around within the saddle. It ends up across my stomach/crotch when I shoot to my "back side" instead of across my butt/lower back in the traditional orientation.


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Old 12-27-2016, 11:41 PM   #50
IkemanTX
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Denton
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Default Anyone else hunt out of a saddle?

Well, I'm pretty much done with my hunting setup for 2017.
I added two Molle pouches to the saddle. One pouch holds a linesman's belt and the other holds a hand drill and 25 bolts for climbing.
Here is the setup

The linesman's belt is made up of a carabiner attaching one side, and a Ropeman1 ascender attaching the other. The Ropeman1 allows the length of the linesman belt to be adjustable with only a single hand. It takes the place of the more traditional, and more cumbersome, prussic knot.

I really can't wait until I can get all this into a tree and start getting used to the new setup.
I can't use the bolts on any WMA's or forestry service property, but private and Army Corps is fair game. Honestly, if it ends up as easy as I think it will, I may decide the properties I hunt based on being able to use bolts.

I am trying to figure out a way to use modified bicycle pedals to stand on that use the same 3/8" diameter hole to slide into as the bolts. That would really round out the system.


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Last edited by IkemanTX; 12-28-2016 at 12:36 AM..
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