A tree saddle is an alternative for any person wanting to hunt from an elevated position without requiring a tree stand. The item itself looks like a modified rock climbing harness that comprises a mesh “seat” and nylon straps that wrap around the waist and upper legs. Instead of sitting on a tree stand, while wearing a saddle, a person can just clip into a secure rope on the tree and then sit or lean back in the harness.
Jason Wible Frenchcreek mentions that doing so would be similar to how a climber looks when after climbing into a secure anchor on a rock wall while leaning back in their harness with their feet against the wall.
Jason Wible Frenchcreek underlines the reasons for using a tree saddle
Utility workers commonly wear a harness when hanging from a telephone pole. These harnesses keep the workers tethered to the pole. The concept of using a tree saddle for hunting is similar. Saddles are generally made of fabric, and the safety and tree tethers are made of ropes. With a tree saddle, people use the same climbing apparatuses that they would with hang-on stands. While hunting, they simply have to sit comfortably in a hammock-like fabric seat that conforms to the shape of the butt and is tethered to the tree in front. The tree tether can adjust to the seating or standing position within seconds at any time during a hunt.
There are many reasons to use a tree saddle while hunting, safety being the primary one. Fall hazards are the key downside of conventional tree stand hunting. Thousands of hunters get injured from elevated hunting every year. However, when a person properly hunts from a saddle, they shall be tethered to the tree from the moment step foot off the ground. The whole design mimics an arborist or telephone utility worker working from a tree.
Tree saddles are considered to be among the most important safety tools for elevated hunting
The lightweight make of a tree saddle is another important reason that contributes to its popularity. If a person has ever carried a conventional hang-on stand or a climber a few miles out onto state land, they are likely to understand the importance of a lightweight setup. The average weight of a complete saddle system tends to be around 2-5 lbs, including the lineman’s rope, gear hoist, pouches, tether, and more. As it has almost half the weight of the lightest hang-on stand, a large number of mobile hunters have switched to saddle hunting over the years.
According to Jason Wible Frenchcreek, things can change in an instant while hunting. Hence, knowing how to be adaptable can make or break a hunt. Tree selection can especially be a critical decision when determining where to hunt.
If a person has a conventional climber stand, they shall be limited to specific diameter trees and trees with little to no branches. The trees additionally should be almost straight with minimal leaning angle. Finding such a perfect setup can prove to be extremely difficult. Tree saddles, however, allow hunters to maneuver into almost any tree regardless of diameter or angle.