There are several options available to saddle hunters to stand on or lean against during their hunts. Almost all these can be broken down into a couple different categories, with just about every method being a platform of some sort, or a ring of steps. Early saddle hunters predominantly used steps spaced around their tree of some sort, whether these were screwed in every half a foot around the girth of the tree, or in the case of strap-ons, threaded through nylon webbing, spaced out as desired, and cinched down with either a ratchets trap or over-center buckle. More recently, platforms reminiscent of miniature treestands have become increasingly popular as they give a widersurface area to stand on, and some feel they make it easier to “pivot” or turn for shots. For years, saddle hunters bought seattopsfrom traditional tree stand manufacturers like Lone Wolf or XtremeOutdoorProducts, added aluminum bar stock and standoffs to the back, and used a cinch-style strap to attach to the tree. Tethrd’s out-of-the-boxreadyPredatorPlatformhas all but done away with the need for the DIY platforms. A nice bridge between a ring of steps and a true pivot-style platform can be had by affixing several Wild Edge Stepps at the same height around the tree; since you can place two feet on each Stepp, having several of these at the same height on the tree serves to give you more standing room than a traditional “L” shaped step in the manner of a platform, but can give you more room to “walk” around the tree in the nature of a ring of steps. The last point worth discussing is whether you want to use kneepads or strap a foam pad to the tree itself. Since saddle hunters are facing the tree and not away from it, they’ll often opt to sit with their knees against the tree for periods of time to change things up–just as a traditional tree stand hunter alternates between sitting and standing. This is surprisingly comfortable, and saddle hunters routinely talk about taking naps in this position when the action slows down. I prefer kneepads, as I can wear them in and out and it’s one less thing to have to carry or affix to the tree at hunting height.
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