By: Bears Butt

To some of you the title of this makes you think I’ve lost my mind completely and bought a horse and now I’m looking to put a saddle on it. Not so fast! I admit my mind is slipping from what it was even a year ago, but I have not lost it completely. I don’t anticipate ever wanting to own a “God Dammit”, as we call them down on the farm. The horses down there are all owned by other people, and when we move them from one pasture to the other to keep things eaten down, sure as heck, when you go down to check on them a day or two later, they aren’t where you put them. The first thing you say is “God Dammit”!!!! So there is that.

No Saddle Hunting is a way to hunt while elevated in a tree, much like hunting out of a tree stand, the only difference is the hunter is suspended and sitting in a hammock style seat and capable of moving 360 degrees around the tree for a shot. The hunter is very mobile in that he can climb up a tree, sit for awhile and if that doesn’t seem like the right spot, he can climb down, hike over to a better spot and climb up a tree over there. Unlike the tree stand, that takes a lot of effort to take down, pack up, move, climb back up and reset. Tree stands are heavy too. A saddle hunter will have less than 5 pounds of gear and as technology gets better and better, the weight will start dropping on that gear as well.

As an example, let’s look at rope. Back in the day, a rope that had the carrying capacity to be classified as a rescue rope, had to be able to carry the weight of at least two full grown men. One doing the rescuing and the one being rescued. Those ropes were very thick in diameter, long and heavy. The material the rope was made out of stretched a great deal as well, frayed easily when scraped across rocks and trees and on a lot of occasions were only able to be used once and then deemed unsafe for a second recovery job.

Today, there are many ropes made from materials that are light weight, thin diameter and strong enough to pull a truck stuck in the mud out. In fact, a rope I bought just the other day, is made to replace the steel cable found on most winches! It is only 1/4 inches in diameter and has a breaking strength of 8600 pounds! Check out Amsteel blue!!!! If you have ever been on a winch recovery job, and hooked up the winch cable and watched it begin to pull out the truck, it stretches and starts to “sing” as it gets tighter and tighter. If the truck doesn’t start to move out of its stuck place, the cable could break and if it does, someone is going to be hurt real bad. The cable retains energy and when it suddenly breaks, both sides of the break go flying back toward the end on its side of the break. Whatever gets hit by that cable is going to get cut, break or something else bad. However with this new Amsteel product, there is absolutely no retained energy in the rope. If it breaks it simply falls to the ground, safe and harmless! Amsteel isn’t the only product that is made to do the same thing, but you can look them up. The reason I’m bringing it up here is to let you know that a lot of Saddle Hunters are replacing the “bridge” on their climbing harness’ with Amsteel, it’s light weight and extreme breaking point being the reasons.

Saddle hunting began a few years back as a way to replace sitting in a chair on a platform waiting for a deer to come by. Some guy got to thinking, why am I sitting here, when I could be hanging here? Well, I’m sure that wasn’t the way is began, but I had to introduce it some how. So, here is my take on how it got started. Hunters are pretty good at making stuff out of necessity. Some guy liked the idea of being able to sit out in the woods while he was hunting, but he didn’t want to strap a chair to a tree, so he devised a way to tie up a hammock between two trees and then sit on that. A pretty good idea. Then another guy thought, hey, if I could make a hammock that wasn’t so dang big so I could sleep on it, I could tie one end of a rope to a dead deer, sling the hammock portion over my shoulder and drag that deer out of the woods. A dang good idea for a double duty item, a seat and a deer drag. And so it was invented…”The Sit-Drag”….Pretty cleaver huh?

Well, after showing his new invention off at the local sportsmen shows across the country and selling them for a really reasonable price, he had hundreds of them being used all over the place. Well, one day, a hunter was sitting there in his Sit-Drag seat and decided he needed to see a little farther out into the woods and if he could put his seat higher in the tree he would be able to do just that. So he climbed up in the tree and hung his Sit-Drag and sat back down. Man was he cool! Sitting there elevated and sure enough here came a big old buck and because he was sitting high enough, the buck didn’t see him and the rest is history, at least for that buck. When word got around as to what old “Hank” had done and how he fooled the biggest buck in the county, more of his buddies started buying the Sit-Drags and climbing up in trees. Thus came the name “Saddle” Hunting.

As you can imagine, as time goes on, more and more inventions are thought up that make hunting from a Saddle better…wider seats, softer materials, warmers to toast your cold butt, antenna boosters for your cell phone service, foot rests etc. etc. etc. It hasn’t stopped yet. Go on a website called “Saddle Hunter dot Com”, join up and read all about what these guys are doing. It’s a real eye opener.

OK, so I’m afraid of heights and I’ll admit it. I inherited it from my mom, we would go down to Moab and inch out to the edge of one of the mesa’s and look over the edge (the edge was at least 10 feet back from the actual edge, but it was the edge of my edge for sure)…down, down, down to the bottom, 2,000 feet or more wound the Colorado River. She would pull us back away from the edge, which we all knew was just about to break off and send us plummeting all those thousands of feet down to our death. My feet would ache from trying to wrap my toes around the imaginary edge to keep from falling off.

Well, after looking at several (hundred) youtube videos on Saddle Hunting, it seems quite safe once you are up in the tree and safely secured to your saddle and the tree. What can go wrong? As long as your rope doesn’t break, or your carabiner doesn’t give way or come undone, or your saddle doesn’t slip off your butt and slide up your back, or a swarm of yellow jackets doesn’t realize you are too close to their nest. Well, as with most things that are “worth it”, there comes a little risk. But as far as I’m concerned it beats the heck out of sitting in a tree stand. I won’t do that.

Check out some of what I’ve watched by going to and searching for G2-Outdoors. He has a lot of entry level videos out that are very informative and actually convincing to give it a try. He sold me on it.

So, what are some of the advantages of Saddle Hunting? I guess the main one for me is getting off the ground and sitting safely in a very comfortable seat, hooked to a rope that doesn’t make me feel sea sick when the wind blows the tree around. AND, the ability to shoot anywhere in a 360 degree area around the tree. I can shoot my bow, rifle, bb gun, whatever from a saddle. Another advantage is being able to see a cougar or bear coming before it gets to me. AND, I will be able to drop pine cones down on top of squirrels! YES!

So, I have invested in a Sit-Drag and I have modified it with a 1/4 inch Amsteel Blue bridge, sewed on some “hook loops” to the back for attaching “stuff”, even sewed on a snap buckle to keep the saddle around my waste to help with the sliding off the butt scene, that actually sounds quite scary especially if I’m 20 or more feet off the ground. I still have to purchase some “climbing” rated rope to attach to the tree once I’m at hunting height, a linemans’ belt and a couple of climbers locking carabiners. I have already learned a few new knots to tie and some jargon commonly used by rock climbers (Have I told you that rock climbers and horse owners have the same mentality? Just sayin).

Here are some of my newly learned stuff: Saddle, Bridge, Prussic knot, Locking carabiner, Girth hitch, Gri-Gri, Ascension pully, Figure 8 rappelling Tool, Aider, Naider, Climbing Stick , Locked Bremmel, (I’ll think of more).

OH YA! Remember way back when Bears Butt dot Com first started to hit the world wide web. I did a short story on “Ever wanna climb a tree really fast”? It’s a story on here. Anyway, it was a story about a man named Stepp, who invented a way to climb a tree with a way cool looking metal step. Well, these Saddle Hunting guys use those steps a LOT! Cool to think I had read and seen a video produced by Mr. Stepp himself and introduced it to you guys WAY BACK THEN!!!! Cool huh?

Written on February 18th, 2019 , Hunting Stories

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.