Updated: Aug 5, 2020
In a world where technological advancements are released at a rapid rate, saddle hunting has stood the test of time and only continues to get better.
Photo Courtesy of Rajin Suchdev
Pursuing game in my youth was a lot simpler than it is today. I'd open the truck door, grab my weapon of choice, any other essential good, and get headed. Today, I find myself lugging a heavy pack afield which usually causes frustration and exhaustion. We've all been on a "hang and hunt" mission where we get halfway to our destination, carrying a heavy stand or climber on our back and sweating like we just ran a marathon. I've lost count of how many times I have said, "I've gotta find a way to lighten my load for future hunts." Fortunately, my prayers have been answered. I've found a way to resolve this problem, and I am not looking back.
Over a decade ago saddle hunting seemed to hold the interest of only a small population of hunters. It was a “remember when" topic at one point. Tree stand manufacturers have done an excellent job marketing to hunters of all shapes and sizes and have flooded the market. However, Greg Godfrey from Tethrd kicks it up a notch and offers something different, with their ultimate tree saddle hunting setup.
In 2015, I shot a 160-inch whitetail the opening night of the New Hampshire deer season. I spent the entire summer running trail cameras, spotting, and videoing my target buck. While anxiously checking trail camera photos before hunting the opener, we noticed we were within earshot of his bedroom. Seizing the opportunity, I hung a double set of tree stands which aided in our taking of the deer two hours later. I HATED everything about trying to hang that set of metal, clanky noisy stands. No matter how slow and careful I was, it made noise. When I look back on that hunt, I would have been better served hunting out of a saddle that evening. The main reason being how quiet and stealthy they are.
Since joining the Tethrd nation, tree selection is no longer a challenge. In 2018, I jumped on the bird and flew to Nebraska to hunt whitetails and mule deer. Everything I needed fit inside my travel bag under the plane but I still felt as though something important was missing. Anxious to get to my final destination, I remember scouting around looking for places to set up my stand. Then it dawned on me, because I had the tree saddle set up, I was no longer limited on tree selections. On the first morning of my hunt, I had an 11 point enter a scrub field and work his way directly behind my setup. Due to the flexibility of the tree saddle, I was able to draw and swing 180 degrees behind the stand to execute the shot comfortably. At no point did I feel limited in my range. The tree I selected was far from straight, but having my saddle on hand allowed me to stealthily adapt to the situation, proving successful. #saddleforthewin
The following December, the state of New Hampshire had a limited crop of acorns making it easier to pinpoint deer on green pieces later in the year. The last few nights of the season were some of the best as the number of deer I observed those final evenings was impressive. At one point, my stand location was on the edge of the field and I had 23 deer in front of me. The saddle gave me the advantage of being on the field edge while also concealing behind the tree. I had deer walking under and around me while my Mantis allowed me to maneuver around the trunk of the tree and block my silhouette. Not one deer was aware of my presence during these setups.
One of the biggest reasons I support the Tethrd brand is because of their desire to evolve according to the practical needs of sportsmen and women. When the Mantis was first launched, it met the desires of many hunters, like myself. Godfrey and the team listened to and implemented feedback enhancing their product immensely. Again in 2020, the welcomed addition of the Phantom exceeded expectations at the ATA show. I can't be more excited to have this product in my hands come fall.
Attention to detail regarding the bridge configuration, bridge adjustments, & thigh straps were major improvements making the Phantom superior in comfort for a longer period of sits. The Accessories page is a must-visit and will make these guys a one-stop-shop for all your saddle hunting needs. It seems that every time I visit their page, there is something new that will make my life easier in the tree.
One thing that hasn't changed is Tethrds commitment to manufacturing the lightest saddle on the market. For those early season hunts when you are trying to keep cool, the mesh-backed seat makes all the difference in the world. Being an avid elk hunter, I have no reservations packing this saddle into the backcountry and posting up on an early September wallow.
Every saddle hunter knows how obnoxious it can be when you are trying to scale your target tree and your bridge is continuously catching on your climbing sticks, or tree limbs as you progress upwards. The good people at Tethrd have designed a new bridge system allowing you to sync up any slack that might pose as a hazard climbing and re-adjust when you are setting your tether.
Without a doubt, it's apparent the Tethrd team wants hunters to succeed. The thought, intention, and craftsmanship put into their product have them in a league of their own. I encourage anyone who is interested in getting their feet wet in saddle hunting to check out the "Teach-N-Train Tour" across the nation. This is a great opportunity to pick the brains of the inventors, saddle up, and try-before-you-buy.
As always, my door is open to answer any questions you might have. Feel free to reach out on the contact page or communicate through social media. Best of luck to all of you out there. Remember, always stay tethered and let me know what you think when you get their “saddle hunting gear in your dirty, calloused hands!”