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Saddle Hunting 101

Saddle Hunting 101

Saddle hunting has recently gained a ton of traction in the mainstream of deer hunting. But there's still a lot of questions about what gear you need for saddle hunting. We take a look at the basic gear you need, as well as what you can upgrade, and ways you can modify your saddle hunting gear.

Find out why so many hunters are ditching their treestands for saddle hunting.

Saddle Hunting 101

What is saddle hunting? Why would you hunt out of a saddle? Do I use it with a tree stand? Is it safe? Is it comfortable?

These are questions everyone has about saddle hunting at the beginning. Don't worry, we’re here to help.

For most hunters, it’s easier if you see the product in use to understand how the system works.




I first learned of saddle hunting 3 years ago while looking for a mobile elevated deer hunting solution. At that point, I had extensively tried treestands, climb-on, ladder stands, home built platforms, and ground blinds. Year after year, I had to manage and maintain over a dozen treestands and as many climbing sticks, screw-in and ladders.


I must admit, I was skeptical when I first found-out about Saddle hunting. I remember thinking... look at those "Cowboys" and their saddles. I was under the impression it wasn't stable or comfortable. I thought you needed to be an athlete to use this hunting method.


Even though I was skeptical, I researched saddles, platforms, climbing sticks, and one company stood out from the pack. Tethrd was the company with the most compelling offer, best customer reviews and strongest endorsement by professionals. The company is owned by saddle hunters who have designed and built those products for saddle hunting with tremendous help from seasoned experts.


After confirming that Super physical requirements were not required to saddle hunt, I decided to go ahead and take the plunge and ordered myself the Total hunting Saddle Kit by Tethrd. It did not come cheap but I had high hopes.


While waiting for the equipment to arrive, I was nervous... will it be comfortable, will it be stable while shooting a bow, crossbow or riffle, will it live up to the hype?


Once the Total hunting Saddle Kit by Tethrd arrived, I picked a tree in my backyard and tried setting-up for the first time.


After reviewing a few videos on how to set-up. It was easy to grasp how to do it. It came down to setting up my climbing sticks, while using my lineman's belt all the way up to height I was looking for. Once this done, it was a breeze to set-up the Predator Plateform. Before stepping on the platform, I put up by Tether and clip my bridge to it.  It took me a few sits to really dial-in my preferences and my favorite positions. The beauty of a saddle is the ability to change your position any time without much movement and zero noise. It allows you to increase your comfort level or position yourself for the kill shot. 


It has now been 3 years since I first started hunting with the Tethrd Saddles. I have harvested a few deer with it now. I have spent over 100 hours saddle hunting and I can honestly say that it is now my favorite hunting method. I no longer use treestands. I am so much more comfortable, mobile, versatile and safe on a saddle. I can shoot 360-degrees around me, I can hunt almost any tree, I can take a nap on my saddle without any safety issues, all my hunting gears and backpack are in front of me. I have done many all day sits using my saddle and it is way more comfortable to sit and shoot from than any treestands.


I am really happy with my saddle hunting kit. It has simplified my hunting gears while adding comfort, mobility, safety, amazing capabilities and hunting opportunities. I can't ask for a better elevated deer hunting solution.


Don't hesitate to get yourself in a Tethrd Saddle, you won't regret it.

Have a great and safe saddle hunting season!


Michel Petit




Here are the most common questions about Saddle hunting.


First of all you’ll need the Phantom saddle Starter kit or the Complete kit 100% Hunt ready.

If you’re new to saddle hunting, we recommend going with the Complete kit 100% Hunt ready to really dial in your comfort and have a worry-free experience from the get-go. If you’re familiar with saddle hunting, you may opt for the SYS Hauler to conveniently store your ropes or accessories on your existing saddle or the Recliner for added comfort.

Next, you’ll need a Tether and a lineman belt which are included in your Phantom Starter Saddle Kit. The Lineman Belt ensures you are connected to the tree from the ground all the way up to hunting height. It also allows you to more easily, and safely setup your climbing method while you climb. The Tether attaches you to the tree once you get to hunting height and is your main safety line during the hunt. If you’re comfortable with knots and rope selection, you can always buy ropes from a reputable climbing equipment reseller.

However, Tethrd is the only company in the world offering factory-spliced tethers and lineman belts. The factory splices are stronger than climbing knots and also serve to reduce weight and bulk. We feel like smaller, lighter, and stronger is the way to go. Also, the Tether and Lineman belt come with upgraded load-rated carabiners that work hand-in-hand with the Ropeman 1 ascender.

After you’re connected to the tree, you’ll need something for your feet. We recommend the Predator Platform.

That’s it! You need a saddle, some safety ropes, and a platform. After that, you can add accessories like the SYS Hauler, the Recliner for increased comfort on long hunts, or knee pads for extra comfort during all day hunts. However, all of these are nice-to-haves, not necessities.



Unfortunately, many hunters don’t use any type of safety device with their tree stand. This is sad, but true. Saddle hunters don’t have a choice. The Tethrd Phantom saddle connects to the tree with built in safety devices that make it nearly impossible to fall when used properly under normal hunting conditions. There’s also a big difference between the way in which safety harnesses and hunting saddles approach falls. Safety harnesses do nothing to stop you from falling from the tree. They are designed to catch your fall and stop you from hitting the ground. Conversely, the Tethrd Phantom is designed to prevent your fall in the first place.



One of the most asked questions relates to comfort; is a Tethrd Phantom comfortable? The short answer is “yes”. Saddles are very comfortable. Most users find them superior to traditional hang on tree stands right out of the box while a few users experience mild discomfort due to improper setup techniques. Minor discomfort can be present on the hips (hip pinch) or lower back. This is almost always caused by setting up the saddle incorrectly or having the wrong size. Another comfort factor is something we like to call “saddle shape”. Some users bodies are slower to adapt to different pressure zones and angles created by hanging from a tree. I call this getting in saddle shape. The more time you spend in your saddle, the more your body will adjust to the system and your saddle shape will improve dramatically.



The Tethrd Phantom allows you to hide behind the trunk for the ultimate camouflage. You no longer have to stick out like a sore thumb. Saddle hunters generally setup facing the direction in which the deer are expected to travel. This allows the hunter to keep the tree trunk in-between the deer’s line of sight; thus hiding the hunter from the deer’s view and eliminating the hunter’s outline completely. There is no more stealthy way to hunt from an elevated position.



Since saddle hunters are suspended from a tether in the tree, it is important to have a platform. It serves two main purposes. 1 – it allows the hunter a place to rest their feet and take some weight off the Saddle if necessary. 2 – It allows the hunter to pivot or move around the tree in order to achieve a 360 degree shooting range. The platform is placed at the top of the hunters climbing aid and should only be climbed on AFTER the hunter has attached his tether to the tree. Just like traditional tree stands, most accidents happen during the transition from climbing aid to platform. With a saddle, you can virtually eliminate the chance of falling during this transition. You can learn more about the Tethrd Predator Platform here.



Climbing methods are not specific to saddle hunting. All hunters that choose to hunt from an elevated position must first climb a tree. There are a lot of options for climbing the tree from inexpensive stick ladders, portable climbing sticks (Lone Wolf, Muddy Pro, Hawk Heliums, etc.), screw in steps, and a host of other options. Your climbing method choice will depend on your style of hunting and what is legal in your area. We highly recommend the Skeletor from Tethrd. 



There are 4 different shots saddle hunters can take. We’ll address them from the perspective of right handed shooters moving counterclockwise around the tree. The four shots are: The Strong Side Shot (10 o’clock to 7 o’clock), the Drop Shot (7 o’clock to 5 o’clock), the Weak Side Shot (5 o’clock to 2 o’clock) and the Top Shot (2 o’clock to 10 o’clock). It’s also worth mentioning that proper shooting form is easier to maintain in a saddle versus a traditional tree stand. The geometry created by the saddle makes the “T” form more natural.




Sizing your Phantom Saddle is simple.

They have designed & Engineered 4 patent pending features into the Phantom Saddle. Not only does the Phantom solve most sizing issues (fits waists from 28″-40″), but it’s unquestionably the most comfortable & technologically advanced, yet simple to use, saddle ever made.

Fits waists from 28″-40″




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