What It Costs to Start Saddle Hunting

If you’re considering saddle hunting, but you’re not sure what gear you need or how much it will cost, this article is for you! 

We’ll break down the costs of all the essentials as well as popular accessories, from budget options to the best of the best. From there, you’ll be able to decide if this unique style of hunting is right for you, and what you’ll need to budget to get started.

Basic Equipment

There are five basic pieces of saddle hunting equipment that you’ll need to get started:

  1. Hunting saddle
  2. Tether rope
  3. Lineman’s rope
  4. Platform
  5. Climbing sticks (or other method for climbing)

Basic Equipment Cost Breakdown

ItemBudget PriceHigh-End Price
Saddle Kit$200$500
Platform$70$300
Climbing Sticks$100$400
TOTAL$370$1,200

Saddle Kit

You have two options for getting the first three pieces of gear: buy each of them separately or buy a saddle kit from one of the many saddle manufacturers. These kits typically include the saddle itself plus necessary ropes and carabiners.

Expect to pay between $200 and $500+ for your saddle kit.

For $200, you can pick up one of the Hawk or XOP kits. Both will get the job done. They’re just not going to have all the bells and whistles – or the comfort level – of some of the higher-end saddles.

On the upper end of that spectrum are top-of-the-line saddles like the Tethrd Lockdown, CRUZR XC, or the Custom Gear Modifications (CGM) Cobra. 

If you want a good balance between quality and price, then you should consider some of the great mid-priced options like the Latitude Method 2, Tethrd Phantom, or Trophyline Covert Lite 2.0.

Platform

You’ll need a platform to rest your feet on while you’re in the tree. Like saddles, these platforms come in a wide range of price points. Costs typically vary based on materials, size and weight. In general, the lighter the platform, the more expensive it will be.

The only platform on the market under $100 that I’m aware of is the Hawk Helium Apex platform at a price point of around $70. Most of the popular models are in the $150 to $200 range, but some can cost as much as $400. 

If you want the best, then consider the Latitude Rebel SS platform. Despite its generous size at nearly 12 x 13 inches, it only weighs 2.7 pounds.

If you’re looking for some great mid-priced options, check out the Tethrd Predator or Predator XL for a little more room, the XOP Edge, or the Trophyline Mission. 

Climbing Sticks

Obviously, you will need a way to get up and down the tree. Climbing sticks are the most popular option for that task, and like the other saddle gear we’ve discussed, they come in a variety of configurations and prices. 

At the bottom end, Hawk once again leads the way with their Helium sticks at a price point around $100. On the other end of the spectrum are ultra-lightweight sticks like Tethrd Ones. They weigh less than a pound per stick and will set you back around $350 for a three-stick set.

There are several great options with prices in between the Hawks and Tethrd Ones. My favorites are the Latitude Carbon SS sticks at $239 for a set of three and Tethrd Skeletor sticks at $225 for a set of four.

Useful Accessories

Several saddle hunting accessories hanging from a gear strap.

Beyond the basics, a few key accessories can really improve your saddle hunting experience:

  1. Ascenders – Mechanical rope ascenders replace prusik knots for easier adjustment on fixed ropes. About $60 each. 
  2. Back Band – A back band or “recliner” cradles your back when leaning or seated in the saddle, taking pressure off your tailbone and spine. Expect to spend around $20-40.
  3. Gear Bags – Gear bags or “dump pouches” mounted on your saddle allow easy access to small gear like your bow release, rangefinder, headlamp, and others. Expect to spend around $20-30 each.
  4. Gear Strap – Gear straps go around the tree to hang your things for quick access like your binoculars, rangefinder, grunt call, backpack, and other accessories. Again, expect to pay $20-30.
  5. Bow (or Gun) Hook – You’ll need a place to hang your weapon of choice in the tree. These come in a variety of options like the typical screw-in hanger to special hangers that integrate with the gear strap. Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $30.
  6. Backpack – You’ll need a sturdy but comfortable backpack to haul your saddle gear into the woods. You’ll want to make sure the pack will securely hold all your saddle gear in place. Packs range from $60 for a great option from TideWe to $300+ for premium packs.

With accessories, expect to spend $250-500 more, bringing total costs for a complete setup to $600 on the low end up to $1700 or more for high-end choices.

Accessory Cost Breakdown

AccessoryPrice Range
Ascenders$120.00
Backband$20-40
Gear Pouch$20-30
Gear Strap$20-30
Bow Hanger$15-30
Knee Pads$20-70
Saddle Pack$70-300
TOTAL COST$285 – $620

The Used Gear Option

For hunters trying to save money, used gear can provide an excellent value. Saddle hunting is a gear-intensive pursuit. Avid hunters often upgrade to the latest equipment, flooding the used market with almost-new saddles, platforms, climbing sticks, and accessories.

Check saddle hunting forums and Facebook groups to find deals. Ask sellers lots of questions and ask to see dated photos. This protects you against potential scams. Inspect used gear carefully upon delivery.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, getting started saddle hunting requires an investment. But virtually any budget can get you geared up. Focus first on quality gear to protect yourself while elevated in a tree. 

Do your homework to find the best gear you can afford. Consider used equipment as well to maximize value. With smart shopping, anyone can experience the fun of saddle hunting within their budget.

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