If you spend 132 hours over the course of eleven straight days with someone, it’s safe to say you’ll really get to know them. And the same can be said for a tree stand. During the 2011 rut, I had an eleven day vacation in which I spent every hour of the day from sunrise to sunset in my Muddy Hunter Pro tree stand. I used my Muddy’s all season long, but I believe my experiences over this eleven day stretch really epitomized the experience I had with the Hunter Pro tree stands in 2011.
The Muddy Hunter Pro Tree stand is lightweight, portable, quiet and comfortable. Exactly the kind of tree stand you need on an eleven day, dawn til dusk hunting marathon in November.
My all day hunts started on November 3rd in Michigan and I spent 5 more days in my home state. I had four Hunter Pro’s set up across my 90 acre farm, each one in a strategic location. Two of these though I had saved primarily for the rut. With the wind and weather in my favor, I moved into one of these stands an hour before daylight on day one and strapped myself in. Immediately upon climbing into a Muddy Tree stand you notice a couple things. First off, it’s incredibly sturdy. I’ve been in a lot of tree stands, some felt safe, some not so much. With my Muddy’s tightly locked onto a tree, I never once felt unsafe on stand. Next you’ll notice the Muddy seat and cushion, and when I first climb into my stand the cushion is pushed up in a vertical position. There is just enough tension on the seat that I can put it in a vertical position when I want to have more standing room, and then I can move it down into the horizontal position when I’m ready to sit.
Speaking of adjustability, the Muddy Hunter Pro also has some great adjustments that allow you to alter the angle of the seat and floor so that you can remain level even on a crooked tree. This was particularly useful for me on day one, as I was sitting in a tree that kicked back on a relatively steep angle. In most other stands I’d be leaning way back, nearly sliding back on my seat, and my knees would be in my chest. But not with my Muddy, I was comfy as can be.
Now after settling in for the long day, I soon began to appreciate another important trait of this tree stand. After about 5-8 hours in a treestand, most of us can attest to getting a pretty sore rear end. And while you won’t be completely immune to that in a Muddy Hunter Pro, it will certainly be minimized. I can honestly say that I sat comfortably for 12-13 hours a day, eleven days straight with minimal discomfort due to the super thick foam cushion seat on my Muddy. One of the first things most people mention when discussing a Muddy with me is how much they love the seat. It’s that nice. The difference in comfort between my Muddy stands and some of my old cheapos was really night and day this year, and without a doubt it helped me stay on stand longer and improved my chances of tagging a buck.
After my six days in Michigan ended, my pal Corey and I packed our things and headed to a new property we picked up this year in Ohio. This is where I really got to test the portability of my Hunter Pro. While we had set up a handful of tree stands on this property in the summer, with this being our first time hunting the rut here, we knew we’d have to move around. And that we did. On day two of our trip I was ready to make a move and I pulled the Hunter Pro and Muddy Climbing Sticks from the bed of my truck and headed into the woods. At just over 10 pounds, the Hunter Pro is nice and light – perfect for strapping on my backpack and trekking back into the wild. The Hunter Pro is also a relatively compact tree stand as well, which I really liked for this same reason. It was easily transported from one place to another, and I didn’t have issues hiking through thick stuff and getting hung up.
Upon getting to my destination tree, I again got to take advantage of one of the Hunter Pro’s greatest traits, that being it’s ease of set up. With a Hunter Pro tree stand and a set of climbing sticks I could quietly get up in my tree and be set up in about 10 minutes. The climbing sticks, quickly and silently fasten to the tree with Muddy’s rope cam system. I then climb to the top, and pull my Muddy up with a pull rope. Attaching the Muddy to the tree then is as easy as putting the strap loop over a knob, and tightening the strap with a ratchet. In just a minute or so the stand is tight to the tree and I’m up.
Having such a light weight and easy to set up tree stand proved to be instrumental in my Ohio hunt. On the last day, I decided I needed to make another move. That morning I had seen a 140ish inch buck cruise across a ridge about 150 yards down from where I sat. With only one evening left to go, I decided I needed to get on that ridge, as I’d seen another couple bucks cruise through there as well. At about 1:00 PM, I decided it was now or never and I began lowering my gear to the ground. In about 5 minutes I had all of my gear, my treestand and my sticks down on the ground. I then quickly packed everything into/onto my backpack and I began sneaking along the leaf covered hillside. I was guessing that bucks were bedding just down from this ridge in a brushy bowl, so I knew I couldn’t afford to make any noise. I took steps only when the wind blew, and I slowly but surely edged towards my new location.
Upon reaching my destination tree, I repeated the process of unloading, putting my sticks up and then hauling my stand up and on to the tree. In all, another 10 or so minutes and I was set. This move in total only took 30 minutes or so, even with my very slow approach synced to the wind gusts!
About an hour or so later my quick and silent relocation paid off, when a 160 class giant Ohio buck rose up from his bed 70 yards away and surveyed the situation. While he never came any closer and a shot wasn’t possible, this ended up being the best buck I saw all year and an encounter of a lifetime. I’m confident that it wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have my Hunter Pro.
Over the 2011 season and in particular this 11 day rut hunt, my Muddy Hunter Pro proved its worth over and over again. Comfortable, quiet, lightweight and portable, the Hunter Pro turned out to be just what I needed this year. And I imagine it will be for many years to come.
For more information – visit the Muddy Outdoors website