By Mark Huelsing
My hunting season this year is one giant experiment. Not only am I trying new tactics, but I am trying a lot of new properties. One way I am rolling the dice this year is by using one tree stand for the entire season.
4 months, 6 properties, dozens of locations…one treestand.
The idea of using one treestand isn’t all that new to me – I have used climbers almost exclusively for a few years now. But the problem with a traditional climbing treestand is that you spend nearly as much time hunting for the right tree as you do hunting deer; and often times, the “right” tree isn’t in the right spot.
Every hunt I am packing a treestand in on my back, setting it up, hunting, climbing down, gathering it all together and packing it back out on my back. That sounds like a lot of work, and in many ways it is. Could I really do this all season? Is it worth it? Why would I even do it?
First, let’s take a look at why I would do this. As I mentioned, I am hunting a few different properties this year. If I wanted to cover each property with even just a couple of stands, I would be looking at several treestand sets. But several of these properties are public, and I certainly don’t want to leave even a cheap treestand out on public land.
What about the private land? Well, these spots are relatively new to me, and though I hunted them a bit last year, I still don’t feel like I have a perfect understanding of the best treestand locations. Using one treestand gives me maximum mobility. I can adjust my setup to nearly any place at pretty much any time. Sometimes what you thought was going to be a great spot ends up being just 30 yards too far off course – making an adjustment isn’t a problem when you have the mobility of my setup. I can move based on wind direction, or hike in and try a spot just once to see how I like it.
Wouldn’t it be better to have a mobile setup and some permanent stands? Yes, it would! But I am not made of money, and even setting up a handful of permanent sets with a cheap stand and steps will add up. Investing in one quality, mobile treestand setup will ultimately save me money in the long run.
How do I do it? There are several ways to put together the ultimate mobile treestand setup. I’ve already mentioned the downsides that I’ve faced using a climbing treestand setup, so I won’t cover that again. I realized that if I wanted a setup that was packable, light, fast, quiet, and would get me in just about any tree, then a hang-on stand and climbing sticks is the ideal solution.
I shopped around for months last winter, comparing all of my options, and ended up going with a Lone Wolf Alpha and the Lone Wolf climbing sticks. I’ll save a full review of this gear for another day, because it really does deserve an in-depth look, but let me just say that I have no regrets about going with this setup. In fact, I think that this setup is what has made this one treestand approach so successful for me. Getting set using this gear is easy, fast, and quiet.
Going into this season I really wondered if I was going to regret banking every hunt on this setup. So far, 5 weeks in, with plenty of climbs under my belt, I have to say that I have no regrets. I don’t think this approach is for everyone and if I primarily hunted one property and knew all the best spots, then I would certainly love to have some sets just waiting for me to walk to. But packing everything in and setting up from scratch really isn’t bad at all if you take the time to put together a solid system and practice the “workflow” for getting setup.
– Mark Huelsing is a regular guy with an irregular passion for bowhunting and the outdoors. If he is not bowhunting, then he is planning towards it, training for it, and writing about it at SoleAdventure.com