By: Taylor Chamberlin
We all know that saddle hunting is undeniably better than any other form of elevated hunting. You’ve all heard by now all the reasons why; it’s safer, more versatile, more comfortable, etc… but when I tell people that I can be more comfortable in my saddle than I am lounging in the recliner in my man cave, people often give me a look of “huhhhh?”
I get it, most people haven’t had the opportunity (or “addiction” according to my wife) to hunt over 200 days a year for the past 14 years… all of those hunts from a saddle. When you put that much time into something, it’s pretty easy to have your system dialed. Now, it’s no doubt that saddle hunting has come a long, long way from what I was sitting in back in 2008, but one thing that’s remained constant is that the “angle of your dangle” is where comfort truly lies.
Most everyone that has transitioned to saddle hunting started hunting in a tree stand, and that’s where the problem begins. When you’re hunting from a stand, you learn instantly that there are invisible walls that extend vertically from the edges of a stand. Cross that invisible line and nothing but danger lurks on the other side… literally. Lean over and fall. But oh not true in a saddle. From a saddle you are constantly tethered (#tethrd) to the tree, so you’re free to lean anyway you so choose. That invisible force field is gone. On the other side is where true comfort lies! Gone are the days of sore backs, standing up and sitting down like in boot camp, and fidgeting like a toddler in a car seat. From a saddle you’re free to lean any which way you find comfortable; and the angle of the dangle is born.
There are a couple adjustments that are critical in getting your personal dangle angle dialed, and not all saddle are created equally when it comes to what they offer for comfort, but if you’re using a Tethrd saddle equipped with comfort channels and a UtiliBridge, you’re leading the pack with your options. A small adjustment on the comfort channels will result in pretty drastic changes in the distribution of your weight between lower back and upper thigh, and adjusting the prusik on the UtiliBridge really helps control the amount of pressure you feel on your hips and thighs, as well as how you angle away from the tree.
One of the most important and often overlooked keys to perfecting your dangle angle is the height that you wrap your tree tether around the tree. Like a foundation of comfort, this is where the start of your drape begins, and along with it, of almost equal importance, is the point at which your prusik or ascender is then placed to connect to. It’s amazing what ½” either way will do for a light bulb moment of euphoric bliss levels of comfort. Every saddle hunting “expert” I know has a certain reference point on their face/head that they use as their tether height. “Eyebrow level”, “forehead level”, “chin level”, etc., are often conversations at the tables of the diehard death dangler. Make sure to try them out for yourselves, you might be surprised what you realize you like.
Ultimately comfort is subjective. What’s comfortable for me could be repulsive for you, which is why the saddle and all it’s amazing adjustability helps put another feather in its cap for why the saddle reigns supreme over any other elevated hunting method. The best way for you to get your comfort dialed is to sit at ground level and try different combinations. Eventually you’ll find your setup so dialed that you’ll catch yourself saying “ahhhhhh” as you sit back in your setup.