Mobile Deer Stand Setup (3 Lightweight Suggestions)
Thinking about getting a lightweight mobile deer stand setup for run and gun? Way to go! This contraption is a game-changer and I believe that every whitetail hunter should give it a try.
There are three main types of deer stands, and picking the right one for you might be harder than you thought.
However, don't let this discourage you because I’ll help you make the right choice.
In today's article, I carefully analyzed all the crucial features of mobile deer stands and compared the three types along those lines.
Let's see which one will best work for you!
Why Use a Mobile Deer Stand Setup?
Still not sure whether to get a mobile deer stand setup? Let me explain how you could benefit from using it.
At times, whitetail hunting requires you to be proactive or aggressive, and frequently search for new spots.
A mobile hang and hunt setup allows you to, well, be mobile. You’ll be ready to move to a new position whenever the need arises.
Mobile stands will let you do that since they're lightweight and quick to set up.
Ideal for public land
On top of that, these stands are excellent for hunting on public land.
They're easy to take down and pack once you're finished for the day.
None of the above is possible with a standard ladder stand.
So, for hunters who are constantly on the move, mobile models have no alternative.
Concealment & protection
Even though there are different opinions about the matter, a mobile stand won’t be noticed by deer.
Some hunters find this overly cautious and non-productive, while others swear by the mobile stand as a crucial hunting gear.
The reasoning behind this is simple.
With age deer familiarize with the core areas of their movements and bedding areas, and could be tipped off quite easily with a strange contraption in the wilderness.
A mobile stand will prevent that and tip the (already weak) scale in your favor.
Hide your hunting spot
Furthermore, having a mobile stand won’t reveal your perfect spot to other hunters.
Even though this might seem like a paranoid opinion, there have been a lot of reports of hunters stealing someone’s hard work scouting, preparing, and setting everything up.
It happens a lot on Bump and Dump spots - a guy just takes your climber and snags the prize for your hard work.
Not everyone will experience this, but the situation is real, and it does happen.
Unfortunately, that’s not where some people stop.
As often as the above mentioned case, hunting equipment thievery is on the rise, and a standard ladder setup is a lucrative opportunity for low morale hunters.
With a mobile deer stand set up, you’re protected from these bad situations, while being at advantage on dandys by being highly mobile.
Lightweight Mobile Deer Stand Setups:
I mentioned that mobile stand setups come in three different designs:
Each of these has its pros and cons, and depending on your preferences, one will suit you more than the others.
Check them out:
1. Hang-on Mobile Stand Setups:
Hang-on models are among the heavier (lightweight) mobile stands there are.
The weight of the standing platform on its own can vary from 8 to 12 pounds, but you’ll need to haul plenty more things along with it.
For example, you’ll have to bring climbing sticks, a rope, a belt, and a harness.
With all of this, the total weight of your stand setup will be around 20 pounds.
When it comes to setting up a hang-on stand, here’s what you need to know. The stand can be put up in almost any kind of tree, given that it’s strong enough.
It can be a bushy tree with lots of branches, or straight and limbless; it doesn’t matter.
This will give you a lot of versatility, which is certainly a good thing.
How to Use:
Step 1: You start the setup by attaching climbing sticks to the tree and going up to your desired height.
Step 2: Then, you’ll have to hold the standing platform with one hand while tightening its belt with the other.
Step 3: Once you can safely stand on the platform, secure yourself with a safety harness.
Step 4: Make sure to practice at ground level before going high up the tree.
Hang-on stand set up isn’t fast, and it’ll definitely take some practice before you become good at it.
However, when you get the hang of it, you should be able to have everything up in under 15 minutes.
I’d also like to point out that climbing sticks are optional. If you’re a proficient tree climber, perhaps you won’t need them for certain kinds of trees.
As for comfort, hang-on models are one of the best. They have a seat attached to the platform, which can give you a much-needed break from standing.
They vary a lot from model to model.
Sometimes, it’s a simple stool, and in other cases, you’ve got a full-blown chair (with armrest and recliner).
This feature can make the hunting experience very comfy indeed.
Now, staying stealthy is of utmost importance to a hunter, and you need a setup that will provide that.
I’m not talking about visibility here, but rather how much noise setting up the stand will make.
Hang-on stands won’t cause you to be very loud. The more experienced you get, the more delicate the process will become.
Hang-ons will give you a lot of movement freedom allowing you to aim in all directions. You will also have a nice overview of the area.
You will need to be careful not to slip off the platform.
Your safety harness will keep you from falling to the ground, but nevertheless, you might get badly hit.
Not to mention that it’s really hard to get back to the platform afterward.
If you’re interested in purchasing one such stand, you’ll need around $400 for a high-quality model.
In case you think this is a lot of money - think again.
Hang-ons are the cheapest type of mobile stand setups, as you will find out in the remainder of the article.
2. Climber Mobile Stand Setups:
In terms of form, function, and size, climber stands have much in common with hang-ons.
However, they differ in some crucial aspects, so let’s dissect them to see what they’re all about.
Climber stands are one of the heaviest lightweight setups for deer hunting.
They’ve got an average weight of 20 pounds.
This is kind of like hang-ons, right? Wrong.
The hang-on platform weighs around 10-12 pounds on its own, but the overall setup weighs more because of climbing sticks.
Climber stands don’t require the use of sticks, so just the platform weights a total of 20 pounds.
This means that you can’t make a climber setup lighter by discarding some of its elements.
Speaking of its elements, this stand features just two parts - the platform and the seat.
They are all you need to climb the tree.
Now, these stands can only be used on straight limbless trees and no other kinds. If you don’t hunt in such forests, don’t buy this model.
Setting up the stand is relatively simple, and much quicker than with the hang-on.
The platform and the seat both have belts that get wrapped around the tree. You get up higher by moving these two up the trunk.
How to Use:
Step 1: First, you slide the seat up and hold your weight on it.
Step 2: Next, you’ll lift the stand up with your feet.
You have to repeat this caterpillar-like movement until you reach your preferred height.
A safety harness should be attached above the seat while you do this, just in case you slip.
As I said, this process moves pretty quickly, and it’s not difficult to wrap your head around.
Climbing down is essentially the same movement just done in reverse.
It’ll take some upper body strength and heavy core work to be able to do it (both up and down).
I advise anyone interested in climber stands to first test out their fitness level, and improve if needed.
Comfort-wise, the climber stand is almost identical to the hang-on.
They’ve got the same platform-and-seat construction, with various kinds of seat designs.
Stealth and Huntability
The trouble here is that it can be pretty noisy.
Every time you get one step higher with the platform, you basically clank it against the tree trunk.
If there are any deer around, they might hear you and run away. It is possible to make less noise once you get more skilled with it, so there is hope!
Huntability is pretty high, as you’ll be able to move around on the spacious platform.
Just like with the hang-on, you’ll have to be careful not to fall.
A good quality climber mobile stand setup will set you back around $450, give or take $50.
As you can see, it’s got a similar price as the previously mentioned type. You can, of course, buy a pricier model if you like.
However, don’t go below the price I mentioned, as you’ll probably be compromising your safety.
3. Saddle Mobile Stand Setups:
Last but not least, we've got the ever more popular saddle stand setup.
This design is nothing like the previous two, and it shares very few common features with them. Let’s check it out.
The main reason why people choose a saddle setup is its weight.
It is the most lightweight design on the market, with the entire setup sometimes having less than 14 pounds.
Compare that previous two and their 20 pounds; it's a huge difference.
So, let's see what a saddle setup looks like. This one features the most elements by far.
It's got a tiny standing platform, just big enough to fit your feet.
Then, you get a harness, a lineman's belt, a rope, a tether, and climbing sticks.
Yup, you'll be equipped like a proper rock climber.
With a saddle, most of your weight will be hanging from a rope attached to your harness.
You'll be sitting back in the harness, facing the tree, while holding your feet on the small platform.
The tether can be used to adjust your distance from your anchor point.
The saddle perhaps has the most technical setup of all the mobile stands. You'll have to master ropes, knots, harnesses, and tethers well.
However, once you get a good grip on it, the process won't take long.
OK, it all sounds neat, but how do you get up in the tree?
By using climbing sticks, of course. That's how you get down, too, by the way.
Comfort, or the lack thereof, is perhaps the biggest reason why people choose not to buy saddles. However, don't be quick to judge.
I suggest everyone try it before deciding whether it's right for them or not.
Yes, you'll be sitting in the harness the entire time, but it doesn't have to be unpleasant.
You'll play around with the tether a bit and eventually figure out the most comfortable position.
Also, you can switch the weight from the standing platform to back to the harness from time to time.
Stealth and Huntability
This setup will keep you in stealth-mode, as it isn't noisy to get it up the tree.
When it comes to huntability, I have to point out that this design isn't for everyone.
Unlike with climbers and hang-ons, the saddle will have you facing the tree.
This won't allow you to have a good 180-degree overview of the area.
Also, your movement freedom might be hindered by the rope and the tree trunk.
The good part is that this setup is probably the safest when it comes to potential falls.
Sure, you might slip off the platform, but the tether will prevent you from hitting the tree hard.
The best of all, getting your feet back on it is super easy.
This may come as a surprise, but the saddle mobile stand setup is by far the most expensive of the three. Shocking, I know.
How could those ropes and harnesses cost more than a big metal standing platform?
Beats me. All I can tell you is that you'll need around $600 for a decent saddle setup.
There you have it, folks, that's all that I've prepared for you today, and I hope you found the article helpful.
Ideally, it should get you one step closer to purchasing your very own mobile deer stand setup.
One last piece of advice would be not to rush.
Take your time and carefully consider all the crucial factors before giving your money to anyone.
Of course, more research is always a good thing.
See what other users have to say about the models that catch your eye.
Stay safe and happy hunting, friends!
What is your favorite? Which one would suit you the most?
Let me know in the comments section below - let’s exchange opinions!