For more on how to prepare shooting lanes for the season, check out this Tech Talk segment from Bowhunter TV.
One of the reasons I'm not a big fan of guided hunts is that I hate sitting in treestands and blinds that someone else has set up. I can always find something I'd do different, and in plenty of cases, plenty of 'somethings' I'd do different. The most obvious involves shooting lanes. A bow stand without decent shooting lanes is nothing more than a frustrating observation post. No thanks.
It's not just shooting lanes that need to be trimmed. Entrance and exit routes are extremely important because they keep you from bumping unseen deer, and nothing stinks more than having to jungle-bust your way to a treestand. Not only is this a noisier way to travel, it also leaves far more residual scent, which is always bad as far as deer hunting is concerned.
If you're wrapping up your pre-season treestand and ground blind ambush sites, don't skimp on the cutting. Clear what you need to clear, cut what you need to cut, and then get out. The best tools for this job? The following pretty much fit the bill.
Ameristep | Pruning Kit
Having a hand saw and a pruner with you at all times during stand-hanging sessions is a must. It's also not a bad idea to have a small kit to tuck into your pack throughout the season so you can always clip and cut on the fly when the need arises. The best kit for this task might just be the Pruning Kit from Ameristep
. Both clippers and saw are contained in a camouflage pouch. The saw boasts a non-stick, coated blade and molded fiberglass handle.
Cabela's | Alaskan Guide 183 Crosslock by Buck Knives
You don't need to go to Kodiak Island to justify owning the Alaskan Guide 183 Crosslock from Cabela's
. This saw and knife combo is designed to piece out critters big and small, but is also an excellent piece of cutlery to stick in your pocket for every hunt. The saw is crazy sharp and can be used to fine-tune shooting lanes immediately pre-hunt, and it doesn't hurt to have a good blade with you at all times.
This Made-in-the-USA Buck Knives' creation can be operated with one hand and utilizes Edge2x technology to produce thin, flat and extremely durable blades.
Battenfield Technologies Hooyman | Ratchet Pruner
A mainstay in my pack for the entire season is the Hooyman 5ft Extendable Tree Saw
. It folds up small enough to stuff into my backpack or strap to the side and is the perfect in-stand saw. A more recent addition to the Hooyman line-up and an equally valuable tool in the deer woods is the Ratchet Pruner
, which allows you to easily cut through good-sized limbs even if your gym membership has been expired for years. The Ratchet Saw also contains an in-handle saw, which features a high-carbon steel blade.
Hunter's Specialties | Folding Saw & Ratchet Pruner Combo
Measuring nine inches closed and 16 inches when opened, the Folding Saw in Hunter's Specialties Folding Saw & Ratchet Pruner Combo
is ideal for cutting shooting lanes and trimming up stand trees. The Ratchet Pruner, with its non-stick coated high-carbon steel blade is ideal for snipping away. Better yet, the blade on the ratchet pruner can be re-sharpened, which is always much appreciated after a day or two of stand prep.
Outdoor Edge | Flip n' Saw
I love Outdoor Edge products, partially because I'm a blade-junkie, but also because they are reasonably priced but high quality. This goes for everything in their lineup that I've used, including the Flip n' Saw
, which is a seven-inch folding saw with a rubberized aluminum handle. The business end of this saw slices through not only wood, but bone as well, thanks to the smaller, triple-diamond ground teeth.
To make sure you've always got it with you, the Flip n' Saw comes with a nylon belt sheath, which is something I didn't really appreciate until I spent a full day hanging stands and setting up ground blinds. Having a good saw hanging on your hip is pretty convenient on those labor-of-love filled days in the preseason.
Wicked Tree Gear | Wicked Ultra Light 10 FT Pole Saw
If you've never used Wicked Tree Gear's stuff, you're missing out. I picked up an original hand saw years ago and it is still my go-to handsaw when I've got serious treestand work to do. Since then, Wicked's lineup has expanded to include some pole saws, including the Wicked Ultra LIght 10 FT Pole Saw
. This pole saw weighs only 2.5 pounds and measures only 41 inches when closed. It's lightweight and easy to maneuver, yet extremely rigid due to the aluminum pole assembly and telescoping design.
Add in the curved style arborist's premium high-carbon steel blade, and this is the best thing going for quickly removing far-above-your-head limbs. Not sold yet? Consider that it's made in the best country in the world - the good ol' USA.
Zippo | 4-in-1 Woodsman
I originally bought the 4-in-1 Woodsman
because I thought it would be a great camp tool for handling firewood, pounding in tent stakes, and other chores. It proved to be that, but it has also proved to be pretty useful in the woods too. This is because there are some things that an axe can do better than other tools, like quickly hinge-cutting a bunch of saplings.
The 4-in-1 also contains a 15-inch steel saw blade for those times when an axe won't cut it (get it?). The blade is safely stored in the handle until you need it, and that's when you can quickly hook it up to create a killer bow saw. This is one of the best tools on the market, and if you're not interested in using it to prep stand sites, pick one up for deer camp. You'll find plenty of times where this Zippo product can be used, trust me.