One of the reasons I prefer DIY hunts to outfitted or guided affairs is that I absolutely hate climbing into a stand that someone else has set up. Maybe that's a negative part of my personality, but if I have time to sit in a treestand, I want to give myself the best chance of success.
This, of course, includes a host of variables within my control, as well as plenty that I have no influence on what-so-ever. Of those that are firmly within my grasp, shooting lanes are high on my list of importance. Ditto for quality entrance and exit routes. Without each I've greatly reduced my chances of success.
To ensure you don't watch your arrow careen off into the distance from the deflection of a twig while a tall-racked buck hightails it over the ridge, it's best to employ the right tools. Not all saws or pruners are created equal, and some are downright junk. Others are designed specifically for hunters, developed with functionality and durability as the top priorities. Anyone who has had a limb saw fall apart in their hands knows exactly what I'm talking about.
Following are eight products designed to make the job of creating better stand sites much easier:
Cabela's | Pro Survival Tool
Hinge-cutting saplings along a trail, or around a treestand is a great way of manipulating Mother Nature to your advantage. This is a low impact style of clearing, and for a treestand situation, can help you nest your stand with natural foliage to further hide you from a whitetail's keen eyesight.
For these tasks one of my favorite tools is the Cabela's Pro Survival Tool
, which is a wicked looking hybrid machete/axe that features a 3/16 ' thick high-carbon steel blade. This beast weighs 23 ounces and measures 13 ' in length and is a great option for sprucing up stand sites.
Hooyman | 10 Foot
Since I hunt a lot of public land where and tend to employ a scout-as-I-go strategy that has me setting up and taking down new stands daily, I use my Hooyman 10
a lot. The Hooyman 10 is a part of my system that gets strapped to my pack and carried nearly everywhere.
Each Hooyman 10 folds down to just 28 inches, features the MegaBite blade and utilizes a unique I-Beam design to ensure ease in cutting. If you're a hardcore bowhunter that has never used a Hooyman, you are missing out. Pole saws of several varieties are available, yet it's nearly impossible to find a truly portable saw that is designed by hunters, for hunters. Here is one.
Hooyman | Ratchet Pruner
New for this year from Hooyman
is the Ratchet Pruner
, which is really a two-in-one tool. In addition to the ratchet pruner, this handy tool boasts a detachable folding saw as well. This isn't just a great tool for treestand hunters, but also for anyone who uses ground blinds and prefers to brush them in and truly prep a site.
The aluminum Ratchet Pruner is designed with a hardened pruning blade, a finger support strap and high-carbon steel saw blade.
Hunter's Specialties | Saw & Ratchet Pruner Combo
Everything you need to cut most of your shooting lanes, or trim away the perfect exit routes to all of your stands comes your way via Hunter's Specialties
and the Folding Saw & Ratchet Pruner Combo
. The Ratchet Pruner can handle limbs up to ¾ inches in diameter and the 9-inch saw can handle the rest.
This may seem stupid, but anyone who has been there will know exactly what I mean — one of my favorite things about this set is that there are parts of both pieces that are yellow. This means when I'm trimming a natural ground blind and set the Ratchet Pruner down, I can find it again without having to comb the leaf litter looking for a black or worse, camouflage, product. Little things...
Outdoor Edge | Flip n' Saw
produces some of my favorite knives and venison care products. They know their stuff, so it's no surprise that the Flip n' Saw
is also one of my go-to stand setup products. This 7-inch saw is extremely thin and designed with a rubberized aluminum handle to reduce potential ER visit inducing slip-ups. Triple-diamond ground teeth ensure an extremely sharp saw that can handle wood with ease, but also doubles as a bone saw, a bonus for on-the-road hunts.
Primos | Cut Back Pak
I have a Primos Cut Back Pak
in my turkey vest that goes everywhere in the spring woods with me; however, I don't limit it's use to gobbler setups. The By-Pass Pruner and 6-inch saw are perfect for deer hunting as well. Both are stowed in a sheath and allow you to remove all kinds of debris to ensure that you can shoot anywhere you think you'll need to.
One of the most important advantages of a two-pronged product that contains a saw and a pruner is that you can use the saw when you need to and don't care as much about making noise, but can also employ the pruner when stealth is of the utmost importance.
Wicked Tree Gear | Wicked Tough Pole Saw
Anyone who has used the original Wicked Tree Gear Hand Saw
is probably hooked for life. Few products are as durable as Wicked's, and that goes for the Wicked Tough Pole Saw
as well. A personal favorite is the 12-foot version, which weighs a shade under 4lbs and boasts the Zero Slop Hinge Lock to eradicate unwanted movement.
Each made in the USA Wicked Tough Pole Saw's business end is fitted with an 11 inch Wicked Sharp curved style arborist blade, which slices through hardwoods easier than any saw I've ever used. That is something that can only be appreciated when you're standing in the woods working on a barely-reachable branch that towers far over your head.
Zippo Outdoors | 4-in-1 Woodsman
Easily one of the best products I've come across in recent years is the 4-in-1 Woodsman from Zippo Outdoors
. I originally started packing the Woodsman along on camping trips to handle chores, but have expanded it's usage to treestand prep work. It features a hatchet with a 5-inch blade and a 15-inch bow saw to make short work of tangled, shot blocking messes around your ambush sites.
If you routinely use ground blinds, the 4-in1 is also designed with a mallet and a stake puller for securing your blind. I must admit that I didn't see the value in the 4-in-1 Woodsman from a deer hunter's perspective until I started using it. Now, it's a mainstay in my arsenal.