Hey guys, it's Locke with SKRE. And I want to go over today a very popular, and can be very effective, method of whitetail hunting - mobile hang and hunt.
As whitetail hunters, we are very commonly utilizing an ambush style of hunting. We're always trying to get in a tree and more or less ambush deer on any given pattern, depending on the time of the year. Because of this, we generally have two options as whitetail hunters: One, we preload all of our work, meaning that we go into a set that's already hung in an area that we are planning to hunt. Or two, we utilize the hang and hunt method by finding the area we want to hunt and we immediately try to get in a tree and start hunting.
Pros of Mobile Hang and Hunt
There are pros and cons to the mobile hang and hunt method. One great example of an advantage to hang and hunt is when we go into the Midwest and hunt the rut. That's a long way away from home for us, so we don't have the time to do that preloaded work of finding a spot, hanging a stand, and then leaving it to rest. And you never know from year to year, even if you're hunting the same properties, how things might change. So to make the most of those types of hunts, you need to be able to walk in, find a spot, get in that spot, and immediately start hunting.
Another pro is if you observe things during your hunt, you can get down and quickly make a move for the next hunt. That way you're always hunting the hottest, most recent sign of activity and optimizing your opportunities to kill deer.
It's commonly thought amongst whitetail hunters that the best time to hunt any spot is the first time you hunt it. Whether you go in and hang a stand and you don't come back for weeks. Or you walk in, find a spot, hang the stand, and get up and hunt. Obviously, deer are prey animals. They're very wary and your presence in the woods can be alarming. So the first time you're there, you're most likely to have the most success, because you're much less likely to be detected or have had the deer alerted to your presence in that area.
Cons of Mobile Hang and Hunt
One of the cons to the hang and hunt method is it's a lot more work. It's a lot easier in a pre-existing spot, to slip in on the right day, with the right weather, and be quiet. You can just slip into the stand more undetected because you have pre-loaded all the work.
Methods of Hang and Hunt
There's a variety of options for mobile hunting - hang and hunt style of hunting. Two very popular options are a mobile lock-on with climbing sticks or a climbing stand. It's not the only two options for hang and hunt and mobile hunting but it's two very popular ones.
And either one can be a very effective method of the hang and hunt style. It really, it depends on where you're hunting. If you hunt in Plantation Pines where you have a lot of tall straight trees that are about the right size, a climbing stand is the easiest way to go. Same thing for hardwood bottom swamps where you have a lot of straight, clean oak trees and a clean forest floor.
When you go into the Midwest and you're hunting with crooked, little trees in a ditch row or just any hardwood, and you don't have as many of the straight, clean trees that are all about the same size, you can't beat the lock-on and sticks.
As you can imagine, there's a lot of brands and companies making products like this, but these are the two that I use. This is an XOP mobile lock-on with Hawk Helium Sticks. And this is a Hawk Vision Climbing Stand. I’m going to go over a couple of the pros and cons, features of these setups, and how you would use them.
Mobile Lock-On and Climbing Sticks
On my XOP lock-on, I've got it modified to wear my Hawk Helium Sticks attach straight to it. I have daisy chains and steel instead of straps on my sticks. So they're quicker and quieter to hang. I have an enhanced, padded backpacking system so it’s easier to carry. And I think it weighs about 12 pounds total. And I even have it set up where I can sit something on the platform and it can ride on my back.
Pros to Mobile Lock-On and Climbing Sticks
The pros to this are that it’s small, it’s lightweight, with this backpacking system it's really easy to carry, and I can get in almost any tree. I've got four sticks so I can get up at 20 plus feet or I can just use a couple of sticks if I need to get below the canopy. I can get around limbs. I can get on crooked trees until I find a straight spot. I have a lot of flexibility. I can basically hunt anywhere there's a tree that is small to decent-sized.
Cons to Mobile Lock-On and Climbing Sticks
When you get into the mobile lock-on and climbing sticks, while you can get in any tree, you've got to have a whole lot more gear and experience in order to stay safe. And you have a lot of pieces that come apart and a lot of pieces to pack together.
Pros to Climbing Stands
On a climbing stand, everything is all one piece. It's got backpacking straps, you put it on, the top and the bottom attach together so it rides the pack well, it's about the same weight as this system, it straps to the tree and it's really easy to hunt out of.
Cons to Climbing Stands
Now the negative to a climbing stand is you’ve got to have the right size tree and it's got to be straight without a lot of limbs. It's difficult to climb a tree that's not at least mostly straight. And if you've got to saw and cut limbs on your way up, it kind of defeats the purpose. But it's typically safer because you're in the stand and it's completely strapped to the tree from the ground all the way up.
Mobile hang and hunt style of hunting can be a very effective way of hunting whitetails. Whether it's early season, those feeding-to-bed patterns are changing and you don't have the time or desire to risk trying to go into an area where the deer are bedded close to the food, and try to set something up to return to without disturbing the deer. Or if it's later in the season and you're hunting a rut pattern deer, where maybe you're observing deer moving in an area from a distance, you need to get in there, and you've only got a couple of days to hunt. All the way down to just the very simple idea of doing DIY public land stuff where you're going in and you can't have pre-hung sets, but you are trying to hunt from a tree. Hang and hunt, could be the way to go.
But it is something that you have to take some time to know your equipment, practice with it, and get comfortable with it. You don't want to go in the dark and try to climb up in a tree with a piece of equipment that you're not familiar with. But if you do it the right way, it can be an extremely effective method to hone in and be a successful whitetail hunter this season.
Another thing to consider is the hunting clothing that you use during your hunt. If you are trying to hang and hunt, you are trying to maximize the opportunities for a successful hunt. Don't neglect the part that your hunting clothing plays in your success. SKRE has specific bundles made for whitetail hunting and their gear is used by successful whitetail hunters nationwide. So make sure to get yourself setup with one of SKRE's Whitetail Bundles, hunt safe, and be prepared.