Big Game Hunting Gear photo

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First, check out how the hunter in this video uses climbing sticks to very quickly climb 20 feet or so to hang a stand.

It’s a great system–and not just because it’s very similar to the one I use. But the question is: Is it safe? And I’m not passing judgment here; I just want to know what you think and what you do. The hunter in the video uses a climbing belt all the way up, but a climbing belt does not prevent you from falling. Technically, the safest way to climb a tree for the first time is to attach your harness to a tether above your head, and then continually reposition the tether up ahead of you as you go. But let’s be honest. We all know what a pain in the butt that is–especially if the tree has low branches, requiring you to repeatedly unfasten and refasten the tether.

So tell me: What do you do? When you’re climbing a tree for the first time to hang a fixed-position stand, do you use a climbing belt; do you attach your harness to a tether above your head; or do you go freestyle? And tell the truth.