February 14, 2023
By Christian Berg
Bowhunter-friendly features at an affordable price.
These days, it seems “mobile bowhunting” is all the rage. You know what I’m talking about; it generally involves using a tree saddle or ultralight hang-on stand to hike deep into public land and ambush a reclusive buck in virgin territory.
All that is well and good, and I must admit I own a couple saddles and lightweight, packable hang-ons myself. That said, I still spend the vast majority of my time chasing whitetails on private property where I and a select handful of others have permission to bowhunt. In areas like that — where hunting pressure is fairly controlled and hikes from the truck are measured in yards rather than miles — weight and mobility can take a backseat to convenience and comfort when it comes to treestand selection. After all, most of my stands on these properties are what I call “set it and forget it,” meaning that once I’ve determined an ideal ambush location, I erect a stand and leave it there all season, or occasionally even multiple seasons.
For me, the preferred setup in such a scenario is a comfortable hang-on such as the Rhino Treestands' RTH-100 and a ladder-style climbing aid such as the Rhino 24-Foot Double Step Climbing Stick. I recently had the opportunity to set this combo up in a classic, hourglass-shaped funnel of timber between two ag fields, and I can’t wait to see what kind of action the location yields this fall!
Weighing 23.5 pounds and featuring a generous, 24-inch wide by 32.5-inch deep foot platform with flip-up footrest, the RTH-100 certainly wouldn’t be your first choice for a mobile hang-and-hunt setup. However, it is perfect for more permanent placement, and its 20-inch wide by 14-inch deep, flip-up Comfort Mesh seat provides excellent support for your backside during those all-day rut sits. I consider the RTH-100 very bowhunter friendly, as it doesn’t have a shooting rest or rail to get in the way of your bow as you pivot into shooting position. Other features serious archers will appreciate include: orange plastic washers and spacers that keep the stand silent by eliminating metal-on-metal contact; top and bottom tree straps that hold it securely in place and prevent shifting; a leveling knob on the seat; and a three-position cable adjustment that allows you to level the foot platform after the stand is attached to the tree. The RTH-100 has a weight capacity of 300 pounds and comes with a full-body fall arrest system.
Like the stand, Rhino’s Double Step Climbing Stick weighs 24.5 pounds and isn’t something you’re going to carry miles into the backcountry. However, once assembled and connected to a tree using the six included straps, the stick stands a lofty 24 feet tall and features rows of double steps that are rated for 300 pounds, angled slightly upward to avoid accidental slips and make ascending and descending as easy as climbing a ladder.
Compared to the lightweight, packable climbing sticks I use when saddle hunting, the Double Step Climbing Stick is like a luxury upgrade, and having the stand and sticks set before the season means I can show up just minutes before legal shooting light and be settled in with plenty of time to spare. It’s also a very easy climbing stick/stand combo to navigate in the dark, and since I always set my stand platform below the top rung of my climbing sticks, stepping off the stick and onto the platform (or vice versa) is easy, safe and secure. Speaking of security, I also always add a safety rope with sliding prussic knot to all my hang-on sets, allowing me to clip in with my safety harness before leaving the ground and remain tethered until I’m back on the ground. — Editor Christian Berg