Every Tuesday evening at 8:00 PM EST, a representative from the WEI team will host an Instagram live video. This week we were joined by one of our favorite podcasters, Walter of Chasing Tales Outdoors. As the weeks progress, we’ll be hanging out with experts from across the industry.
Later in the week, we will post a quick and dirty, written recap of what you missed. So, here’s what you missed on our very first Tactical Tuesday…
The Run and Gun Set UP
A: Andrew: My system changes drastically depending on how I am accessing the piece and what kind of topography I am walking in to. Often times I’ll be strapping a set of stepps directly to my kayak and throwing them over my shoulder when I access public land by water.
On short hikes they’re always right around my shoulder. I’m a big proponent of keeping things simple. When I walk into the woods, I want to be able to start my climb immediately. This means I don’t have to pause to take my backpack off. My sling is already on, my Bowhanger is in my pocket, my lineman’s line is tucked into my sling and my bow is clipped to the other side of my sling.
If I have a long hike, I’ll often attach the stepps to the outside of my pack. This way, I can move through the woods more effectively.
Q: @topnockbowhunting: “How long does it take you to get up and ready to shoot? And how long to get down and all packed up?”
A: Andrew: My motto has always been, slow is smooth, smooth is fast. We’re not fighting to be the fastest system on the market because I don’t see the advantage to sprinting into the woods and blasting up into the tree. This isn’t a reflection of the stepps either; it’s my personal style. I can throw up a set and climb 30 feet in 3 minutes, but I think we all need to remember to slow down, take our time and hunt on the way in.
Walter: It’s important to note that the faster you move, the hotter you’re going to get. No matter what the temperature is outside, you’ll have to manage your core temperature and your layers. It is also extremely situational. It took me 17 minutes to climb 16 feet into a cedar, but it was littered with branches.
It’s best to approach this from a woodsmanship mentality, and I think the true answer to this question is, it does not take too long to climb. It depends on where, when and how you’re hunting, and how much you’ve practiced.
My goal is to be in the woods, quiet an hour before I want to be hunting. I’ve gotten up into a tree an hour before sunrise and decided that it wasn’t perfect. I had the option to get down and choose a new tree because I gave myself enough time to slow down and think.
Q: @Ugly_step_kid: “How heavy is your set up?”
A: Andrew: This is another one of those questions that is not an easy answer. Each step weighs 11.7 ounces, so you’ll have to do some math. The tough part is the fact that my set up is always super specific to the piece of land that I’m hunting.
So many guys are so weight conscious down to the ounce. And honestly, they’re overestimating how far they’re traveling. In Connecticut we can’t walk a mile without leaving a property!
Q: @whitetail_legacy_podcast: What is the comfort level for all day sits?
A: Walter: I like the way my platform relieves some stress on my ankles during long sits.
If you’re using a ring of stepps, you need to increase your angle from the tree to relieve some of that pressure.
Andrew: I’ve never sat all day in my life! I’ve hunted all day. I’ve never sat all day. For a couple hours I’m super comfortable!
When you kill deer as efficiently as Andrew you don’t have to sit all day!
Q: How many do you personally use?
A: Andrew: The only way to answer this is by saying that I never use the same amount of stepps, ever. If I’m setting up a spot for my family to use all season I might use 18 of them spaced one foot apart. If I’m run and gunning and going in blind I might grab 5 stepps and an aider. It really depends on the situation.
The one thing that is a definite is a preseason set up. I will always walk out with no less than a set of 16. Of those 16, 3 of them will have 8-foot ropes. I would much rather not use them all than be a few short.
Q: Walter: Okay, you’re on a brand-new piece of property and you’re going in blind, how many stepps are you taking?
A: Andrew: Depends on the topography. Let’s say it’s a swamp. I may only need 3-5 get above cattails and phragmites. If I accessed by boat I would definitely have an additional 10-12 stepps in the boat that I could go back for after my hunt to create a better future set up.
Q: @bowhunterchronicles_podcast: “Are you using a knaider, swaider etc. what’s your preferred setup personally?
A: Walter: I use the Etrier, which is a rock-climbing aider.
Andrew: I use the Wild Edge Aider. It’s easy to use and adjustable. Plus, I’d rather do a pull up before I start attaching ropes to my feet. All that knaider, swaider stuff gets clumsy and complicated.
Q: @Louis_bowhuntingnz: What bows are you guys shooting?
A: Andrew and Walter: Matthews Triax and New Breed respectively.
Wild Edge Housekeeping
A: Andrew: The prototype is finally ready, and we are really excited to start testing it. To give you an idea of the strength of this thing, I’m a buck-85 and I can jump on the corner without any movement. It handles side pressure like a champion.
Walter: So just to clarify, on our latest podcast you said you were not a platform guy. Has this changed?
Andrew: The biggest disadvantage I see with platforms is that you only have that one spot for your feet. The platform is different than the stepps. I will definitely use it, but there’s a tool for every scenario. The reason I like the stepps so much as a platform is because I have places for my feet all the way around the tree. On the other hand, if I were truly run and gunning, I could get up with 4 or 5 stepps, an aider and slap a platform on.
You definitely loose a degree of mobility with the platform. With the stepps you can comfortably go around the tree. With a platform it’s possible to go ass over tea kettle if you push it a little too far.
Walter: It’s super personal. Everyone who gets into saddle hunting ends up customizing their set up.
Andrew: And you don’t have to be so rigid with your set. Sometimes I use one step and a branch sometimes I use two branches as foot holds.
We’re going to put the prototype through the ringer, so I’m not committing to any dates. We’ll have a couple guys test the hell out of it first.
Q: @jcristobal61: “What’s the most ordered amount of stepps?”
A: Andrew: The set of 12 has always been super popular. I’ve definitely seen numbers rise with the set of 10 with an aider. Honestly though, ever since we introduced the “Build your own” option, guys are taking full advantage of their ability to customize their order.
Q: @Topnockbowhunting: “Will you have steps for sale at the outdoor show in PA?”
A: Andrew: Yes we will have a whole truck load. Catch us at boot 1112 in the archery hall!
Q: Walter: Are you taking the Mantis or the Aero hunter to Saddlepolooza?
A: Andrew: Mantis it is light, the seat is bigger, and that thing is comfortable.
Walter: For anyone wondering, Saddlepolooza is the world’s largest gathering of camo-diaper wearing men who hog hunt, hang out, drink beer and camp together. This year it is happening on President’s weekend, February 17,18 and 19.
Q: @Bowhunterchronicles_podcast: “Are you going to be at ATA?”
A: Andrew: Probably as an industry guy. We haven’t committed to getting a booth.
Q: @mittenstatearrowslinger: “How are the stepp ladder orders coming along?”
A: Andrew: We are still at an 8-12 week lead time. And working as quickly as we can to ship to the customers who hit that 8-week mark. Sign up below to stay updated on steppladder lead times!
Comments from Listeners
@urbanbowman: “Takes me about 10 minutes to set up at 20’; but I allow 30 minutes from bottom to setup, to go slow and make no noise. Timing doesn’t matter. Noise does… you’re gonna sit there all day. Just take your time and be quiet. For anyone asking, the steps are way faster and quieter than the sticks ever could be.”
@Jtmoore_ : “Its freaking fast… and quiet, just takes a little practice. Way faster than my lone wolf setup.”
@Ry_nev82: “I think a lot of guys like to compare them to sticks because it’s what they know. Apples to oranges. Wild Edge is more versatile. Period.”
Participate on our next live video to be featured in next week's blog!
To Sum It All UP
So, that just about sums it up. Thanks for watching and reading! Before you leave be sure to share this post so your buddies can catch up. And don’t forget to subscribe to our Instagram stories to find out who might join Andrew on our next Tactical Tuesday! Stay wild.