While I would not consider myself a gear nut, I do enjoy testing new hunting gear. Becoming a public land hunter this past season forced me to get some new equipment and explore some treestand modifications. I bought a Hawk Helium XL treestand and Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks, as I liked the versatility of a lock-on over the ease of a climber, here are the treestand modifications I have found work best for me.
Aside from the addition of a bow holder, I made two small changes that helped silence my stand. The first issue that I ran into when using the new stand was the seat clanging on the edge of the platform while I was setting it up. To resolve this problem, I simply wrapped both the edge of the seat and stand platform with paracord. While there are probably other ways to quiet the stand, the paracord is both effective and durable.
In addition to the paracord wrap, I also added a second strap to the bottom of the stand to secure it to the tree. While many stands already have a second strap, the Helium XL does not. This causes the stand to shift slightly upon standing, which can cause noise at times. This could be a major issue when the buck of a lifetime walks in! The bottom strap pulls the stand tight to the tree, and it no longer makes any noise when moving around in the treestand.
Climbing Stick Modifications
The Lone Wolf Climbing Sticks that I purchased are one of the best hunting purchases that I made in the past year. They are well built, light, and allow me to get into any tree. The major issue with these climbing sticks are the metal buckles. These buckles make a secure attachment to the tree, but clanging them on the sticks and stand is bound to happen.
To stop the buckles from clanging, I cut a piece of bicycle inner tube that was slightly longer than the buckle. Then, I fitted it over the buckle and cut out around the cinch button. These dampeners lasted the entire season, but will likely need to be replaced annually, as the tube eventually begins to rip where the cut was made. Some also add felt silencing strips along the length of the stick. I considered doing so, but for time being, I decided that the inner tube was enough to silence the metal.
These specific treestand modifications are not necessary with every treestand model. However, I would encourage you to address noise issues ahead of time. Trying out your stand ahead of time is the only way to find these problems, a little creative thinking can keep you from busting a buck this season!