Adding a set of climbing sticks to my arsenal has drastically changed my hunting style. I can get up in any tree and constantly be hanging over the most recent sign. Becoming a mobile hunter is the best decision I made. Not only has it increased my deer sightings but it has made me a better hunter because I have been able to read the sign, make a decision off of relevant information, and execute a plan.
I ended up purchasing a set of Muddy Pro sticks a couple summers back. Iv’e had plenty of time to put them to the test and want to share my thoughts with you. Before I get into the meat of the review I wanted to give you some specs.
Muddy Pro Sticks
Weight: 2.5lbs Per Step. 10lb Total
Type of Step: Double Step
Qty in Pack: 4 Steps
Ranking: 4 out of 5
Muddy states the weight of each stick to be 2.5lbs or 10lbs total for 4 sticks. I personally weighed them and it came to 11.8lbs or 2.95lbs a stick (this does include the buckle strap that holds them together).
Pretty spot in my opinion. I’m not going through a fit over less than half a pound per stick. I will add, the weight is distributed throughout the stick well. Very easy to grab from my hip and maneuver it in place with one hand while I’m hanging up in the tree.
Stick weight is in range with the competition although the Pro stick is only 20″ long. Here are the weights for Lone Wolf and Hawk.
Lone Wolf: 2.5lbs per stick at 32″ long
Hawk Helium: 2.8lbs per stick at 30″ long
This is where I believer the Pro sticks really shine. In my opinion Muddy leads the competition when it comes to design. What I absolutely love about these sticks in the rope cam system. First and foremost is it secure. When you make that knot and pull down on the step to let it cinch down that step isn’t going anywhere. The steps are rated to 300lbs and I am not surprised. I weigh 170lbs and have never felt un-secure when I stand on one of the steps. Even side pressure is nothing to worry about. I’ve had no issues.
I also like how fast and quiet the rope cam system is. No buckles or ratchet straps. Just pull that rope tight, clip it in, and make your knot on the other side, pull down on the stick and you’re ready to move on. A very simple and effective process.
Next would be the double step. When I say double step I mean each step has a right and left side. I like this for 2 reasons.
- It is nice to have extra space on the step. When I hang my steps or clipping in my bridge on my tree saddle I like to be able to stand with both feet on 1 step.
- I can use the top step of my last stick as a platform. I use this technique a lot when I am going out for a quick hunt after work. Cuts down on my weight because I don’t have to carry a platform with me and it is one less thing to get set up so it saves time.
The third thing I like about these steps is the ability to fold the steps together for transport. I stack each step on top of each other and carry them in on my back. I like to keep my bow or gun hand if a shot should present itself on the way in. Being able to fold these steps gives them a thinner profile and easy to strap down to my pack. I don’t have to worry about branches getting caught on the steps as I walk in.
Also, its nice having the steps folded in while I climb the tree. My tree saddle has loops built in so I can hook the bracket that connects to the tree into that loop. This is a great time saver as I can climb the tree only once and be set up and ready to go. No need to climb up and down multiple times to carry gear or sticks up.
For me, these sticks are just the right length. At face value 20″ is short I will agree but once you use them I think you will come around. I’m 5’9″ so having shorter steps works in my favor. It’s a good spacing that makes the climb comfortable.
The nice thing is you can space the steps as far apart as you want to. This is also handy if you have a leaning or gnarly section of tree. 20″ compared to 32″ is a huge difference when you need to work around or with a specific section of the tree.
The final aspect of the design is the coating on the steps. It has a nice texture to it for a sure grip and does a pretty good job at noise reduction in the chance the bang together or hit another piece of metal.
As I mentioned above I carry these sticks on my backpack. I use an Alpz Outdoorz Trail Blazer and it works great for me. Each stick stacks nicely onto the other. With all 4 sticks stacked its 11.5′ tall and 5.25″ wide due to the brackets that mount against the tree.
Another reason I like the length of these sticks is because they are shorter than the length of my torso. You don’t have the sticks hanging below your pack hitting you in the butt or hanging above your head getting caught on anything and everything. Honeysuckle has taken over where I hunt here in the Midwest and I can’t even begin to explain the rage that builds up inside me when my old setup would get caught on every stinking branch of honeysuckle. Those of you that have dealt with something like this know exactly what I mean!
There are a couple improvements I would make to your sticks if you do end up purchasing a set.
Cover the main section of the stick in stealth tape or something of the like. Not to help with noise reduction as I mentioned earlier that I feel the coating does a great job but its to create a thicker barrier from the metal and your hands. Think about it, its 20 degrees and you’re holding a piece of metal. That’s going to suck the heat out of your hands quickly. This seems to affect me more when I tear down to head in as the sticks have been out in the cold for hours.
Next, change out the buckle strap that comes with the sticks to keep them together. I’ll expand more on this below but do yourself a favor and just change it out.
Here are a few things I have learned using these sticks from last season.
When you go to place your step on the tree hang in higher than you think. As tight as you try to get it against the tree you will wind up with some slack. Also, you will want to pull down on the stick so it can really cinch down and get a solid hold to the tree. If you don’t do this when you go to climb the tree and put your weight on it the step will slide down.
I haven’t measured how high I can get with 4 sticks but I would guess approx. 13 to 14 feet. I am happy with the height I can reach. An aider is something I want to try this season to see if I can get just a bit higher.
Being able to use the top of the stick as a platform has been a nice perk for me. Even on a longer hunt I’ll place a single screw in step on each side of the stick step and I am good to go.
The buckle strap that you use to contain all 4 steps while in transit is my biggest draw back. It works great in a controlled environment but when its cold and you loose dexterity in your fingers you really have to muscle it to tighten it around the sticks and more often that not I pull to hard and the top step on the stack flips over. Everything clangs together and falls apart. It’s frustrating to say the least.
Also, I have had a step squeak when I shift my weight on it. Muddy does state they use orange nylon silencer spacers and for the most part it works great. Its only been 1 step on 1 particular stick but did want to make it known. It’s not loud by any means but enough that you can notice it. I tightened the bolt down before my next hunt and it took care of the problem.
All in all I think Muddy did a great job with the Pro sticks. I would definitely recommend them to anyone looking to get in the mobile hunting set up. These would also be a great idea if you have multiple hang on stands placed and don’t want give trespassers or other hunters on public land a way to steal or use your spot.
I’ve heard of people using a single climbing stick to hang their trail cameras out of reach from others. I haven’t tried it myself but sounds like a lightweight and easy way to protect your cameras.
If you have any other questions please leave me a comment below and I’ll be sure to answer. Have you used the Pro Sticks? Let me know what you think.
Best of luck this season!