Enough politics....let's get back to hunting:
Last season I hunted about 40-50 times and all from a JX-3 Hybrid. I thought I’d give you guys a write up on it and let you know how it worked out. I hunted both private and public and hunt with a xbow, shotgun, and muzzy. Nearly all of my hunts were from a JX-3 (even a few from the ground). I got 2 bucks (both xbow) and 3 does (all shotgun) from the JX-3. I’ll make this pic heavy….
Note: I know some guys use a vertical with the JX-3, but I can’t really say what that would be like. So, this write up is limited to gun and xbow hunting.
The JX-3 is classified as a hunting saddle, but it’s more of a cross between a millennium tree stand and a hunting saddle. You climb to heights using whatever method you like, and you set up a tether around the tree. You sit facing the tree with a fork/stand off keeping you off the tree. You are sitting, so there is no weight on your feet, but you need some type of ring of steps (ROS) to rest your feet on and to use to move around the tree for a shot. You can also use the JX-3 as a ground seat.
You can pretty much use the JX-3 in any tree you would use a hang on stand in and then some. The JX-3 can deal with leaners better than a hang on and can handle smaller diameter trees than a hang on. But it can’t get into ‘any tree’ like some claim. Severe leaners make it uncomfortable and hard to get off a shot. Whatever climbing method you use for a hang on you can use with the JX-3.
The main advantages to me vs. my hang on set up (which was a Millennium M60u) is:
(a) I can hang the xbow from the bridge and have it at the ready all time. It moves around the tree with me as I get set up for a shot and there is very little movement to shoulder it (vs. hanging off a hook). Same thing with my binos and range finder.
(b) I like the shot stability. I can rest on my bridge and the JX-3 webbing to get a steady shot with the xbow or gun. I tied to use all different types of shooting sticks, steady eddy, etc. from a hang on but always felt they made it worse versus just resting my elbow on my knee. The JX-3 definitely allows for a steadier shot.
(c) You can use the tree to conceal. Basically, I try to set up so the deer are moving in front of me on the other side of the tree. So, if some does nor non-shooters come by, I can just move around the tree to keep them from seeing me. I still try to set up in cover if I can, but you can hunt from a telephone pole if you need to and you shouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb.
(d) I feel I have more range of shooting with the JX-3 vs. a hang on. With a hang on it was very hard for me to shoot to my weak side with a xbow. I could never shoot lefty really good off hand. With the JX-3 and being able to rest on the webbing, I can shoot lefty no problem. Also shooting behind you is easier with the JX-3 than a hang on. One of the bucks I got last season was a lefty shot and it went right where I aimed.
(e) Believe it or not, it’s more comfortable than a millennium, I can sit all day no problem. You can stand put your lineman’s belt on and stand on the ROS or just lean on the ROS if you want to stretch.
(f) It doubles as a great ground seat.
A lot of guys get into saddle hunting for weight savings. The JX-3 is not a real weight saver. I would say total weight is really no different than a lightweight mobile hang on. The JX-3 weighs 10 lbs. The other more minimalist saddles (Thethrd / AeroHunter, etc.) reduce weight, but the JX-3 not so much.
Another comment about saddles in general: a lot of guys who get into saddles have some really “unique” ways of climbing trees (one sticking, single rope, double rope, aiders). How you climb the tree is really independent of saddle hunting. You can use a saddle with any climbing method you would use for a hang on.
When I’m going mobile, I use beast sticks to climb and squirrel steps on an OCB as my ROS. When I have pre-sets, I have bolts set up in the tree as both the climbing method and ROS. I was mostly mobile last year. This year I set up more pre-sets now that I know what I’m doing a bit better.
Here are a bunch of pics showing how I pack it, what it looks like when you’re walking out, and what it looks like when you are all set up. I also will attach a link by the DIY hunter which is a good video of the whole system. I wanted to wait until the season was over to post up a review as it’s kind of pointless to review gear until you’ve used it a while. I’m definitely sold on it and it’s going to be my main hunting method for the foreseeable future. Post up any questions you have…I’d be happy to answer honestly.
First I’ll show some general JX-3 pics and then how I pack it up and use it. Also, there is a good video by DIY hunter which I’ll link to below.