As I usually do before my archery hunts in November, I tossed and turned for a while as I went about deciding where I was going to try to get an arrow into a rutted-up Pennsylvania buck the next morning. Although I already had several stands set where I was seeing good deer movement, the older bucks seemed to be somewhere else. The previous morning, I could hear bucks grunting and chasing across the valley from where I was sitting, but I knew the climb would be difficult from my access point and I did not have a stand set where I believed the action was taking place. I set the alarm an hour earlier and drifted off to sleep after deciding that was where I wanted to be. With the moon high in the sky, I set off early the next morning with one of my welded steel hang-on stands strapped to my back, a small backpack cinched to the stand, five steel climbing sticks under one arm, and my crossbow under the other. Once I started my climb, I was quickly reminded why I do not hang and hunt very often. The sun was already cresting the horizon as I pulled my crossbow up and settled in for the morning hunt feeling like I had just completed a cross-fit training routine. Between the exhaustion and being soaked from sweat, I was surprised when I actually saw a few deer.
From that day, which occurred fifteen years ago, I decided to spend some more money to lighten my gear. Cast and welded aluminum stands and sticks became my go-to gear. Although the weight saving was significant, the bulk and heft were still there. About five years ago, the saddle hunting craze began to gain steam and I dabbled with those setups for a bit and still do from time to time. For the mobile or public land hunter, a saddle hunting setup is tough to beat due to its light weight and small footprint. With that said, I just never got completely comfortable while saddle hunting and still prefer the comfort and maneuver- ability of a hang-on stand. For the mobile hunter, the rub against traditional stands and steps has al- ways been their weight and general bulk.
The folks behind Hunting Beast Gear set off on a mission to create the highest quality, lightest, safest, and most feature-packed stand and stick system on the market. In 2015, early testing and development began and the Hunting Beast Gear system debuted to many accolades just a few short years ago. This system has only gained in popularity with hunters demanding the ultimate in performance and safety. As we have gotten more into mobile hunting here at Crossbow Magazine, the draw of what Hunting Beast Gear brings to the table was too much so we took the plunge and received their Beast Hang-On Stand and 4 Mini Beast Sticks to put through their paces. Before I even opened the boxes I knew these were very different from what I am used to. For a minute, I thought there was no way everything was inside as the boxes seemed too light. As I pulled the stand and sticks out, I got my first taste of the engineering that went into these products. It is difficult to describe how light each stick and the stand feel when you hold it in your hands. Even though the specifications detail the weight of each, they feel lighter than that. Maybe it is my mind playing tricks on me after decades of using conventional stands and sticks that are immensely heavier than the Hunting Beast Gear products. After a quick inspection to ensure there were no missing parts, I went about reading the owner’s manuals and attaching the antler bracket to the stand and stealth stripping to the climbing stick attachment rod, which is all of the assembly that is required.
With that accomplished, it was time to go over each made-in- the-USA product with a critical eye. My first impression of the Beast Stand is the attention to detail along with the fit and finish that are second to none. The 29” x 16” platform and 9” x 11.5” seat are water jetted out of solid 6061 billet aluminum. The only weld on the entire stand is where the square aluminum seat post attaches to the platform and that weld is flawless and completely smooth to the touch. Multiple weight reduction holes are present in the seat post which help to bring the entire weight of the Beast Stand to 6.8 pounds. I verified that advertised weight and found it to be spot on. Through solid engineering and innovative ideas, the folks at Hunting Beast Gear were able to bring this ultra-lightweight stand to the market that meets and exceeds ASTM standards after thorough testing and is rated for 275 pounds. The quality does not stop there as the entire stand receives a titanium grey anodized finish that blends perfectly with most trees and its extremely skeletonized design does not draw the eye towards it like other much bulkier stands. Grade 8 steel is used for all of the nuts and bolts for maximum strength and durability and Delrin® is utilized for the adjustment knobs, but- tons, and washers. Delrin is a very strong acetal co-polymer that is as strong as aluminum and will not crack or fade when exposed to the elements. The two steel cables made from high-grade steel are nylon coated for durability. Two cam buckle straps are included to firmly attach the Beast Stand to the tree of your choice. Adjustability is something that is often lacking in tree stands but not in the Beast Stand. Built into the seat post are 4 adjustment options that change the angle of the seat post to accommodate trees that are not perfectly vertical. To compensate for that, the seat can also be tilted forwards or backward with a finger adjustment screw to ensure that your sitting position is perfectly level. Speaking of the seat, the seat height is 21 inches which is a bit higher than the typical hang-on treestand. I find most seats are too low, but not the seat on the Beast. Now, for more attachment flexibility, if the tree does not line up perfectly with the bottom of the stand and the antler bracket at the top, Beast Gear has you covered. A lot of testing went into the design of the Antler™ bracket which allows the bracket to firmly grip the tree even if it is not centered within the bracket. This mounting flexibility allows the hunter to attach the Beast Stand to essentially any area of a tree down to diameters of just a few inches. A 1.5-inch thick closed cell foam padded seat cushion and two backpack straps round out the Beast Gear Hang-On stand.
As much as I was impressed with the Beast Hang-On, I had very high hopes for the Beast Gear Mini Sticks as well. Again, these sticks are made in the USA and are TMA certified. They are weight rated to 300 pounds and are made from 6061 aluminum with machined weight reduction holes and grade 8 bolts. Each stick is 20 inches tall with the distance between the steps measuring 18 inches. As with the treestand, an included cam buckle is used to attach the stick to the tree via the Delrin Beast Button. With the strap attached, each Beast Mini weighs 2 pounds which makes a stack of four come in right at 8 pounds total. There are no moving parts at all on these sticks and they are stacked using Beast Gear’s Non-Staggered In-Line Stacking™ design. We also received the Beast Gear attachment rod that can either lock the sticks together as a unit or attach the stacked sticks firmly to the treestand for transport into the field. This attachment rod is available in varying lengths to accommodate up to five sticks. The steps on the Beast Minis are unique in that they include their 9-inch Double Sided Angled Step™ design. These steps feature a ten-degree angle and a hook at the end which essentially eliminates any potential for a boot slipping off of the step. When hanging other sticks or the treestand itself, it is so much safer to have both feet planted next to each other. The two antler brackets that contact the tree have the perfect amount of standoff so that it’s not just your toes on the steps and each bracket contains machining at a 45-degree angle that allows the brackets to be firmly cam-locked into the bark. They will not slide or kick out when weight is applied to them.
After spending some time with the Beast Hang-On and the Beast Mini Sticks, I cannot think of another stand or stick combination that functions together as well. This is a true climbing and hunting system that is unmatched within the industry. Each on its own is at the top of the field in my opinion. Together, they cannot be beaten at this point in time. The complete system with four Minis, the Beast Hang-On, and the attachment straps weigh in at 15 pounds. Despite this extremely lightweight pack- age, safety and efficiency are not compromised. I am not a small guy. I literally jumped on the sticks and in the stand and could not get even a tiny amount of slippage or creak from the Beast Gear products. Yes, there is some flex to the aluminum as weight is shifted onto various portions of the platform, but I never once felt like I was compromising safety or performance for weight reduction. Hunting Beast Gear wanted the safest treestand and climbing sticks, the lightest treestand, and climbing sticks, and the highest performing treestand and climbing sticks. They have accomplished all three of those objectives. It does not matter if you are hiking in two miles on public land to hang and hunt, setting a stand in the woodlot next to your house, or backpacking into the Rocky Mountains, the products from Hunting Beast Gear will enhance those hunts and make you more successful. Please visit www.huntingbeastgear.com to see all of their innovative products for today’s mobile hunter.