I have to admit, this is the very first climber I have ever tried out before. This particular Summit Viper climbing stand is used, so I also wanted to make sure to mention that as I’m sure that it effects my use of it. Ever since I started hunting, I’ve always had hang on stands. After a while, we got sick of all our hang on stands getting ruined from sitting out in the weather all year long. The reason they were left up all year long is because we never had a reason to take them down unless they didn’t produce so we were moving them. Anyway, once we were fed up enough to do something about all our stands getting destroyed, we decided to build permanent stands in all of our locations that were good, consistent producers. The only reason I mention that is to show that I really never had any reason to need a climber. We owned all the land I hunted and I was only gun hunting anyway. Now that I have gotten a bit more serious in my hunting adventures, I have expanded my hunting grounds to include multiple places that I do not own and only have written permission to hunt. Part of not owning the land I hunt is that I need to abide by the rules set by the landowner. At one of the locations, one of those rules is that I cannot put up stands. So, I’m left with only a few options. One, set up a ground blind and take it down each hunt. Two, still hunt with no cover what so ever. Or three, use a climber!
The obvious pro of using a climbing treestand is that you are very mobile. If, while sitting in the tree you notice that all the action is actually 50 yards or so away from your location, you can easily climb down and find a tree closer to the action. The Summit Viper is no exception. It’s quick and easy to attach to the tree. The obvious con to using a climber is that it’s extremely bulky which causes you to be much louder when entering the woods. Again, the Summit Viper is no exception. The amount of branches that I got caught on while walking through the woods was nuts, way worse than I expected it to be. Also, because of the nature of climbers, there are two different pieces. I must caution anyone that is looking in to buying a climber to make sure that you can hold it together securely so that you are clinking the two pieces together with each step like I did on my first trip in. I’m still wondering if that was the cause of me getting completely skunked on that hunt. If you follow my adventures, then you already know that on that first trip in, I had to abort the climber and climb in to a stand that was half way torn out because I there was not a single tall tree that was big enough to support me or if it was, it had major branches that came out within the first 10 feet, which means I couldn’t climb high enough to do any good.
Now that I’m finished talking you out of a climbing treestand (which was not on purpose, I promise), let me get in to my review of the Summit Viper. For a climber, I actually like it. Though it’s a bit heavier than I would like to carry in to the woods each time I hunt, I also know that it’s an older model and things could be different with the new ones. Even though i had no instructions, I was able to figure out exactly how to use the stand and feel very safe while in it. I actually tried to get the stand to let loose and make me fall and was only able to by an action that shouldn’t be possible on accident. I had to raise the bottom platform with my toe. The stand was also a lot quieter than I expected it to be. Overall, I’d definitely recommend the Summit Viper climbing stand to anyone that is in the market for a new climbing stand. Especially if you are mainly hunting mature timber where there are plenty of tall straight trees with little branches below 20 feet up. You can easily find the Summit Viper stand at Amazon.com. Depending on the exact option you go with, it will cost you between $200 and$350. Happy Hunting!