With turkey season comfortably in the rearview mirror, it’s time to start hammering out the checklist for fall. I love spending these next few months making changes, mods and adjustments to the team. I review my notes from last fall to keep any necessary modifications fresh in my mind. I record these changes on my phone from the booth throughout the season. It makes all the difference in repairing subtle squeaks and finding missing metal-to-metal contact points and loose parts.
Removing as much noise as possible from the equipment we use is one of the most essential tasks in mobile hunting. Let’s look at some proven ways to keep your gear quiet so you can stay on the move and get close this fall.
Hockey tape is the most versatile and durable material I have found at an affordable price. It offers excellent adhesive and fits well on virtually any frame. It’s not the ultimate for noise removal, but I use it for large, wide coverage areas. It’s textured, lightweight, and helps muffle those high-pitched “pings” and “clicks” from buckles, releases, and other metal-to-metal contact points. Hockey tape also provides a bit of texture to any surface and adds a little extra grip to what would otherwise be just a slippery metal surface. It is easily found at most sporting goods stores and of course online.
After a while, the tape adapts to itself, which makes it very strong and durable. Apply it to the edge of the seat, where it folds down and meets the platform. Don’t be afraid to get carried away with these things. Hockey tape is lightweight and versatile, and these modifications are fun to make.
I found Stealth Outdoors Stealth Strips a few years ago. Essentially, it is a cloth tape with a powerful adhesive. But don’t take these things for granted; It’s a game changer when covering support platforms, cables, climbing poles, bow perches, and any hard surface. Ultra-durable microsuede fabric with a strong adhesive won’t wear out with heavy use and is water resistant. It’s sold in various lengths and sizes, and you can cut and customize it to fit virtually any surface.
Stealth Strips also come in kits to fit specific brands of climbing poles and feature support for seamless coverage. They significantly reduce any high-pitched noise that is easily picked up by deer. I use them on climbing poles, strap buckles, support cables, pack buckles, the rack on my bow lift, and any other contact point that doesn’t impact the functionality of my gear.
rubber grip tape
Some areas require a slightly heavier focus to reduce noise. Cushioning moving joints such as carabiners, buckles and platform contact points is vital. These points seem to cause the worst headaches for a mobile approach because they are handled constantly. We are always dismantling and assembling, packing and repacking. When I need a thicker material to isolate sound, I use rubber grip tape in one of two ways; bicycle sandpaper or baseball bat sandpaper. They both get the job done, but I prefer the baseball bat grip tape if I had to pick one. It forms into curved frames a little easier and holds its adhesive well.
While these materials are the most sound deadening I’ve come across so far, I don’t cover everything with them. The rubber grip tape can add some weight, so be aware of how much you use if the weight influences your focus. It also wears more easily and loses its adhesive faster than hockey tape or Stealth Strips.
These simple apps are not bulletproof. They are a small insurance policy to help protect you from yourself. This realization came from some painful mishaps over the years that are forever etched in my memory bank. You did all your homework, checking maps, exploring new signs, and waiting for conditions to be right. When the stakes are high and nerves start to take over, mistakes can happen and attention to small details matters most. Don’t let a metal climbing pole buckle or an exposed seat in a tree keep you from enjoying the season of your dreams.
Featured image via Captured Creative.