Entering the 2019 deer season, I was confident I had found the perfect run-n-gun camera setup. I decided to use the Fourth Arrow Run-n-Gun base paired together with my 2.0 Shoulder and Carbon Arm 2.0. I made it all of 3 hunts before I realized my setup wasn’t going to work and went back to the drawing board. What I settled on was a slightly modified Micro Base and Shoulder Kit. Now, with much of the 2019 deer season behind us, I couldn’t be happier I made the switch.
Struggles with the Run-n-Gun Base
The Run-n-Gun base was great in theory. I was able to setup more quickly, although I was making a lot more noise than usual getting setup due to the design of the base. The metal wings that connect the straps were impossible to keep from banging together, and the sound of metal on metal never helped anyone in the woods. I tried to use silent touch tape to manage the sound, but nothing I did seemed to work. In the end, I decided the added bulk and weight of the base wasn’t worth the decreased setup time if I couldn’t be silent getting into the tree.
I decided to do a little research and see what guys on the DIY community were doing to silence their setups. A few things caught my attention right away. First, several guys had cut down their shoulder and removed one of the base plates to mimic what Fourth Arrow has now released as their Micro Base and Shoulder. This setup wouldn’t necessarily provide a huge weight reduction, but it definitely looked to have better packability. The second thing I found was that a lot of people had replaced the standard ratchet strap with an over the center buckle (OCB) strap which they claimed drastically reduced noise and was quicker to setup. I decided to give it a try, and so I placed an order for a BoatBuckle Pro Series Tie Down strap and the Micro Base and Shoulder Kit.
Micro Base and Shoulder Initial Impressions
I’ll have to be honest, at first I was a little skeptical as to whether or not this setup was going to work. I failed to see how the OCB would secure the base to a tree as well as the ratchet. However, my new Micro Shoulder and Base with the OCB weighed in at 2lbs 13oz compared to the 4lbs 6oz my Run-n-Gun base and 2.0 Shoulder weighed previously, so I was willing to give it a try.
I quickly connected the OCB to the Micro Base and went outside to put it through the motions. Much to my surprise, the OCB was able to get the base rock solid against the tree. In fact, the base was so tight it actually warped just a little bit and I was unable to connect the shoulder until I loosened the strap. After a few more attempts, I decided it would be best to simply keep the shoulder permanently attached to my base. Considering how small and compact the micro base and shoulder is, I didn’t find this to be an inconvenience at all. Additionally, keeping the shoulder permanently mounted further reduced the possibility of making unwanted noise while setting up. Best of all, removing the ratchet strap from the equation makes setup that much quieter.
First Time in the Stand
After practicing my hanging process a few times in the back yard I felt like I was ready to hit the woods. My first hunt with the new Micro Base and Shoulder was a morning hunt, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with this new setup. For the first time all year, I felt like I made zero noise getting my camera ready to go. I did run into a slight issue feeding the webbing through the OCB my first try, but after a minute I figured it out. You definitely have to be careful if you go with he OCB instead of a ratchet because the plastic on the buckle can be just as loud as metal if it strikes the base, but the connecting strap is long enough that it is easy to manage. All in all, I believe this is the best run-n-gun camera setup you can have for mobile hunting, especially if you self-film your hunts. The reduced bulk and weight are benefit enough, but when you add in the quiet nature of the OCB, it is a double win.
For more information on the Fourth Arrow Micro Base and Shoulder be sure to check it out on Fourth Arrow’s website at www.fourtharrowcameraarms.com.