Tips for Preventing Tree Stand Theft
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After spending weeks in the woods prior to opening day scouting bedding areas and food sources, identifying trails, determining ambush points, cutting shooting lanes, and finally, hanging your treestand, you are ready for the opening day! Then, when the big day finally arrives, you rise well before dawn, wolf down a quick breakfast, put on your camouflage, and head out to your stand. But, as you stealthily creep through the woods and finally arrive at your destination in anticipation of spending a quiet day in the woods, you discover that some worthless excuse for a human being has stolen your treestand! Thus, feeling dejected and downtrodden, you are forced to return home with nothing to show for all of your hard work.
Unfortunately, this is all too common an occurrence and anyone who has experienced it is well aware of how it makes a person feel violated. However, the fact is that the only certain way to prevent treestand theft is to never leave it behind in the woods because, if a dedicated thief decides that they want it bad enough, they will get it. But, the good news is that most treestand thefts are crimes of opportunity rather than a carefully planned heist because most thieves are lazy and don’t care for any pursuit that requires hard work. Thus, the real key to preventing this type of theft is to make it difficult for the perpetrator to abscond with your property. So whether you build your own stand or just buy one, below you will find eight valuable tips that will help you keep it safe.
Our Top 8 Tips for Preventing Tree Stand Theft
1. Place your Stand In A Remote Location
The first step to preventing treestand theft is to make it difficult for thieves to find. Thus, you should be aware that a lot of hunters will travel no more than a hundred yards or so from the road and their vehicle. Therefore, by placing your stand much deeper in the woods, you avoid casual discovery by other hunters.
2. Conceal It
Next, you should take care to place your treestand in a tree with a significant amount of foliage and/or drape it with camouflage netting so that it is not easily recognizable from the ground. That way, both deer and thieves are far less likely to see it.
3. Place A Lock On Your Stand
Of course, in addition to carefully concealing your treestand, you should also secure it by placing a bicycle chain or cable with a lock around the tree and through a part of your stand that cannot be disassembled. That way, if a thief does manage to find it, it will appear to be far too much work to make it worth the effort of stealing.
4. Make It Difficult To Access
In addition, any time you leave your stand behind in the woods, you should remove your means of access by taking the bottom few pegs or the lower section of your ladder with you so that even if a thief does manage to find it, then they will have no way to climb up to it in order to steal it.
5. Use A Trail Camera
Next, you should use a trail camera to monitor your tree stand by placing it high up in a tree near your stand and then pointing the lens down so that it captures video of anyone approaching it. That way, if a thief does abscond with your stand, then you will have a means of identifying them. However, because tail cameras are another valuable commodity for thieves, you will also need to conceal and secure your trail camera just like your treestand.
6. Identify Your Stand
Furthermore, because most thieves are lazy, you should place two identifying marks on your stand such as a name or serial number and, you should place one in a location where it can be easily seen by the thief and one in a concealed location where it will not be easily seen. That way, after the thief removes the obvious identifier, they will very likely fail to look for the second one.
7. Report The Theft
If you are the victim of treestand theft, then you should report the theft immediately to your local sheriff’s department and to your state’s Wildlife Commission so that both types of law enforcement officers are aware of the theft. That way, if it turns up in a local pawn shop or hanging in a tree elsewhere, it can be recovered.
8. Take Your Stand With You
Last, the absolute best way to prevent treestand theft is to take your stand with you every time you exit the woods because, if it's not there to be stolen, then you deny a thief the opportunity to steal it. However, this requires that you hang your stand prior to each day’s hunt and then take it down again when you are done hunting for the day which will, of course, alert any deer in the area to your presence. But, this may very well work to your advantage because deer are very curious animals and thus, they often find it difficult to resist investigating the cause of a ruckus once the noise has subsided.
Wrapping It Up
So, if you find it necessary to place your treestand in a location where it is at risk of theft, then following the eight steps listed above will drastically decrease your chances of being a victim and having your hunting season ruined. In addition, they will also greatly increase your chance of recovering your valuable property in the event that it is stolen as well as landing the perpetrator in jail. Thus, even though following the precautions listed above will require additional work from you, the peace of mind that it will bring you will be well worth the extra effort.