View Full Version : Hard ethics question.....HELP....ideas?

September 13, 2009, 10:59 AM
The question involves PUBLIC land and semi-permanent tree stands. ( Ladders and the like that are left in place most if not all season.)
First off I will say that my general response to seeing one is to avoid the area it's in. That seems the best course of action most of the time. And as we use portable stands it's usually the case that it's a easy thing to relocate.

And this too needs to be said up front, that I know full well that not all hunters are as fortunate as I am in that some of them are just not able to use climbers. You have to take into consideration the older and less physically fit among us. Got to cut them some room so they can enjoy too.

Those points out of the way here is something about the semi-permanent stand thing that leaves me a bit uneasy.

And I ask this question based on what was seen in the woods Saturday. The WMA we hunt does not open to the public until 2 weeks before the archery season, which was yesterday. As of yesterday afternoon there were more than a few semi-permanent stands already up in the woods, at least one a tripod stand set out on a field. ( I think he's "place holding" for muzzle loader season with this one! And he's in for a rude surprise as my brother in law, who is less concerned about being polite than I am, is going to be parking VERY close to it! )

Now I know from past years that more than a few folks who hunt this WMA, and I would assume it's the same about everywhere, will set more than one semi-permanent stand. In fact some of them will set 5 or more..........

And that is where the problem I have comes into play. If most hunters do as I do and avoid areas where they know semi-permanent stands are is not the effect of this the ceding of a great number of areas to one hunter? I mean doesn't it end up being that by us being courteous we also allow one person to monopolize more area than he can hunt? He can't be in more than one stand can he?

And this too. I think some of the guys have come to realize that by doing this they get to place a "dibs" on some chosen places in the woods. They know that folks will avoid the areas where they have semi-permanent stands so they set them all up with the idea of "holding" those areas for themselves.

And this is where the problem I am stuck on comes up.

You see, if I knew that everyone had only one stand that would be one thing. I'd go out of my way to stay away from them. On the other hand it kind of grates on me that the "courtesy" I afford is being taken advantage of by those setting many more than one stand. Seems to me that they are claiming more than their portion of the woods.

More than that I think that those who set more than one stand are showing the rest of us who are SHARING the WMA with them a incourtesy by defacto expecting us to stay out of "their" stand areas.

On private lands (clubs ) there are ways this gets dealt with but on public land we are left to "accommodate" each other in a polite way.

Problem is that as the years pass I'm feeling less tolerant and less willing to go out of my way to give the folks with semi-permanent stands "their" areas.

So what do you think? Is a change in attitude in order?

And by who?

Or do we need ( Lord I hate to even say it!! ) WMA regulations stipulating only 1 semi-permanent stand per hunter? But then how to regulate that? What a mess that would be for the FWC Officers.

So where do I go with this...................? Do I just continue to cede them the woods or do I have to get over my old habits and just hunt "their" areas if it looks good to me and if they are not already in the stand.

And NO, I am not talking about getting in another mans stand!! That is UNACCEPTABLE even if he has a hundred out there.

Should I just set up my climber where I want to so long as I get there before him and then expect him to leave should he show up? Seems like a hard thing to do for him. And what if it's one of those folks who really can't use a climber or who truly has only one semi-permanent stand?

Hard questions. And you know what.......dealing with them negatively impacts what should be a enjoyable thing.

September 13, 2009, 11:24 AM
How about eliminating stands altogether and walk-up hunt instead?....If you must have stands, then maybe some form of ID sticker, (like some states have with car registration stickers) - one to a hunter

September 13, 2009, 11:57 AM
OK, if I am reading this correctly, you are hunting public lands and you are concerned about semi-permanent stands being left in place for extended periods. How to deal with them, etc... Am I correct?

First off, most of the public lands that I have hunted on require that stands be left up for no more than a week. Many are even less (3 days maximum, etc.). The National Forest Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the State of Texas (state run WMAs) all outline specifically that stands cannot be left in place for an extended period.

If you are noticing stands left up for long periods:

1) Read the regulations closely and see if it is permitted. My hunch is that it is not. When people leave stands up for a long time then they are "claiming" that location as theirs, which is not right since it is "public" land.

2) If the stands are against the rules, simply contact the area manger (COE, NFS, etc.) and give them the location of the stands so they can be removed.

3) If the stands are indeed legal, and it is on public lands, it still does not give that person the freedom to either a) run you out of the area, or b) ruin your hunt. In fact, I bet it would be legal to hunt from the stands yourself. I would not recommend it, but I don't think the other person would have recourse because of it. I would however have no issues with hunting the same area.

So, find out if they are legal and if not contact the local area manager and complain.
I have seen some people act as a vigilante and take the stand themselves since it is an "illegal" stand. I DO NOT recommend doing this. Just call the manager and let them deal with it.


September 13, 2009, 12:26 PM
You are pointing up one reason I quit hunting WMAs.
I began paying the cash to join a good hunt club.

September 13, 2009, 12:31 PM
I hate to say this but it would work. Registration Tags for each stand. I know I wouldn't blow extra money just to have more than one stand then. $20-30 a tag. I hate shelling out more cash but if it went to the "Hunting" community in some way I'd pay it.

September 13, 2009, 12:48 PM
This is one of the big reasons I avoid public hunting areas. In my state, if you leave a stand up on public land overnight, it's up for grabs by morning. Why would it make any sense for a public area to permit people to claim it in bits and pieces. If you abandon your hunting gear on public land, it becomes either public property, or the property of the first person who finds/wants it.

Big Caliber
September 13, 2009, 01:31 PM
Seems to me that leaving anything on publc land, stands or whatever, is litter. Is that ethical? If they are left there year round I would tear them down and recycle them.:p

September 13, 2009, 01:48 PM
Back when I was in MS on our hunting club land, if someone left their stand up for more than one season (archery, 1st rifle, primitive weapon, 2nd rifle, archery), it was perfectly acceptable for another member to cut the legs off of it with a chainsaw. :D

We were all about 'equal opportunity hunting'...

September 13, 2009, 01:56 PM
1. consult the regulations in your state.

2. first come first serve. Simply having a stand in an area doesn't reserve that area for the owner of the stand.

3. avoid arguments with armed people at all costs.

September 13, 2009, 02:30 PM
I understand you are being a gentleman.Trying to get along,etc.

I'm not sure folks who erect the stands on public lands with expectations are practicing the same courtesy.

What if you had hunted that same spot for 12 years with no stand,every opening day.Does the fact someone put up a stand run you off? I don't think so.Something about staking a claim on public land is questionable.The way you are approaching it,you have been all about giving,while the claimers are all about taking.On public land,we should all play by the same rules.

If the public land regulations permit these stands(I'm not sure National Forest or BLM does),it may be that it is OK to leave equiptment in the field,but nobody gets to claim the hunting territory.It belongs to you just as much as it belongs to me.If you get there first,and sit at the base of the tree stand,the guy with the stand should move on.

My guess is,a conversation with the game warden will give you the facts to work with.

Then let the golden rule work both directions.You deserve to be treated with courtesy,also.You do not always have to be the guy who steps back.

Know the law,the regs,.and the warden's phone number.He/she are likely afield with a cell phone.

September 13, 2009, 05:49 PM
Don`t know the terrain where you hunt but I am fortunate to hunt private land. I get up in the air for a list of reason`s. One being able to see/hunt further. On public land, just how much is that person erecting that stand(especially in rifle,shotgun BP season) wanting to claim? In Ohio, no permanent stands can be erected on public land and no damage can be done to trees with any kind of stand. Its hilly here and in any kind of firearm/gun season I don`t want to be in a treestand anyway. Flat ground may not be so bad. Anyway, my vote would be for no stands period. There comes a time when your generosity gets you taken advantage of. Check your Hunting regs. I would say someone erecting more than one stand on WMA is doing just that. Time for a change in attitude.

September 13, 2009, 07:45 PM
Public land to me pretty much means first come gets the rights to hunt there for that day. So if it is a good spot just try to be the first one there. I wouldn't use a stand that was left on public land but I wouldn't have any problem sitting under it. However like previously mentioned avoid any kind of serious conflict when both parties are armed.

September 14, 2009, 12:50 PM
Our WMA's around here are pretty large...between 25,000 and 100,000 acres. I use both climbers and ladders. I've never encountered a hunter who felt that he was restricted by the placement of someone else's stand. I once erected my climber in the dark and found myself quite near a ladder. Luckily, he didn't hunt that morning, and I moved elsewhere for the evening. It's common here to leave ladders in for weeks at a time. No one seems to mind as there is lots of room for everyone. The only problems we have are with stand thieves...a relatively new problem.

September 14, 2009, 01:35 PM
Definitely a difficult situation to ponder due to the large numbers of variables: what state you hunt in and its pertinent laws, what is the intent of the folks who placed the stands, etc.

Go to the books and do your research. If the person is fully legal to put the stand there, I applaud your effort to be a gentleman, but you could put another stand close by. Whoever gets there first would be the winner. But, like some of the others have mentioned, avoid confrontation with weapons.

I'd also plan to put a lock on that stand.

At different bases I've hunted, the same problem persists, but normally those folks NEVER pulled their stands out of the woods. Year round, they were out there. It was also covered in the annual briefing that stands left in the woods were expected to be used by the general populace. If you put one out there where people were likely to find it, you better plan to be there before anyone else!

And for the member who mentioned this being a new problem in the Central Florida area, I learned to deer/hog hunt on Bull Creek, Three Lakes, and Tosohatchee. Every season I'd put out 5-10 ladder stands (expecting others to use them if I wasn't around, after all, its public land), and some enterprising individuals enjoyed my handiwork so much they'd relieve me of 5-6/season. Chain, padlocks, cables, didn't matter. These folks must have carried bolt cutters in their backpacks. Good thing I could make them for $40 each.

That's what got me into climbers! Too bad they don't work on oak trees very well...

Dr. Strangelove
September 14, 2009, 02:10 PM
You've got to make the decision that makes you comfortable and happy while hunting. As far as I'm concerned, on WMA's, if someone isn't hunting an area when I arrive, it's mine to hunt. I don't jump in on people when fishing, but that doesn't mean I'm going to cede them the spot for the entire season just because I saw them fishing there one day. Same goes for hunting, put all the stands up you like, but if you aren't in it when I walk in, I'm hunting there. I won't use someone else's actual stand, but a stand doesn't claim the area, physically being there does.

Having said that, I'm not going to get in a fight over a deer stand. 90% of my hunting is on WMA's here in GA. I tend to avoid areas with high concentrations of other hunters, but I do occasion run into others or see stands. I personally wouldn't leave my climber in the public woods overnight, but some folks obviously do.

Another thing I do is hunt late morning or evening so that I can see where people are parked when I go in the woods. I prefer to hunt in the morning, but by modifying my schedule a bit, I can cut down on interactions with other hunters.

Art Eatman
September 14, 2009, 02:55 PM
If it's feasible, hunt during the week. You'll have the whole place to yourself, many times.

September 15, 2009, 01:56 AM
I'm not really answering your question, but figured I'd throw something out for you to consider....

Most states (and Federal lands) consider stands and blinds left past their time limit to be 'abandoned property'. Most states allow abandoned property to be claimed by anyone, provided they attempted to contact the owner via a newspaper classified ad.

As for your question.... Start hunting A-holes. You'll feel better when the tag is filled.

September 15, 2009, 02:56 AM
How about eliminating stands altogether and walk-up hunt instead?....If you must have stands, then maybe some form of ID sticker,

September 15, 2009, 03:49 AM
We don't have problems with stands here in Arizona. For the most part, nobody uses them.

I'm willing to walk far enough into the hills to not have to deal with competition for the most part. Even so, if I had a "favorite" spot I liked to hunt, and found a semi-permenant stand there, I'd most likely hunt it like I'd never seen it; that is, unless it was occupied. If it's not occupied, then others should forfeit the place to whoever got there first IMO. Stand or no stand.

Then, if some fool showed up and insisted that I leave, I'd probably oblige him...then I'd use the area for a latrine on future visits. That way there'd be no question about who could hunt there, 'cause he could have it.

But I hunt at least partly to get away from garbage like that, and I'm pretty ornery about someone interfering with my hunting. I put a lot of time, money, and effort into hunting, so someone else dictating where I can or can't isn't acceptable.

Common courtesy has to work both ways. If they're there first, then let them be. If you're there first, then they should do the same.


September 15, 2009, 05:39 PM
Hunting on public property is first come, first serve. You cannot reserve your area no matter how wonderful you think that it is. I belongs to all. Leaving a stand is not a reservation for that area. Each morning you must start afresh! Its part of hunting on public lands. If you pack it in, pack it out. Simple rules dont you think?

September 15, 2009, 06:57 PM
For most of my life I've hunted public land 90% of the time. I've met alot of great fellow hunters in the woods who are courteous and very polite. I have, however, also met quite a few inconsiderate idiots. The first deer I ever shot was taken by a hunter who decided to sit down in a shooting lane about 80 yards downhill from me. My brother and I both shot deer out of the same herd, his dropped and mine took off downhill. The other guy had it gutted and started dragging it before I could even get to it. Two weeks later two hunters finished off a deer my father shot, while he was helping me gut my first deer. We tracked it to where it died and then found the gut pile and the brains from where they shot it in the back of the head (:confused:). My first year hunting we were about 200 yards from private land that runs through the middle of the WMA. A man and his son who were hunting the private land set up a stand about 50 yards inside the game lands in front of us. His son shot a 5 point above us, and he shot a spike crossing down below us. My father helped him track the spike and congratulated his son on shooting the buck. Probably the worst thing I've ever seen happen is when my uncle shot a nice 8 point. A man came out of nowhere as he approached his deer and told my uncle that he was the one that shot it. When my uncle opposed him he pointed his muzzle at my uncle and told him that he had "better just let him take the deer". My uncle promptly backed away and let him have the deer. The thing is there are alot of ignorant, idiotic, and arrogant individuals carrying loaded weapons around the woods. Common sense says, in public land, if you are their first you get to hunt it. Most guys will agree and are polite, but be careful how you approach situations because some people are just too arrogant not to put your life in danger.