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Old November 10, 2009, 03:52 PM   #1
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Tree Stands on Public Land

I'm going to be hunting on public land here in Florida in the next few weeks. I have a hang on tree stand and a stick ladder. Last year was the first time I ever hunted deer. I didn't get one, and carrying the ladder, tree stand, and rifle through the thick Florida brush were a huge pain in the ass. It really discouraged me from getting out there more than I did. My question is should I leave the stick ladder out there and just hope for the best? It only cost about 50 dollars, but I'd hate to head out for a morning of hunting only to find I have no way of getting up the tree I was planning on hunting from. Eventually I'd like to buy a climber, but I'm not sure I want to spend the money right now.
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Old November 10, 2009, 04:06 PM   #2
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A $6.00 security cable can keep an "honest person honest" and your stand attached to the tree. With the stick ladder you can probably do the same thing depending on how it's built. Is there a hole you could thread a cable through? If not can you make a small hole without compromising the ladder?

If nothing else take the ladder with you when you leave and then it's only one thing to carry and unless someone brings their own ladder or screw steps with them your stand is safe.

I know guys who have had lots of stands stolen. Ladders, climbers, hang-ons. The one common denominator is that they never put a lock on them. I've always locked mine in place and left them behind and never had one stolen. Yet.......
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Old November 10, 2009, 04:26 PM   #3
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Yeah, I could put a hole in it without too much trouble. I had thought about taking the ladder and leaving the stand up in the tree, but decided against it. The stand cost three times as much, and is a lot easier to carry. How common is it for folks to walk the woods with bolt cutters?
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Old November 10, 2009, 04:54 PM   #4
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In this area I have know peoples stands to disappear w/ lock and chain.

Stands here must have owners/users name on it.
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Old November 10, 2009, 06:22 PM   #5
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Check your laws in Florida, I know it's illegal to leave a stand in the woods here in GA on public land.

I know about the PITA of climbing stands, that's part of the reason I've been hunting off the ground this year.
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Old November 10, 2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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It is legal to leave a stand up during season in florida but the owner's name must be on it. Some WMA's may prohibit leaving it in the woods but not most.
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Old November 10, 2009, 08:05 PM   #7
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What about take it down, lock it to the base of the tree and throw some foliage over it? Out of sight, but you don't have to tote it around? I have done that a few times with a climber.

I had a strap-on stand stole off a tree, and I had even taken my ladder with me....
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Old November 11, 2009, 03:41 PM   #8
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Dav, I like the idea of taking it down, chaining it up, and camouflaging it. To clarify, I wasn't really thinking of leaving my stand out there, just the stick ladder. I don't so much mind toting the stand. It's just the combination of the stand, ladder, and a rifle that is a bit much. I've also been giving some thought to just hunting off of the ground.
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Old November 11, 2009, 04:58 PM   #9
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I would lock the stand and leave it in the tree sure there is a chance it might get stolen but there is no way I would be restrapping the stand to the tree every time I hunted it just not worth it way to time consuming if your going to do that you might as well get a climber stand and carry in and out with you.
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Old November 11, 2009, 05:24 PM   #10
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What I do is to put a lock on the stand and then take the bottom two sticks with me. It won't prevent a really determined thief but it will make it VERY difficult.
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Old November 15, 2009, 06:06 AM   #11
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another option

I put quite a few stands up on public land every year, live next to 40,000 acre WmA!!!! I use a climber on spots where I feel the public will be there in numbers, and just put up with carrying it in and out. On my more remote spots, I use put ups more often. I also have an extra climber, which I usually put on a tree and leave for a week or so in my really really way back places.

One trick is to use screw in steps and just remove the bottom couple. I also use screw ins to get me up a few feet on a tree to where my climber will fit. I have never used a combo of a stick and screw ins, but suppose that could work too.

I hate advertising my spots and am leery of leaving put ups for that reason, but as I get older, the climber gets to be more and more of a hassle.
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Old November 15, 2009, 06:18 AM   #12
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I'm not sure how you are carrying your ladder sections, but when I use mine, as I have several, they are all attached together via straps and bungees. Then I fashion up a long padded strap that goes over my shoulder. This way the weight is on my shoulder. Once I start to engage some brush, I can swing the section any way I want to help me maneuver the tight spots. It's comfortable if you make the strap right.

If you are going to leave your ladders sections in the tree, but leave your stand hidden somewhere nearby, I suggest leaving it farther away than what you are thinking. Thieves are crafty and just may start looking around and find it. I once had a stand out, locked, but left the rebar in the ground where I had a decoy. I hid the decoy very well, but someone noticed the rebar in the ground and started to snoop around until they found my well hidden stand.

And no, people don't walk around with bolt cutters in the woods. If they want to steal something bad enough, they'll just come back with the right tools and take it.

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Old November 15, 2009, 08:24 AM   #13
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One trick is to use screw in steps...
If your referring to steps that screw into the tree, read your hunting laws as some states prohibit these kind of steps from being used on WMA`s.
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Old November 15, 2009, 09:19 AM   #14
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Daniel, my experience with FL is extensive (I learned to hunt hog & deer in Bull Creek WMA, but also hunted a couple others), but dated (I left FL in 1994). Every year, during the summer, my buds and I built ladder stands. Every year, just before the season, we'd devote a couple weekends to scouting and putting up stands. All stands were chained or cabled to the tree with master locks. Every year, we lost a few. And we hiked 45 minutes from the truck to get to our closest stand!

Lesson learned, try to hide everything! Although I never saw it first hand, I really think some questionable individuals during that time DID bring bolt cutters into the woods. Had I seen it, there would have been some words said (followed closely by something else!).
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Old November 15, 2009, 06:01 PM   #15
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Screw in steps are not legal on Fl WMAs. The strap on steps work good though.

We carry climbers in and out but see stands in the woods all the time. Most have a lock on them.

The strap on steps are easy enough to where you can pull them off the tree and leave the stand itself up. Only need to strap them on in the morning and you're done. Not much chance of someone stealing a strap on stand wtih no easy way to access it.............
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