Hard ethics question........HELP, opinions?


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bswiv
September 13, 2009, 11:58 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.

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buck460XVR
September 13, 2009, 01:01 PM
You are correct , many folks set out semi-permanent stands to mark out territory and to keep others away. That's why they are illegal to use on most public land. You didn't say where you are from or what the rules are in your area, so what's ethical and what's legal is missing.

Here, all permanent stands whether tree or ground blinds are illegal unless made from natural vegetation in the area. No harm to trees(nails, screws, cutting of limbs) is allowed either. Temporary stands such as climbers and pop-up blinds must be removed at the end of the day. The only exception to this is the day before regular gun deer season. If stands or blinds are left unattended during the day they must have the owners name and address in plain sight and viewable from the ground if left up in the tree. If these rules are not followed they become public property and can be removed by anyone. In other words, a stand left unattended for more than a day can be used or taken by anyone that wants it......legally. I have reported many permanently built stands on the public land around here to the proper authorities and found them to be removed or destroyed when I have gone back. I have shown wardens unattended tripods and helped them load therm in their truck. Sooooooooo, who's the unethical one here? The one who abides by the rules and pisses off the violator, or the violator? I agree, opening day is not the best of times to have a heated confrontation, but if the stands you are talking about do not abide by the rules, and are in place long before the season, I would report them. BTW....I have also seen wardens(on public land) come out on opening morning to hunters in illegal permanent stands and make them remove them on the spot, with the threat of giving them a citation for littering if they do not remove all the debris. I don't think they like those folks any more than we do.

Art Eatman
September 13, 2009, 01:02 PM
The first thing I would do is contact the folks who manage the WMA. See what their attitude is. How much enforcement are they willing to do, for instance. That will tell you if you're on your own or if the rules about one stand per person are enforced. And, what is their view of "early placement".

I dunno. In this sort of deal, polite folks are at a disadvantage compared to rude folks. Generally, the rude guys will bluster and do the pretend-mad thing to try to play innocent and righteous.

rcmodel
September 13, 2009, 01:20 PM
Kansas law:
BLINDS ON PUBLIC LANDS
Blinds and tree stands may be used on department lands, subject
to posted requirements and under the following conditions: (1)
they may not be placed more than 14 days prior to the season and
shall be removed within 14 days of the close of the season; (2) ladders,
screw-in metal steps and steps attached by ropes, cables or
chains may be used to access stands and must be removed with the
stand; (3) natural blinds may be used and shall be constructed of
natural herbaceous materials or woody debris that are present on
the site; (4) any person may use these stands if not occupied; and
(5) any stand not conforming to the requirements may be removed
or destroyed by department personnel.

I agree, talk to the WMA folks and see what they say.

rc

deerhunter61
September 14, 2009, 12:17 AM
I have hunted public land quite a bit in the past and have some experience with what you are talking about. Frankly that as much as anything is why I am on a lease now. As to your question...I do not think that just because someone puts a stand up that that gives them dibs on a location. I believe it is first come first serve. So if I was hunting where you are and you are pretty sure people are putting up that many stands then I would not worry about hunting in a place where there is already a stand up...again if I am not mistaking it is public land we are talking about. So if I were you and you want to hunt a certain place then I would plan to get there REAL early and hunt it. The downside is if someone else shows up and screws up your hunt when they see you there or they get POd and decide to cause trouble.

The real issue is does the rules give a person the right to hunt an area if they have a stand up and therefore you have to give way to this person...I do not think so..so..you simply have to make a decision.

sumpnz
September 14, 2009, 12:28 AM
Well, when I was still living in AZ, the rule was that if you were fool enough to set up a stand on public land you had no rights to it unless you're actually in it. If another hunter comes along and decides that your stand would make a good place to glass then they're fully in their rights to do so. If you come along and want to kick them out - tough titties. If you want the stand back, wait until they leave - and you can't harass them in the mean time. Public land is first come, first cerved and that applies to semi-permenant human placed stuff on said public land.

kdstrick
September 14, 2009, 12:47 AM
It would be helpful if you guys would state your location. How else do you expect to get the good advice you seek when we have no idea where you are located?

627PCFan
September 14, 2009, 08:27 AM
In MD a treestand on public land is not to be left overnight, and considered abandoned and free for the taking. -per a DNR officer whom shall remain unnamed-

WBNH
September 14, 2009, 09:06 AM
Up here in NH...you need written landowner permission for anything...most of our "public land" accessible for hunting is in the hands of Private Conservation organizations, managed under easements - open to the public, but not state-owned, and they all manage them differently...so it's imperitive to call them.

As for state lands: "Permanent tree stands or structures are not allowed on state lands. Portable tree stands are allowed on state lands without a permit during the legal deer season providing:

1. no nails or other devices are inserted into a tree;
2. the stand can be removed without damage to any vegetation;
3. no vegetation is removed or cut for visibility or concealment. "

Says absolutely nothing about having to remove them at the end of the day...or if they can be erected before the season...just that you can't harm trees by inserting screw-ins or cutting shooting lanes.

HOWEVER...I would be perturbed if I was hunting near an unoccupied tree stand and someone approached me with the attitude that their stand was "reserving" their area. That is tantamount to hanging a bunch of "Posted" signs on state land to stake out a claim...and that is very illegal.

So I won't touch their property...thus wouldn't opt to use/or god-forbid- steal their stand...but I won't let it deter me from hunting that neck of the woods if no one is in it...

...they're being much more unethical if they believe for a minute they can stake out a piece of state land and reserve it for themself. (which may not be what they are doing...but that is the perception)...

Get a climber or take your junk home. Or start leaving your T.V. and Jewelery in a public spot free for the taking. I don't steal...but I have no sympathy for stupidity either.

kanook
September 14, 2009, 10:30 AM
My wife and I went out scouting to find a location for out stand. The WMA that we hunt offers 5 permits at a time. We were a little puzzled when we came across 6 climbers. My wife and I had 2 permits and a buddy of mine had 1, so in theory we should only locate 2 climbers or stands.

We stayed away from the stands as to not upset any buddy hunting on opening day. We asked a fellow hunter as he was leaving if he had any luck, and he replied that he hadn't seen anything from any of his stands. I asked how many stands he had out and he said 9.

Me being polite had not many options to place my stand due to a jack---- hogging all of the freaking land for his own. If I see a stand and it's empty, I'm using it. If I have a place I want to put my stand and I spot another, O well.

People use to be nice and respectful. What happened? If I want to hunt I am now part of the problem.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
September 14, 2009, 10:48 AM
It's a very old and very common problem, which is why there ARE rules that address the issue. I think you're being way too nice. As has been said, contact the Game Warden/WMA manager, and the state regulations, and if the rule is you can use them, then use them if you want that area. First come, first served. Carry a copy of the relevant reg with you if someone comes along and says get out of my stand. The appropriate response is "no, sir, it's first come, first served, here's the reg, thank you very much. I'll be done at Noon" (or whatever).

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