10% Report Having a Hunting Stand or Blind Vandalized with the Intent to Harm

June 12, 2018 | by National Deer Alliance

Many hunters in today’s outdoor community spend countless dollars and hours conserving their property for the best hunting they can get, but what is one of the biggest things you can’t control? Other hunters and trespassers accessing your land without your permission, and deliberately interfering with your hunt, and maybe even threatening your safety.

According to a recent survey we conducted on May 30th, nearly 10% of respondents believe that someone tampered with their tree stands where it seemed that the perpetrators intent was to harm them. That’s a scary thing. Regardless if it was an angry neighbor, or a random trespasser, what could have possibly made someone go out of their way to potentially harm or kill a fellow hunter?

One responder commented on the issue about his wooden ladder stand by writing, “My wooden ladder rungs were sawed at an angle (approximately 3/4 through the 2x4's) on 1 side of 3rd rung so as to appear normal, but would break while climbing.” Another responder claimed “A neighbor stuffed rags in the chimney of one of our blinds thinking we had a wood stove and would smoke someone out. We have propane heaters, and it could have cost one of my family members their life. Appropriate action was taken, and tickets were issued!”

A high number of respondents also indicated that they have had multiple occasions where someone has tampered with ladder stands, but the apparent purpose was to prevent hunting, not to cause injuries. In addition, roughly 28% claimed that they have a friend who has had their tree stands or blinds tampered with; which brings up the question, how many times have you heard people mention that they have had their tree stands taken down or stolen from their own private land?

Probably quite a few.

Luckily roughly 95% who participated in the survey, or their friends, have been harmed by one of these incidents. Still, many of the stories from the other 5% were sickening. “I had a lean-to stand with two ratchet straps securing it and someone (had to be two people) cut both straps and leaned it back on the tree. So when I went to climb it, it obviously fell over toward me.”  Another person wrote, “I had a hanging stand on a tree about 20 years ago, prior to the need to lock them. I climbed up for an evening hunt and was able to see the problem before getting in the stand. I had the stand sitting on a limb and secured with a strap, but someone had unhooked the strap, leaving it only on the limb.”

Trespassers and vandals seem to forget about the true consequences behind their actions. Simply put, vandalizing tree stands or other hunting gear can prove to be fatal. What if it’s a father bringing his son on his first hunting trip, or a brother and sister are sitting in a stand together near their home while their parents anxiously await their arrival after dark. Although the vast majority of people would never do something like this to a fellow outdoorsman, it is still necessary to always check your tree stands and blinds each time before climbing in. Unfortunately, you never know when you could end up being in that unfortunate 5%.