Treestand theft is a serious issue. Thousands of deer hunters are affected by it every season. Sadly, no matter what you do, the risk is still there. But there are tips you can implement to reduce the likelihood of someone lifting the stands you used your hard-earned cash on. Here are 10 things that will reduce the odds of someone heisting your stands.
1. Buy Lower-Priced Stands
Stands that aren’t as expensive will look less appealing and are less likely to be stolen. Not that you shouldn’t buy quality. But it’s a simple fact that a $300 stand is going to be more appealing than a $50 stand to a thief. So, if you’re in an area where stuff has been stolen, put your cheaper stands there and the more expensive gear elsewhere.
2. Use Stands with Camo
They don’t put Realtree camo on treestands for nothing. Obviously, it helps to hide you from the prying eyes of a whitetail. But it also helps keep other hunters from seeing your stands. Buy stands that come with Realtree camo. You’ll be glad you did.
Hunting within eyesight of a property line will increase the odds that someone else will see your treestand. Not that you have untrustworthy neighbors, or that someone won’t trespass and find your stand anyway, but a stand has to be spotted before it can be stolen. Push deeper into cover and fewer people will see it.
This isn’t a surefire way to keep your stand from being stolen. But it’ll at least deter the lazy thief. And most thieves are opportunistic in nature. They’re less likely to take it if they have to go somewhere, get bolt cutters, and then come back to take it.
6. Take Stands Down When You Leave
The only surefire way to make sure a stand isn’t stolen is to take it down each time you leave. This is the great thing about climbing stands. If you hunt in an area with high theft rates, this might be the way to go for you.
7. Remove the Bottom Steps
This is a pretty good deterrent. They can’t take it if they can’t reach it. Like with adding a lock and cable, someone is less likely to take the stand if they have to leave and go get a tool to finish the job.
8. Place a Camera Nearby
This comes with risk. If they’re going to steal the stand, they’ll just steal the camera, too, right? Maybe. But they're less likely to if you climb an adjacent tree with a climbing stand and place a camera on a tree that’s eye-level with the stand. Brush it in and leave it be. Then, if your stand ever goes missing. Simply climb the tree again, pull the card and see who took the stand.
9. Report Stolen Property
The data shows that many hunters never even report stolen property. The first step in recovering it is to report something that’s been taken. Keep that in mind if someone does take one of your treestands. It’s the first step in recovering it.
10. Place Two Identifiers on the Stand
It’s best to put some kind of unique identification mark on the stand. Put one that’s obvious and one somewhere that only you would find it. That way, if your stand is stolen, you can use the unique identifier to prove it’s yours upon recovery.