Tips for Preventing Treestand Theft

I’ve had climbers and lock-on stands stolen. And I’d bet someone would have stolen a ladder stand of mine if I owned more than the two I do. It’s a sad world we live in. But it’s the reality we face. Treestands, trail cameras and all other gear we leave in the field is subject to thieves in the modern world. Below are a few tips for preventing treestand theft.

You can't tag a big buck this season if your stand is not safe and secure. Follow these few simple steps for preventing treestand theft.

You can’t tag a big buck this season if your stand is not safe and secure. Follow these few simple steps for preventing treestand theft.

Lock Them Up

The easiest and most effective thing you can do is lock up the stand. You can purchase a chain and padlock for under $20. A cheaper alternative is a bicycle lock. While a chain or cable is good, shiny ones are not. Choose ones with dark, flat colors such as brown or black. The last thing you want is a passerby catching a glint of light off a shiny silver log chain.

Have you taken the steps to deter a treestand thief? A simple lock and chain and cable may be all you need to keep your stand on the tree.

Have you taken the steps to deter a treestand thief? A simple lock and chain or cable may be all you need to keep your stand on the tree.

Use Dark-Colored Stands

Similar to the color of the chain, use a dark-colored stand. Grant it, everyone is moving toward the aluminum stands due to their light weight and maneuverability. That said, the tradeoff isn’t a good one for locations where theft is more probable.

Have Good Cover

Pick a tree that offers cover. I like trees that split or have major horizontal limbs. You can situate the stand so that the platform almost rests (but not touching) the horizontal limb. This provides some natural cover and breaks the contour and pattern of the treestand platform. Also, have good canopy cover so the stand is shaded.

Add More Cover

The second line of defense is good cover. You can’t see most of my stands from the ground. I intertwine tree limbs and brush in and around the stand. If anything, my stands look like giant squirrel nests. Concealing stands in this manner keeps other hunters from eyeing your treestands. Adding cover to conceal the stand doesn’t just hide them from other people, it hides them from deer as well. This allows you to get away with more movement in the stand and keeps your stand from burning out so fast.

Adding brush to your treestand will help conceal you from the eyes of deer...and a thief.

Adding brush to your treestand will help conceal your stand from the eyes of deer…and a thief.

Monitor With Cameras

It sounds cliché, but cameras work wonders. Not all do, but many hunters place cameras near stand sites. Angle those cameras in such a manner that it monitors treestands. Point them in the direction stands are located.

Sure, many of you are saying if they’ll steal the stand they’ll steal the camera. That’s true. But you can prevent camera theft in a variety of ways, too. I run cables and padlocks on all of my cameras. Furthermore, I camouflage my cameras with twigs, leaves and other vegetation. Sometimes, I even take it as far as hanging cameras up in trees.

Another option is to hang cameras in the very tree your stand is in. Just remember to lock it to the tree. I really like this option for public land stands. As you probably know, many public lands allow you to hunt another person’s stand if they don’t make it to that stand by a certain time. While you can’t always legally keep someone else from hunting your public land stand, you can see who is hunting your stand and when. I’ve come to realize people are much less likely to climb into your stand—or try to steal it for that matter—when there is a camera three feet above it.

Put a trail camera to work on the properties you hunt to monitor would-be thieves.

Put a trail camera to work on the properties you hunt to monitor potential thieves.

Remove Some Steps

Remove a section of climbing sticks to prevent people from taking things that aren’t theirs. You can remove a section at the top. Or you can remove a section at the bottom. I prefer to remove a section at the bottom because it’s safer. The same goes if you use screw-in steps instead.

Don’t Leave Stands Up

Want to know the simplest way to prevent treestand theft? Take them down. I know. It isn’t logical to take down a stand every time you climb down. At least, for those heavier 20- to 30-pound stands it doesn’t. But, with high-end, lightweight stands it does make sense. If you have a stand that is 10 pounds or less (and there are several of these options on the market), why not take it with you?

For those that don’t take them down after every sit, at least take them down at times you know you won’t hunt that spot for a while. It’s just one more thing you can do to prevent your belongings from going astray.

Mark Your Stands

As you know, this doesn’t keep your stands from being stolen. But it does help you get them back if they are heisted. Complete this branding step by making a subtle mark on the stand that only you could distinguish. But don’t make it obvious. The first thing thieves will do is conceal obvious markings. That way, you will be able to identify them when no one else can.

Follow these simple steps and you’ll greatly reduce the potential for your stands to be stolen this season. And be sure to give us a shout and let us know any tips you may have for preventing treestand theft in your neck of the woods.

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  1. Rich Wenskoski says:

    How do I keep other hunters from hunting out of my Ladder Stand . I only hunt from it when the wind is right , but other hunters are hunting out of it when I am not there. Is there a locking system that can go on the ladder , so it can keep others from climbing up the ladder. I am 69 years young and have hunted deer for 45 years . I know about the wind direction and these other hunters are compromising the area . If there is anybody that sell’s such a locking devise please let me know or if anybody knows any other way to keep these guys of the stand let me know .
    Looking forward to hearing from you .
    Thanks , Rich

    • Brodie Swisher Brodie Swisher says:

      That’s a great question, Rich. I’ll do some checking on it. That’s a big concern, no doubt. A locking plate of lightweight aluminum or mesh you could put over the first half of the ladder might do the trick.

      • When I hunt public land I use a hang-on stand and take the bottom two ladder sections with me. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle but I think it keeps other hunters out of my stand and also helps with theft deterrence. I also have my stand locked to the tree. If you are using a ladder stand you could rig up a piece of plywood to lock on to the bottom part of the ladder. I’m sure they sell these somewhere because that’s how they are done in sporting good stores to keep children from climbing the ladders.

    • Matt Horn says:

      Get yourself a piece of plywood and cut it 2″ wider then the ladder. Then bolt/lock the board into place when you leave. This prevents any use of the bottom 8 ft of the ladder.

    • David Sizemore says:

      Take the steps of the ladder and cut them out leavening one at the bottom drill a hole To each side where you cut the step out get a rode that is about a inch longer than the width of the ladder weld a washer to one end drill a small hole at the top of the washer with a bolt going through the washer and ladder this will prevent the rodes from turning when climbing you can do this to all the steps except for the bottom and the top one just put them in as you go up and remove them as you come down

    • Mark Ringold says:

      Check out It looks like it will dissuade most from using your stand.

      • Richard Wenskoski says:

        Mark Ringold ,
        Thank you very much for the Info. about I ordered two of them tonight . It is just what I was looking for .
        Thanks again Mark and .
        Best Regards,
        Rich W.

  2. Kurt Perham says:

    what about stands left on public land? are those free game to hunt from? I have a permit to hunt on a “with consent” plot of land. The permit states that 1 stand per persona and stands removed each day. As I scouted the field, I found 3 stands in place. I plan to bring my climber, but if conditions are right…are the other stands “free game” to hunt from? What are your thoughts?

    • I live in NC and the only “public land” we have are Game Lands. In which case, those stands are probably owned by someone. It’s best to hunt on private land so you have a better idea of who is shooting and where they are.

  3. I hunt some public land in Michigan. I use a cable lock made for tree stands, when I leave the stand I actually fold the platform of my lock-on back up and lock it to the trunk of the tree, this way no one can possibly use my stand without taking the lock off. I also take the bottom two ladder steps with me.

  4. This has to do with trail cameras. I print off a card and laminate it that days ” if you are going to steal this camera make sure you get the other one!”. I have not had a public land camera stolen since I started this but I have several pics of people reading the card!!

  5. I hunt public land in Minnesota. If you leave your stand up on public land and somebody else is using it when you get there, you cannot kick them out of it. This is the law and I understand it. But when you come to your stand and it is gone, along with your ladder, and your bow rope, and bow holder. That ticks me off!!! The only thing they left was the padlock and steel cable I had the stand locked to the tree with. It was laying on the ground at the bottom of the tree. They had cut it with a bolt cutter, and also drove down to the stand site with a truck. (Not legal to drive a motor vehicle on public hunting grounds past the posted parking area) I know this because I could see the tire tracks in the tall grass, and they were to wide to be a four wheeler, (also not legal). Long story made short, some people are just jerks!!! Wish I would have cought them, l’d stick a muzzy up their a##.

  6. I know exactly what your talking about Bob, someone stole one of my cameras about a Month ago, I would of love to have caught them……Sorry Bums…..

  7. creek87 says:

    When I place a lean to stand I use two land anchors like rebar and section of logging chain to prevent theft .

  8. I showed a friend once when he had his stand locked up on State Land just how easy and fast it is to steal a locked stand. In under 10 seconds I had it unlocked and down. 1 deer slug for the ratchet chain, 1 deer slug for the padlock. Who would think a shot equals a stolen stand? He was shocked. On public land, I carry mine in every time. I work too hard for my stuff to leave it for a schmuck to take. Sticks and a hang on stand take just minutes to hang when you do it often enough.

  9. Dan Slezak says:

    Just this week my son found that our stand was stolen. It was placed on private property (farm). It was a huge double seat from family traditions. It was cable linked /locked to nearby trees. And to mention that it weighed 190 lbs. This link will show you what it looked like put together. I have since looked online and it seems that 42 inch bolt cutters will go thru about anything. So what is one to do?
    link to

    • Ethan the hunter says:

      Did you look around for it near site you put it

  10. Last fall I bought a lock on tree stand and sections of ugly sticks. I locked the stand with a python lock and also locked each section of ladder to the tree. I placed three cameras in the area. When I came to hunt it was all gone, the thief took every thing, cut the cable locks and it was all gone camera’s and stand and ladders. All that was left was my bow hanger. I was on private farm land. I figure that the person must have seen it and came back with a battery grinder and an ATV. VALUE = over $1000.00. He was on a mission to get some stands because latter that week I heard of several people that had their stands and camera’s stolen off their own property.
    I have come across several stands and camera’s while hunting but I respect other hunters so the next time I am in the area I by pass around where they are set up so as not to mess up their hunt. It is so sad to think there are people that just go around the take things that do not belong to them. My camera’s and stand were all marked and the person will have to literally scratch the hell out the inside and outside of the camera’s.

  11. Phil Barnet says:

    Try using a Tree Stand Buddy. Great product which allows you to easily remove your stand and take it with you. When you come back the receiver is still in the tree and the bracket is attached to the stand. All you do is pull your stand up while standing on the ground, tie it off to the ladder. Climb your ladder and slide the bracket into the receiver and you’re hunting. It is quiet and quick!!!!

    Probably the simplest solution for preventing tree stand theft.

  12. ERIC Zillioux says:

    I have had several friends get their stands stolen every year. Here’s what I do and I have yet to lose one. One I paint my stand and ladder with brown and black swishes of spray paint to break up that gray paint they typically come in. Doesn’t seem like much, however makes a huge difference in the woods,. Next I set my hang on up and put up the ladder. The top piece of the ladder I have two points of contact via the u brace (you have to actually add one yourself) and strap it to the tree. I leave the pin connector out of that section. So when I leave I can pull the remainder of the ladder off leaving only the one 4’ piece at the top 15’ up. I break the remaining 4 sections into two sections and leave them hidden in the woods 10 yards from my stand. It only takes me a minute to grab the those two sections, put them together and insert it into the piece I have strapped to the tree. I also have a cable lock on the stand. It would take someone a lot of effort to attemp to steal it and I truly believe that those scummy theives look for easy targets and are not going to put that much effort into stealing a stand. It also keeps other people from sitting in my stand while I’m not there. Not that I really care about someone sitting in it. But I don’t want someone blowing deer out because the don’t know how to hunt weather it being paying attention to the wind, or smoking, or whatever that will blow deer out of that area.
    Anyway, it’s worked for me forever and I have never had an issue.
    Hope my tip is helpful.

  13. When you have a big treestand stolen look around the area it was put because someone tried to steel my stand and i found it down the bank hidden for the theives to pick up later


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