By Maureen Janson
When hunters share a piece of property, I've found one of the main conflicts to be messing up each other's hunts when going to and from their stands.
If you are a landowner and allow more than one hunter or hunting parties to hunt your place, here are a few ground rules I've come up with that hunters must abide by in order to keep everyone safe, argument-free, and have to better chances at taking deer.
My Ground Rules:
1. Once you've agreed upon which stand you will be hunting from, do not change your mind and go somewhere else once the hunt begins.
2. When going to and from your treestand, do so as quickly and quietly as possible without disturbing other hunters, and especially the deer.
3. Drive in motorized vehicles as little as possible during the season, and walk as much as possible to and from stands.
4. If you decide to get down early, do not drive or walk around the property, and do not exit past other hunters.
If hunters do not agree to the above rules and do not abide by them, you might want to reconsider allowing them on your property next season.
Editor's Note: I wholeheartedly agree with Maureen's suggestions and would like to add a few of my own. - Tim H. Martin
1. Talk to each other (or at least text). Communication is vital between all parties, including landowners. Landowners should gather all names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses from hunters, requiring all parties to exchange them and notify each other of hunting plans. A simple text between hunters can mean the difference between a smooth, successful hunt and a huge argument with hard feelings.
2. Keep a map with pins. Color-code the pins with hunter's names so they can pin them to a property map denoting treestand sites. This will allow others to know exactly where they will be, avoiding confusion. And tell them to make sure they remove the pins after a hunt.
3. Stay in your stand! On my old hunting lease, we had a guy who couldn't sit still more than an hour after daylight. He would get down and "slip around," spooking deer and messing up hunting for others. This wasn't fair to everyone else who sat patiently in their stands. His welcome on our property lasted exactly one season.
4. Abide by the Golden Rule. Do unto other hunters as you would have them do unto you. It's simple! For instance, if another hunter shoots a deer the first five minutes of a beautiful morning hunt, but you are sitting in a stand between him and his truck, you wouldn't want him to drive by your stand to get his deer right away, would you? You'd want him to wait a bit until there's a lull in the action before he got down and made a disturbance. You'd the same for him, so use common courtesy and common sense.
5. Shut the gate! Nothing will get you kicked of a property faster than allowing a landowner's livestock to escape. If you abide by my first rule, you'll know who'll be the last person out, and know who needs to lock the gate back. You'll also make sure everyone is safely out of the woods.