Wisconsin Hunting Reports/Discussion

Someone sitting in my deer stand.

2/14/24 @ 10:35 AM
User since 1/6/09

This happened to me nearly 20 years ago.  I was wondering how you all would have handled it.

I have a 40 of hunting property up in Douglas Co (close to 2 hours north of where I live).  On one side of me is more private land, on the other is papermill land (open to public).  I put up a ladderstand on papermill land for bow season because the enclosed stands on our land are not conducive to drawing a bow, plus the deer like to hang in the pines and scrub during the warmer weather.

So, one Saturday afternoon sit I was successful on a buck.  It was warmer, so spent the next day skinning/quartering/cutting.  Following weekend I went back up for the day to retrieve my stand.

Hiked up on the ridge and found someone sitting in it, hunting.  I mentioned that he was sitting in my stand, he said "This is public property, I can sit in it if I want legally."  I told him "Yes, you're correct LEGALLY but ethically is another question, and I just drove 2 hours to take it down because I got my deer last weekend and I'm not waiting around."

What would you have done?

Displaying 46 to 60 of 67 posts
2/15/24 @ 10:29 AM
User since 8/28/11
I guess I grew up different than you lovestofishnhunt.  It wouldn't ever cross my mind to hunt in a stand that I didn't own or setup.  First of all you are trusting that the guy who hung it did so properly and securely and didn't sabotage it so some a-hole who comes along and climbs in it gets hurt and secondly it just isn't right.  It doesn't belong to you.  I don't believe that because it's legal it's ok to do.  It's perfectly legal to cheat on your spouse but that doesn't make it right or ok to do.  Have a little respect for other people/hunters.  Don't be lazy either - bring your own stand into the woods.  For the rest of you who said to just back out and come back later to get it that must mean you're ok with it and that is also part of the problem.  If you do use someone else's stand/property at least be courteous enough to let them take their property when they show up to get it otherwise be prepared for confrontation.  A similar situation happened to me years ago and it turned out great.  I came out to my ice shack and found an older gentleman and his grandson using it as a windbreak with their tipups in all my holes (I had been there the previous day).  After unlocking the shack and going in to start the heater I noticed the guy starting to remove his tipups and told him that it wasn't necessary and I would just fish farther out along the weedline.  I was by myself and didn't bother me to move 30-40' to put in my 2 tipups as I was going to jig in my shack.  After thanking me and introducing himself and his grandson we spent the evening chatting inside my shack where it was warm and we all ended up catching a few fish.  Never saw him again after that day.
2/15/24 @ 9:32 AM
User since 7/20/09
I feel it probably goes a little deeper than the state regulations because they only refer to state properties from what I can tell.  Which makes sense, its a state entity to begin with.  They list out various state lands, then the everything else bucket is still other state lands not listed.  For instance when they talk about other properties north of 64, what they listed out for rules does not match the Federal land rules.  County forest, paper mill, etc can all have different rules.

That being said I agree any stand left on any publicly hunt-able land is fair game.  I would never do it myself as I think its a jerk move, but say I did hunt someone's stand....if they showed up, I would get down and go somewhere else.  Especially if the guy told me he was there to remove it.  I just think the whole idea is dumb though.  When hunting public, if I find a stand in an area I like, I determine where the deer typically come from and then hunt in that direction to cut the guy off haha.  That way I'm not staking my hunt on a stranger.

I also have not seen anything that says you need to make the stand accessible when you are not there.  If its a ladder stand, remove the bottom section and carry it out.  Or put something lockable across the seat.  People lock their ice shacks after all.
2/15/24 @ 9:09 AM
User since 2/28/13
gojuUser since 12/30/10
" Paper company land that is open to the public is private land for game law purposes. "

Can you please verify your statement ?  Personally, I would only trust a answer from a authoritative source, such as DNR warden, LEO, etc.

This incident apparently happened 20 years ago, the laws could have been different then.  If the managed forest  programs were in effect at that time, the paper company land could have been in a MFL OPEN program, which makes it public hunting even though it is privately owned. 
Unless something has changed, but if a hunting parcel is  enrolled in MFL open, a person does not need to ask permission to hunt it. Further, if there is a unoccupied treestand on the property, the person has the right use it. I don't believe a DNR warden would have any authority to demand the person exit the stand. 

Twenty years ago, and not knowing the particular circumstances, the OP should have not left his treestand on the property.  By doing so, he was taking a chance of not only this happening but it could have been easily stolen. 

On the other hand, should a person use a stand that he doesn't own, even though he has a legal right to do so ? 

To me, the right thing to do under this situation, would have been to come back after the hunter left, and then removed the stand. In todays world, a verbal confrontation could have led to a more serious situation. 

2/15/24 @ 9:08 AM
PRO MEMBER User since 6/13/06
Here is an easy solution everyone can live with.  Bring a hang on and some sticks, set it up, take it down, pack it out.  Nobody sits in anyone's stand but their own.  Nobody has to bother any other hunter.  Nobody gets to claim their own spot.  Nobody has to worry about their personal property being stolen, wrecked, or sat in.  If you hauled a ladder stand in, there is no reason why you can't haul in a climber or a hang on...they are lighter and more packable.  
2/15/24 @ 4:04 AM
User since 12/30/10
OneFineDay,  The incident you are referring to involved someone who had repeatedly been caught on several plots of private land.  
Paper company land that is open to the public is private land for game law purposes.  In the same way your private land would not change status to public if you gave someone permission to hunt on it.  

IMHO, the guy sitting in another person's stand is a jerk.  It is within the limits of the law to do so but it is still wrong.  My opinion carries no weight with the wardens. 
2/14/24 @ 10:07 PM
User since 3/15/08
For the comments about it being public land,how is this different than climbing inside someone’s fishing shack if they ain’t using it.  The lake is public property just like the woods is.  I’ve never hunted out of someone’s stand but when I find one I climb up in it to get a better lay of the land.
2/14/24 @ 7:45 PM
Rattle em up
User since 4/19/21
I remember asking a warden at my sons hunter safety program about duck blinds on public land and he said they are first come first serve. Very sticky point but I avoided the best spot on the lake just to find the group that fabricated the blind not to even show up to hunt.  Of course by the time I noticed they were not there I was already setup somewhere else.
2/14/24 @ 7:17 PM
User since 7/22/12
Didn’t this same type of situation result in a shooting resulting in a hunters death many years ago in NW Wisconsin?   
2/14/24 @ 7:04 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 1/22/21
If you don’t want other people using your stuff, don’t leave it out there! Because you know some people have 0 ethics, and will use your stuff. Some might even take it. 
2/14/24 @ 6:51 PM
User since 2/6/19
For 20 years this has been on your conscience?!

It's public land for the purposes of this question/issue.  First come, first served.  Come back and remove it when it's not occupied.  Easy solution and the proper and ethical thing to do.

Shouldn't have even approached or talked to them and just let them hunt in peace.  Do you also ruin other hunter's hunts on public land by going up to them and talking to them when you see them legally hunting where you want to be?
2/14/24 @ 4:48 PM
User since 1/7/02
The land where the stand was placed is private property open to the public to hunt. In this case it is legal to leave the stand overnight. There may not be a legal law written to cover such a situation as this. There is nothing to say that the hunter couldn’t have placed his own stand in that area or ground sat and expect privacy in his hunt as being first come first served. However that hunter showed poor judgment by sitting in another hunters stand and even poorer judgment if he refused to leave when the stand owner came to remove it. This would compare to having an ice shack out on the ice and finding it occupied by someone else, getting to your duck blind on public property, which is legal to have, and finding someone else in it, having someone fishing off your raft, which can be legally placed on some river systems or someone coming and sitting on your dock or pier to fish. There would also be a liability issue should someone else use your stand and hurt themselves in a fall or stand failure. 
2/14/24 @ 4:36 PM
PRO MEMBER User since 6/13/06
Turkey, you stated:  The stand or car doesn't belong to him - period.  Anyone who thinks it would be ok to sit in it is an a-hole. 

I think this is a case where you really don't understand the law and you are making up what you believe to be true based on your own beliefs and values.

First of all, sitting in someone's stand and not getting out of it is not theft just as someone sitting in my car in Walmart and not taking or not getting out of it is also not theft.  Second, if you look at the underlined section in 4., it says these stands may be occupied and used.  That means by anyone.  This is taken directly from the Wisconsin Statutes.  Third, why is it inconvenient for the original OP to not get his stand back when he wants but yet the person's hunt who he ruined is not inconvenienced?  Maybe the person ​sitting in the stand drove 2 hours to hunt there just like the OP did?  

Here is the legislature that explains what is legal and what is not:  Look at subpoints 1-4.

NR 45.09  Firearms and hunting.
(1)  No person may take, catch, kill, hunt, trap, or pursue any wild animal or bird in any fish hatchery, state campground, picnic area, or other area not open to hunting or trapping.
Note: State park hunting and trapping closures authorized under s. 29.089, Stats. are established on property maps that may be obtained on the DNR website (dnr.wi.gov) keyword “hunting state parks". Additional closures of designated use areas may also be established by posted notice. Hunting and trapping closures may be limited to certain species and seasons. See also s. NR 10.275.
(2) Except for blinds used exclusively for waterfowl hunting as provided in s. 29.327 (2), Stats., and s. NR 10.12 (12), and except for blinds constructed entirely of dead vegetation found on the property, no person may do any of the following:
(a) Except as provided in subds. 1. to 4., construct, occupy, place, or use any elevated or ground blind or other elevated device except:
1. On any land open to hunting not identified in subds. 2. or 3., portable tree stands and blinds may remain placed only during the daily timeframe beginning one hour prior to, and ending one hour after, the shooting hours established in s. NR 10.06.
2. On any land not part of the state park system, open to hunting and located north of State Highway 64, portable tree stands and blinds may remain placed throughout the timeframe beginning September 1 and ending January 31.

3. On any land that is part of the state park system, open to hunting, and located north of State Highway 64, portable tree stands and blinds may remain placed throughout the timeframe beginning seven days prior to, and ending seven days after, an established fall hunting period.
4. Portable tree stands and blinds may be occupied and used while lawfully placed under subds. 1. to 3.

2/14/24 @ 4:14 PM
User since 10/3/12
You can be amiable and tell him thats your stand or you can request that he get out of your stand. If he refuses then thats where your interaction ends.  Forcing him out would get your ass in legal grass. You dont have many choices in that situation. Harrassment of any kind wouldnt get you far. And with some people having hair trigger issues best to keep the ego under control and on the low end of the emotion spectrum. 
2/14/24 @ 4:11 PM
User since 2/14/08
Is it lawful to leave an unattended deer stand on public property "up north"?  Say overnight?
is it lawful to leave an unattended deer stand on papermill land? Overnight?
The reason I ask, at one point, not too long ago, it was illegal to leave an unattended deer stand, overnight, especially in the southern part of the state.  And if you left them during the day, for lunch or what not, you had to put your name or dnr # on it to identify it was yours.  I know they talked about changing that, especially for people up north, so not sure where that stands right now. 
I for one oppose leaving any elevated stands, climbing sticks / aids, etc, overnight on public property.  
2/14/24 @ 3:52 PM
User since 8/28/11
It wouldn't matter if it was there for 5 minutes or 5 years.  The stand or car doesn't belong to him - period.  Anyone who thinks it would be ok to sit in it is an a-hole.  Not hunter harassment if you're scouting or just taking a nature hike.
Displaying 46 to 60 of 67 posts
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