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Tree stands are structures used to hunt game--often deer or turkeys--from an elevated vantage point. Tree stands are not necessarily constructed in trees. Some tree stands are free-standing structures. Others are platforms or seats placed in a tree or other high structure. Regulations governing the use of tree stands vary from state to state. Check the regulations for the area in which you plan to use the tree stand.
In many states, permanent deer stands are not allowed on public property. Some allow temporary deer stands. States usually designate a date for the earliest a deer stand can be erected and a deadline for taking it down. They typically can be put up in August or September and must be taken down in late winter, often in February. Some states allow only overnight placement. If a state does allow permanent deer stands, the deer stands usually are considered public property and, as such, can be used by anyone.
Most states have specific guidelines for how a deer stand can be attached to a tree. For example, South Dakota allows one T-bolt to be screwed into the tree to anchor the deer stand and allows temporary steps to be attached to the tree to provide access. Some states, such as Minnesota, have different regulations for different designations of public property. For example, in wildlife management areas and state parks that allow hunting, portable tree stands are allowed. In scientific and natural areas open to hunting, portable tree stands are allowed but cannot damage the tree or surrounding vegetation and must be removed at the close of hunting each day.
Labeling and Safety
Most states require the tree stands left on public property to be clearly labeled with the owner's name and address. They also require that the label be clear enough and large enough to be read from the ground. Most states do not have regulations for safety guidelines for tree stands, but most strongly suggest tree stand users follow basic safety protocol. This involves wearing a harness and safety line when off the ground, using a rope to pull up equipment rather than climbing with it, having three points of contact before moving and following a hunting plan or hunting with someone else.
- deer image by Carol Wingert from Fotolia.com