Do Not Put Your Tree Stand On My Tree

The Tree Stand after I took it down.

I haven’t been in our back woods since the weeds grew taller than me, over growing the path this summer.

But this morning seemed like the perfect time to return, since the grasses are beginning to die back.  They were still way over my head, but not as thick and easy to push down under my feet.

The dogs ran head of me.  Gus didn’t pause going over the Gulley Bridge for the first time and tunneling thought the tall weeds.

We came to the little waterfall, with barely a trickle of water sliding down the rocks and sat on the bench by the stream.  Then I went to the place where last spring I took down the big metal tree stand that a hunter had put on our property without our permission.

The last thing I expected to see was the same Tree Stand back on the tree.

But there it was.

In the spring, when we first took the Tree Stand down and left it in the woods,  I learned from our neighbors and friends, who are hunters, that since it was put on our property without our permission, it essentially became ours.  It’s a small town and Jon had written about it on his blog, so I assumed whoever put the Tree Stand up  heard that we took it down and would come and get it. Or at least when they came back to hunt again and saw it lying on the ground they would take it away.

We even had one hunter knock on  our door saying he took the Tree Stand and apologized for putting it up. (Apparently there were two Tree Stands on the property)

When I saw the Tree Stand this morning, I felt my heart start to pound and a heat rise up in my body.   I was furious.

I texted Jon, who was on his way to the eye doctor, that the Tree Stand was back and I was going to take it down.  He said I could wait for him to come home and he’d help.

But I couldn’t wait.  I was like the mother who lifts up her car to save her kid who’s trapped underneath it.

I had done it once before,  I knew just how to take the Tree Stand down.

I called the dogs and walked quickly through the woods and back to the house.  I put the cable cutters and a knife in a bag, put the 16-foot aluminum extension ladder on my shoulder and called for Fate to come with me.

Once in the woods, I extended the ladder all the way and leaned it against the tree behind the Tree Stand.   I had the bag with the knife and the cable cutters on my should.  From the top of the ladder I called down to Fate and had her lie down between the tree and the ladder so she would be out of the way when the Tree Stand fell.

I snipped the cable which locked the Tree Stand to the tree and cut the ratchet straps with the knife.

The Tree Stand was an elaborate one.  At the top it had  a four-foot long metal seat with a cushion, surrounded on three sides by more metal with enough room for two men to sit and/or stand.  It was skirted with heavy camouflage material.  A long metal ladder led up to it.

The tree stand didn’t fall away from the tree when I released it.  I had to push it as I stood on the top of the ladder.  It took me a few tries before it toppled to the ground.  It was loud and heavy, but Fate didn’t move an inch, until I told her it was okay.

The Tree Stand was four separate pieces, held together by pins.   I used the cable cutters as a hammer to separate the sections, three four-foot pieces of ladder and the seat and it’s surrounds.

The seat area probably  weighed as much as me.  It was big and cumbersome.  So I rolled it head over heals, down the hill and through the woods, across the pastures through the gate and into the backyard.

As I made two more trips back into the woods to get the rest of the Tree Stand and my tools, my angry energy kept pace with me.

I thought of the anger that flared up in me two days ago, that anger of a life time of putting up with the sexist, verbal and emotional abuse of so many men.  And in protecting and defending my tree and my woods from this trespass, it was as if I was finally protecting and defending myself too.

And the action of doing it all, the spent energy was healing and empowering at the same time.

Back at the house, I took the seat and surround apart so  I could fit it into the hatchback of my Toyota Yaris.  I somehow got the whole Tree Stand in my car and took it to the dump.

When Jon got home we put Posted signs on the tree where the Tree Stand was and along the perimeter of the property.

I don’t have a problem with hunters, as long as they’re ethical.  And I know the signs won’t keep most of  them off our property.  But as I was hanging them,  I felt a little like Gus  when he lifted his leg and peed on the stone wall that is our property line.

I was being very clear about what’s mine and what can’t be done without my permission.


25 thoughts on “Do Not Put Your Tree Stand On My Tree

  1. while i admit to worrying about your doing a job best safely done with two people
    i applaud how you used your postive anger to right a wrong.
    while reading your post two thoughts came to my mind..
    a strong warrior woman protecting the trees and a ( rightfully so ) ticked off mamma bear. thanks for sharing this with us.

  2. Good for you taking your stand against the tree stand, how inconsiderate these hunters are to erect something on your property without permission.

  3. I wish I’d been there. And I hope you know how much you have empowered and inspired me—and so many other women!—in the last few weeks. Thank you.

  4. Just my $0.02: I really wish you’d sold the tree stand for scrap metal and used the money to buy the POSTED PROPERTY signs. (But I do enjoy that kind of circle.) I’m glad you took it to the dump, though. You posted the tree where the stand was mounted, I hope.

    1. Emilie, It’s easy to come up with ideas about what someone “should” do after the fact. I was honesty really annoyed when I read your comment. I found it patronizing. If you read my piece carefully, you would know that I did post sign on the tree the Stand was on. And something I didn’t mention our “Dump” is actually a recycling center, complete with a scrap metal bin. But even if I chose to let it rust in the woods and not post the tree, that’s my choice and your opinions and hopes are not helpful.

  5. As a hunter, I would like to apologize for the behavior of those trespassing. I can assure that not all of us behave that way. I hate seeing situations like this because it makes all of us look bad. In today’s society, we receive enough scrutiny as it is. The general assumption by those who do not hunt is that we are all blood thirsty rednecks. As with any group, there are bad apples. Unfortunately, they always seem to be the ones garnering attention. There are many of us who are very respectful and ethical people. For those of us trying to separate ourselves I would like to say again, I’m sorry for their disrespectful behavior.

    1. Troy, I know many very responsible and ethical hunters. This is not about them. We have given permission to our neighbor to hunt on our property. I believe hunting is often more humane than the way many of our animals are raised for food in this country. Thank you for your comment.

  6. Just a voice from a hunter in Massachusetts I don’t need permission to go in to any property that is not posted no trespassing and expect a tree stand so long as I don’t cut or inset any metal into the tree and I would be very upset if my strap on ladder stand that causes no harm to the tree was stolen from where I put it

    1. That may be the way it is in Massachusetts Mike, but around here people don’t hunt on other people land with permission. And it is common knowledge of all the hunters I talked to, and there were many, that if someone puts a tree stand on your property without permission the person whose property it’s on has the right to take it down. This was not only intrusive, by an eyesore on my property all year round, chained to my tree. And the hunter had almost a whole year to take the tree stand back and put it someplace else.

  7. BRAVO Maria! I remember my Dad firing up the chainsaw when a hunter refused to leave his tree stand after Dad confronted him. The trespasser moved prettty quickly at that point. Makes me giggle to this day!

  8. Wow, Maria, its amazing what can be done with the energy of anger. You have every right to take down and haul away a tree stand put on your property without permission. Hunt on your own damn land if you want to shoot deer. The gall! Not to mention the danger to the dogs if the hunter/s were up there drinking alcohol and mistook Fate or Red for a deer.

  9. Maria-I am an avid hunter, and a landowner to boot. When I read about problems caused by “thug” hunters such as the one you are dealing with I find it embarrassing and distressing. I believe that the majority of people who hunt are both moral and ethical. I don’t know about the laws in Massachusetts, but I remember the way the laws used to be in my home state of Mississippi. The statutes here used to require all land be posted with signs placed every 100 feet. These criminals simply removed the signs or ignored them. The law was changed years ago-all land is now posted. Trespassing is trespassing, regardless of the law. Anyone who hides behind a statute that says private property must be legally posted with signs placed is a disrespectful person who lacks ethics and moral compass. My land (320 acres) has been in my family since 1830, and when some thug trespasses I feel just as angry as I would be if that person entered my bedroom without permission. Unfortunately there are some sorry excuses for humanity out here who hunt-and I’m just sorry that your life has been negatively affected by them. I applaud you!

  10. Mike is an idiot who doesn’t know the law! You cannot put your tee stand on someone else’s property because it’s not posted. Land does not have to be posted to be private land. You are ignorant, and part f a group of individuals who don’t give a shit about anyone, but yourself, so you ignore, laws, and rules to do what pleases you.

  11. Forgot to say, when she lived in North Dakota, my yoga student’s German shepherd was shot and killed by hunters who were illegally hunting on her land. Many hunters are very responsible, but some will shoot at anything.

  12. I’m a hunter myself and a land owner…I applaud you and encourage you to take more walks…The type of hunter that does that to your land without your permission sickens me because that is not how the majority of hunters are…keep patrolling your land and keep it posted with signs…I’ll back you every time!!!

  13. Dear Maria, YOU GO, GIRL!! YEAH, YAHOO, BRAVO!! I’ve been in NC for two weeks again, babysitting my grandchildren while their parents were both on business trips, and how I LOVE CATCHING UP ON YOUR BLOG!! YOU ARE AN EXCITING, IMPRESSIVE, ROLE MODEL OF A WOMAN!! I am so honored to know you thru your writing and your art!! Annie

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