First, the bad news: Hunters are most often the culprits in cases of treestand theft. The good news is that it’s mostly a crime of opportunity.

“Most people aren’t going into the woods looking for treestands to steal,” says Treestand Manufacturers’ Association president John Louk. “They’re just in the area, and if they see one, sometimes they take it.”

The key to preventing theft is to make your stand difficult to steal. Here are three ways to do that.

Conceal It: Set your stand deep in the woods, away from heavily used trails and not in places where it’s easy to spot.

Lock It Up: Put a highly visible high-quality cable lock or a heavy log chain around each stand and attach it to the tree. If a thief finds your stand, you want him to be able to easily see that it is well secured.

Make It Inaccessible: After prepping your stand, remove the bottom two portions of the climbing sticks or ladder and take them with you. Doing this will not only deter a thief, but will prevent your climbing sticks or ladder from being stolen as well.

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