stand to shootMike: I found a good spot hunted it regularly for 3 years without any problems. Last year, however, several new hunters to the land started coming into this area. I counted at least 4 tree stands set within 100 yards of mine. The closest guy put up a stand about 50 yards away, and he smoked out of it!

Have you ever had a situation like this? How would you handle it? I had several hunts ruined by these guys, and I want to have a more enjoyable bowhunting experience this year. Ryan in SD

Ryan: Yes, this has happened to me, and yes it is frustrating.

First let me say that sometimes a guy hanging a stand too close to yours is an honest mistake because an empty lock-on is tough to see in the woods, especially when the leaves are on as they are now.

One time I scouted a great spot, hung a stand and left. When I came back the next morning somebody hissed in the dark, “What’s up?” I damn near jumped out of my skin and fell off the tree steps! The guy was in a tree 20 yards away, 30 feet up! I was the one who had inadvertently moved in on the guy. I apologized, told him I never saw his stand and left. Miracle the guy didn’t cuss me out.

But in Ryan’s case those guys knew he was there hunting, and they still hunted in those stands so nearby. That is just wrong and extremely poor etiquette—-the good and classy hunter never moves in on another man’s stand.

Ryan has 3 options this year:

Confront those clowns and say he, Ryan, was in that area first, and please go away. I do not advise this because any type of confrontation in the woods is a bad thing for everybody.

Go over to one of them before the season and say something like, “Did you guys realize I had a stand right in this area? I’ve been hunting here for years, and you’re really pretty close. I don’t feel safe or comfortable.” (This would be my second choice.)

But, I advise Ryan to pull his stand and let those guys have the spot. The way they are acting, hunting too close together and smoking on stand, they will mess up the area and spook a bunch of deer anyhow.

Ryan, and all of us, would feel better and safer pulling that stand, leaving and going to hunt a new spot a half-mile or more away from those other guys. You’ll have more fun, feel more comfortable and be more confident of shooting a buck.