I spent four days last week representing Pennsylvania Outdoor News at the Greater Philadelphia Outdoor Show. It is a task I enjoy immensely, because beyond securing renewals and new subscribers, I get to chat with hundreds of visitors from all walks of life united by the common thread of loving the outdoors.
On one of those days a courteous older gentleman asked me a question about a new proposal Pennsylvania Game commissioners will vote on at their April meeting. His question was in reference to the coming requirement to attach identification tags to treestands and ground blinds on federal, state and private land by their owners.
He simply asked, “As a land owner, must I, too, tag my own treestand?”
At first, I thought it a silly question, but thinking about it for a few seconds, I realized it was not.
This whole idea of tagging stands is a good one, so far as I’m concerned. I feel that way because on two different occasions I was hunting on state game lands when I walked under hunters who were perched in stands well above me.
What made those episodes so distasteful for me was the fact that the stands were permanent contraptions hammered into trees. The indignity angrily expressed by the two guys sitting in their unsightly constructions at my closely passing near them only added to my disgust.
I realize that building a stand on public land is illegal, but I do see enough of the ladder sort of stands and some “lock-on types” that seem to have been hugging the trees where they are located for a number of seasons straight without removal, which is, of course, the reason for the proposal in the first place.
It also makes sense to require other stands – those on private property – to be tagged, just in case a land owner does not know the stand's owner.
As for an answer to this gentleman’s question, I simply told him that since he would have to be the one contacting Game Commission personnel regarding a stand with an unknown owner, he would certainly be able to identify to these people his own stand, and therefore no tag would be necessary.
As for those who do leave stands in the woods there is another option. Do as I do – carry a portable in to hunt, and take it out – on your back, when you leave.
The exercise is good for your well-being.