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How to Protect Your Gear on Public Land

Brodie Swisher

hunting public land

Public land hunting has come a long way over the years. There was a time when public land was seemingly frowned upon. It was the place you went when times were hard, and you had no other option. A lot of hunters referred to public land with all the scorn and shame they could muster. It was the leftover land for anyone that could not afford a hunting club, lease, or have friends or family with land. 

However, public land hunting has changed over the last decade. No longer do hunters feel limited to hunting public-owned grounds. They now take great pride in hunting the lands that are open to anybody. Many seem to think it is a badge of honor to say that you are a public land hunter. A number of YouTube channels and social media trends have now made public land hunting the cool thing to do. 

How long will the trend last? Who knows? The important thing to keep in mind is that with more hunters hitting public ground than ever before, the need to keep your gear and goods protected from theft is at an all-time high. It is hard to comprehend how one hunter would steal from another, but it happens every year. Here is a look at how to protect your gear on public land this season. 

Lock It Up

treestand master lock

Protecting your gear from thieves can be a hassle. It’s easy to neglect the issue, simply assuming it won’t happen to you. However, a thief will strike when you least expect it. Sadly, in the world we are living in these days, you just cannot slack off on protecting your gear.

How do you do it? The key is to lock it up. 

The main gear items that go missing for public land hunters are treestands and trail cameras. It happens every season. Sometimes they are moved out of spite by hunters that feel they were the first to claim the area. They are angry that someone else has found their spot, so they pull the stand down, or vandalize it to the point of being unusable. In many cases, a security lock would have deterred the theft or harassment of your gear. There is a number of options when it comes to locks for your stand. The team at Master Lock has ample options, from key locks, combination locks, keypad locks and even bluetooth options to meet most any preference or need. 

Trail cameras are another hot item among thieves. Whether the thief is grabbing the camera out of fear of their image being captured, or they simply want to claim the camera as their own, cameras quickly and easily disappear every season. Much like with treestands, you can slow these criminals down with a cable and lock on your trail camera as well. 

checking trail camera

Other items you may consider locking up when hunting public land are: trailers, game carts, mountain bikes, e-Bikes, boats, canoes, and kayaks. 

Blend It In

Another thing to keep in mind when it comes to protecting your gear from would-be thieves is to go out of your way to help blend your gear into the landscape. Trail cameras, treestands, game carts, and bikes can all be better blended with the addition of vinyl camo skins or a wrap in your favorite Mossy Oak camo pattern to help you go undetected from the eyes of a thief.

But you can also pay closer attention to where you place or leave your gear. Avoid open areas along a trail that make for quick and easy access opportunities for a potential thief. Use natural brush, or cut limbs and branches to help break up and blend in your gear when left in the woods.  

Keep It Close

ebike at treestand

When hunting by kayak, boat, or bike, keep these vehicles close enough that you can keep an eye on them throughout the duration of your hunt. E-bikes and kayaks, particularly, allow you to ride right to your hunting location with minimal noise. 

It helps cut down on the foot traffic and ground scent left behind, but it also allows you to keep a visual on your gear so you can prevent any unwanted guests from sabotaging your ride.

Be More Subtle

Hunters can easily help reduce the amount of theft on public land gear by being more subtle in their approach to hunting on land open to public access. Careless social media posts can be the death of many public land honey-holes, but they can also key the local hunters into where you’ve likely got some great hunting gear stashed in the woods. 

Be more cautious this hunting season. Be more subtle in what you share. Watch where you park your vehicle. Is there a more inconspicuous place to park? Even if it means a longer walk, hiding your vehicle may be just the trick to help deter a thief.

Take the necessary steps to make sure your gear doesn’t go missing this season when hunting on public land. Lock it up, blend it in, keep it close, and be more subtle in how you publicize your whereabouts while hunting public land. These simple steps might be just enough to deter a thief and protect your gear throughout the deer season. 


Mossy Oak Store deer hunting

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