DEM asks hunters to remove their tree stands from state management areas

The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is asking hunters who have left their tree stands in state management areas to retrieve them. Since the end of deer hunting season, Environmental Police Officers have retrieved dozens of stands – from homemade, two-by-four lumber versions to store-bought equipment costing hundreds of dollars. Many of the stands lack identification.

By regulation, all tree stands on state lands must be removed by Feb. 15 annually. (Also, stands may not be placed before Aug. 15 annually.) Having given hunters a two-month grace period, DEM will take down unclaimed stands not removed by Sunday, April 16. The stands will be considered abandoned property and may be forfeited to the state.

“Our message is really simple: If you go out into the woods to hunt, don’t leave your gear behind,” said DEM Division of Law Enforcement Chief Dean Hoxsie. “DEM follows the Leave No Trace principles of the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and many major environmental groups. We ask hunters to respect the outdoor places that inspire them to go hunting in the first place, go back into the woods, remove their stands, and leave no trace.”

“Abandoned tree stands pose a public safety hazard, with falls from stands not only the most common accident experienced by Rhode Island hunters every year but also a threat to users of recreational areas in the hunting off-season,” said DEM Hunter Safety Education Coordinator Scott Travers. “Tree stands should not be left attached to a tree for more than a few weeks. Trees, even large trees, are growing and changing all the time and can become harmed if stands and straps are left attached for prolonged periods.”

Abandoned tree stands are eyesores, harm individual tress, and take opportunities away from ethical hunters. DEM reminds hunters that the construction and use of permanent tree stands is prohibited because it may damage trees and that the use of nails, spikes, bolts, or climbing devices also is prohibited. For more information, please refer to the hunting and trapping regulation guide.




Like Newport Buzz? We depend on the generosity of readers like you who support us, to help with our mission to keep you informed and entertained with local, independent news and content. We truly appreciate your trust and support!