Leaving gear unattended

Discussion in 'General Bushcraft Discussion' started by Nickt123, Jul 17, 2019.

  1. Nickt123

    Nickt123 Tracker

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    Hey all, I have a question for you all.
    I plan on doing a hunting outing this fall in which I plan to camp for multiple days untill I'm able to score a deer from a large state forest not far from where I live..

    I would plan to set up a stationary camp which would be my base of operations to rest and hunt in dawn and dusk.

    Being a solo kinda guy, I would be leaving my camp (and expensive gear) for hours at a time.
    So my problem is that I'm paranoid that someone will mess with my setup, destroying or stealing my equipment.

    I've had people destroy natural shelters that I have created before.

    To combat this I plan on making my site in a pretty thick area of young early successional forest that is about as remote as I can get in my area and is very thick and hard to see through.
    I'm still worried about other people as during hunting season the forest can get some people wandering around.

    I've thought about printing a sheet of paper saying "this tent is not abandoned I'm nearby and will return soon"
    Just to inform people that it's not an abandoned setup.

    What do you guys do to keep people from finding your site when leaving for a couple of hours?
     
  2. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    I regularly leave gear in camp when dispersing to do some hiking/fishing. Never had problems with people stealing or messing with it. I have considered the possibility, though.

    A different perspective on destroying the natural shelter: Most public lands have rules against leaving standing shelters, even when made with natural materials. Some people disassemble unattended shelters they come across as a service (I would probably do the same, like I do with knocking over rock cairns). It may not be ill-intention.
     
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  3. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    That sorta thing makes me nervous. Maybe a trip wire set to an air horn or an addendum to the note that says "lazer dots may not always be observable" or you may not see me, but my crosshairs can see you."

    A couple of transmitting, GPS enabled trail cams could be used. Another addendum could be "Camp area under surveillance, smile for the camera".
     
  4. ExAF1N1

    ExAF1N1 Member of a small but fierce tribe. LB-42 Supporter

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    Put it in a place that no one has a reason to go there besides you. My 2 cents.
     
  5. AdamD1776

    AdamD1776 Scout

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    I'm pretty sure this is why your natural shelters have been destroyed. Even if its not against the rules, I could see someone disassembling it thinking its not allowed, or that it is un-used and they are "cleaning up" after you.

    As far as making sure it isn't tampered with, just make sure it looks like it is in use. I don't think many people would mess with a camp if it looks like the owner may return at any moment. If it looks like it hasn't been touched in days or weeks, I could see it being mistaken for an abandoned camp.
     
  6. perrymk

    perrymk Supporter Supporter

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    I'm not a fan of threats but the "not abandoned" sign sounds like a good idea. You could always set up a hunter camera also.

    Locks only keep out honest people but if it's practical lock up what you can. Most coolers even come with a spot to lock them. Wrap a cable around a tree and it's as secure as its going to be.

    When I was self-shuttling a hike by bicycle and car I would leave a note on my bicycle and my car with my anticipated date of return. More than one cop thanked me for that as they knew it wasn't abandoned.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  7. Beach Hiker

    Beach Hiker LB 42 Supporter

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    I sometimes pack my tent and hide it. My gear is mostly on me.
    I set the tent back up when I get back....
     
  8. central joe

    central joe Wait For Me!! Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    In over 50 years I've never had a problem. I have left items in the woods and state parks for a day trip. I did put gear in a tent or under cover. Maybe I'm just lucky. joe
     
  9. M.Hatfield

    M.Hatfield Midnight Joker #42 Lifetime Supporter

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    This is always what I try and do. Depending on the location, it is easier said than done.
     
  10. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Yep. The "cleaning up" motivation is likely behind it. I think that cleaning up a site means that everything should be disassembled when you leave, so I certainly see how others would have that mindset. I certainly can't blame someone for trying to clean up the wilderness.
     
  11. MrFixIt

    MrFixIt Old Jarhead LB#42 Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    A clean and organized camps helps as well.
    I’ve come across camps that looked like a trash heap and reported them.
    Other camps were organized and passed by.
     
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  12. Nickt123

    Nickt123 Tracker

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    I can certainly sympathize with people who want to clean up the forest aswell and that's why I wasn't too upset about the wreckage.
    Although I never left anything in the woods that I didnt pack out, all shelters were created with 100% forest material and left neat without any trash.

    These were simple lean-to setups that I'm referring to, just seems mean to knock it over if its clean and un invasive.

    But I guess your main point was that if those same people came across a camp that was clearly still in use and not abandoned, its likely that they would leave it alone which I agree.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  13. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    An un attended camp is always a worry of mine. Most times the worry is unfounded, but you never know who could find your spot and what their intentions might be. Some people like to steal and that's just the fact of the matter.

    I would make my camp in a low key/highly obscured spot like you are already thinking and I'd also leave a note like you've mentioned. It wouldn't hurt to add "I'm watching you ;)" at the bottom of the note either.

    I've used sniper's vials to hide my packs and guns at bush camps too or when I've left a heavy pack behind to fish stretches of a stream.
     
  14. mjh

    mjh Supporter Supporter

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    Everything that can or should be locked up, should be locked up. A lived in camp should be noticeable but not a garbage dump. I my area bears can be an issue so there are critter reasons to secure your camp. Honest people will pass on by, no issues. If you really cannot loose something it should not be in camp or secure as good a possible in a vehicle/lock box. Come to mind some construction site lock boxes are pretty hard to get into and when full pretty hard to move.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  15. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Not trying to start a different discussion here, but this goes back to the "leave no trace" ethics we discussed previously (it got just a little heated, and I don't want to rehash that here). People have different definitions of "noninvasive", too.

    In the mind of many, the ethical thing to not leave any trash OR standing shelters (even if they are 100% forest material). I sympathize with this thinking, and think that it is most respectful and responsible to leave no standing natural shelters whatsoever (even a simple brush lean-to).

    I'm just trying to say that I would probably knock it over, but certainly not because I was trying to be mean. You can disagree about the outdoor ethics, but it's hard to blame someone for going through with what they believe is the most responsible way to treat public land.
     
  16. Jim L.

    Jim L. Guide

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    It could be I'm getting cranky in my old fartery. :33:
     
  17. Nickt123

    Nickt123 Tracker

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    You know, I dont disagree with you here
    I guess I just envy people that own their own land and are able to build what they like.
     
  18. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    Also, hanging a skull or skulls (animal or human) around your camp will help deter other humans from milling around your spot. :18:
     
  19. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Heed the call. Supporter

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    whenever I leave my hunting camp unattended I put all the expensive stuff in a lightweight green sack and Chuck it in the bushes near by so if they do rifle through my stuff they won't find the good stuff...
     
  20. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    You and me both!
     
  21. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Or wearing them on your face. I hear that scares people away, too :dblthumb:
     
  22. Duncsquatch

    Duncsquatch Heed the call. Supporter

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    Or you could go the natural way and just pee on literally everything you own...
     
  23. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    I have an unfounded phobia about leaving my gear unattended. I’ve hiked days and dozens of miles back into wilderness areas and not seen a soul besides the buddy I was with and still been paranoid when leaving the lean-to/campsite that my stuff will be gone or destroyed when I come back.

    I don’t know why, it’s never happened to me or anyone I know, but it’s always in the back of my mind when I leave camp for significant lengths of time. I start picturing in my head having to hike (or paddle) back out with no shelter and little to no food.

    Totally unfounded, totally in my head, and I know it.

    The sign idea that this is an occupied camp doesn’t sound like a bad idea. But I’d probably leave out my anticipated return time. That just lets the thieves know how long they have and can really take their time, lol. ;)
     
  24. Wildcat Creek

    Wildcat Creek Tracker

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    In my neck of the woods there are homeless, and outlaws avoiding jail time out roaming the wilder areas on both government and private lands. We either carry everything with us and keep it close or find somebody to be a camp tender while we are out and about.
    If you leave your gear in camp with a note, you have much more faith in humanity than I do.
     
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  25. Wasp

    Wasp DOWN IN DIXIE Supporter

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    Awesome suggestion. Has it worked for you in the past? If not you could always go to the next extreme. :confused:

    I too put my expensive stuff with me. I have found a hole in a briar thicket before and covered it with leaves.
     
  26. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Admittedly snickered out loud at this one.
     
  27. sons of scotland

    sons of scotland Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    first buy a battery powered radio and play when you are gone just loud enough to hear 10 feet or so from your camp. next bring a 2nd pair of boots and leave them right in front of your tent like it is being occupied. and last, hunt where you can still see your tent. i see more deer around my camp sometimes then i think when i am actually hunting them.:33: 40 plus years of doing this exact setup, so good so far.
     
  28. Primordial

    Primordial MOA #40 Supporter

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    I've peed around deer that I've shot and recovered if I had to leave the carcass and come back to it. Not sure if it does anything, but I haven't had one get eaten on me yet.
     
  29. CoolBreeze135

    CoolBreeze135 Scholarly Woodsman

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    Clever idea, but there's no way I'm adding the extra weight of a radio and a second pair of boots to my pack when I hike several miles to camp (and I usually do).
     
  30. Tdr

    Tdr Scout

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    I've worried about the same thing on canoeing base camp trips heading out to explore or go fishing.
    I guess your always taking a chance .
    It actually has affected the way I packed and made me cut down on the amount and cost of gear that I take.
    Anything that is costly to replace or can get me home goes with me if I'm going to be gone for a while.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  31. sons of scotland

    sons of scotland Supporter Supporter Bushclass I

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    i do here ya on the weight. i have an old small transistor radio that weighs next to nothing, and a 2nd pair of boots has came in real handy during wet and winter camps. i have swapped out dry boots and socks around camp on more than a few occasions. most of my camps in wayne n.f. are less than a mile from where i park so weight is not an issue.
     
  32. 1773

    1773 Supporter Supporter

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    I guess I have just been fortunate but in the 40 plus years I have been camping, I have never had anything messed with by people while I was away from camp, this includes camps in the backcountry and camps right beside the road. Now the next time I go I may get cleaned out but I really don't worry about leaving my camp gear unattended. I obviously secure valuables and the areas where I generally camp have food storage regulations in effect so food is also properly stored but lanterns, sleeping bags, cots etc are just left in place. I don't worry about it, I would think being concerned about my gear constantly while I was away hunting, fishing or exploring would take the joy out of the trip and I would probably just day trip.
     
  33. Seeker

    Seeker Woods Bum Supporter Bushclass I

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    One of the things I really like about remote canoe trips is that as soon as you get over a portage, the type of folks you encounter changes... two portages in yields another type. And by the time you're 3 portages in, it's pretty much all "straight" folks who aren't going to steal your stuff, even if just because they'd have to carry it out, and have their own work to do.

    I've never had anyone mess with my stuff, mostly because of the remoteness. and even if i'm not necessarily 'remote', i really like camping 'off trail' a ways, which helps too.
     
  34. perrymk

    perrymk Supporter Supporter

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    I am of the opinion that criminals are going to do what they’re going to do, sign or not. Honest people and law enforcement might be inclined to leave it alone, or maybe pay attention is one is past the return date.
     
  35. Andy 315

    Andy 315 Supporter Supporter

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    I am always nervous as well. Have had thieves take stuff out of the shower stall while taking a shower. Another time, car camping again, had at thief steal a friend's silverware. ???? I guess that goes with car camping maybe.
     
  36. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Slow learner Lifetime Supporter Bushclass I

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    This is why I choose earth toned gear and tarps. It's easier to stay under the radar if you choose to, and you can stash your pack under leaves or branches. You just have to make sure you know how to find it again. I've also set trip wires that let me know someone has been there.
     
  37. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    True enough.

    With regards to law enforcement and wellness checks, the majority of the places I’ve done any lengthy canoeing or backpacking in had a sign in/out log at the trailhead where you included contact info and how many days you planned to be out. I guess so that they know when to send out a search party.

    But those are on established trails/routes and doesn’t pertain to public lands without established trails and I can’t speak to whether that’s the case all over or just a NY, PA thing.
     
  38. chndlr04

    chndlr04 roughian #2 Supporter

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    Couldn’t leave my stuff alone unless I needed to make a run to the bathroom. If I knowingly am going to walk away from my campsite. All of my stuff gets packed up which is an advantage of minimal camping. Too much experience in stolen items through the years. With my current kit, it all packs up in minutes
     
  39. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    During hunting season I think you should expect people to find your campsite.

    The items to bring are same as when backpacking plus the rifle and binoc’s. I have never had issue with leaving my tent, sleeping bag, and stove and coming back later in the evening.

    No one really wants to carry stuff especially when they’re hunting. If someone steals it then that’s unfortunate but I would be surprised.

    I’ve been hunting in what I thought was remote and everyday had a few thru hikers walk near my camp.

    Expect to see others, hopefully they’re good people. Staying home isn’t an option so go and enjoy yourself!
     
  40. DKR

    DKR Guide

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    Old military saying... Any gear adrift is a gift.

    I do not leave gear by itself.
     
  41. mtwarden

    mtwarden roaming the Big Sky Supporter

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    OR you could setup your camp 10-12 miles back w/ a 2-3000' gain to get to it- that's always worked for me :D
     
  42. CaliforniaCanuck

    CaliforniaCanuck Guide

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    Nothing better than a 12 mile hike to the truck with your gear AND a DEER on your back!
     
  43. gohammergo

    gohammergo I like sharp things.... Supporter Bushcraft Friend

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    Blend in the camp as much as possible. The less attention it draws the better.

    Also putting gear in a tent, and using a small padlock on the zippers. Obviously it wouldn't stop a thief, but it might stop someone who might otherwise have "sticky fingers" and would grab a few things if they were left out.

    The note is a great idea too. I would leave a note saying something like, " Dad, I am out gathering firewood, if you hear something moving around in the woods, don't shoot at it like you did last time. Be back soon." If someone stumbled on this, I think it would definitely give them something to think about?
     
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  44. oathkeeper762

    oathkeeper762 Bushbum & PT Wanderer Supporter Bushcraft Friend Bushclass I

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    Having had some gear stolen in the Davey Crockett NF a decade or so ago, I still haven’t been able to let it go. We were camped off trail, almost a mile from the nearest logging road at the time. Since then, I’ve carried three perimeter alarm devices with me that utilize shotgun primers and/or .22 blanks and trip wires. As @Seeker mentioned, I use camo or earth tone tarps & hammock and always camp off trail using terrain and natural cover to my advantage.

    In the decade since, I’ve only had 3 occasions where my trip wires were hit, and I camp and hunt a lot! Once by three deer, once by a buddy who decided to surprise us by joining us at camp after dark, and once by a forest ranger in Oklahoma that said I just took 5 years off his life expectancy since it scared him so badly! I was worried for a minute on that one that we might be in trouble, but after my Brother made him promise not to market them, he gave him one of our latest and lightest designs and everyone left happy.

    In all three cases, the device scared the crap out of the perp or critter, and us for that matter, but all proved to be quite effective. When all is quite in the woods, and it’s dark, you’d be surprised how loud a primer or blank sounds. I switched to hammocks almost exclusively about 15 years ago but I always felt a little vulnerable at night while sleeping. The perimeter security makes me rest easier at night, and when I’m away from camp, I at least feel better about leaving my gear. YMMV.
     
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  45. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    I don’t know if it is a NY thing, but growing up in Queens where we had items literally bolted down still get stolen changes your outlook on things forever. I could be in one of the safest areas and still worry. Forget about when I do visit family back home, always checking and worrying. As to camp things, I would make sure I have the most important items always with me. Sometimes you just need to take a leap of faith and hope it will be there when you return. We do that when we camp.
     
  46. HeadyBrew

    HeadyBrew Fully vaccinated Supporter

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    You know that brings up an interesting point - I’m generally an optimist and usually look for the best in humanity while still recognizing that there are low life’s abound. And I firmly believe and have faith that the majority of folks that are out enjoying the woods are the type that would never consider messing with another persons camp.

    But I’ve had my car broken into and essentially cleaned out when I lived in the city. I’ll never forget the feeling of being violated and this feeling like the car didn’t even belong to me anymore. While the two are totally unrelated, I wonder if finding yourself in that sort of situation just creates that sort of unconscious base fear that if it happened once, it’ll happen again somehow.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
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  47. ANFwoodsman

    ANFwoodsman Supporter Supporter

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    Years ago I bought a backpack lock. It was a flexible braided wire mesh that wrapped around your backpack and cinched up with a heavier steel wire. You could then lock your pack to a tree, pole, hostel bunk, etc.

    It wasn't completely thief proof, but would make someone work for it. I bought it for traveling and backpacking when I wanted to be able to go into town or be a tourist without carrying everything. I would wrap my pack in a tarp, then wrap the pack lock around that.

    In the woods I tried to hide the locked pack.

    It wasn't light. Think it weighed over a pound. Came in handy several times. Haven't used it in years though.
     
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  48. JAY

    JAY Guide

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    Being a minimalist has it's advantage. I carry my gear if going any great distance, and it's all earth tone. I even leave a large dog water bowl next to the truck at the trail head.
     
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  49. anrkst6973

    anrkst6973 Supporter Supporter

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    You and I must know the same "people". I've had one camp destroyed/vandalized with the perps using a tool to pry open a food box and puncture the cans, (why IDk?) (DCNF-Neches river) and one truck broken into vandalized and actually shot several times with a 22LR. (Hwy bridge crossing Neches just west of Alto. I don't go farther from my gear/camp than cat sanitation range. :(
     
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  50. Bitterroot Native

    Bitterroot Native Indigenous Skills Junkie

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    Set up your camp and leave that note you spoke of. Leave a little bit of less expensive gear at camp then take the rest of your gear a good distance from camp and "cache" it. Bury it under sticks, brush, and debris or stuff it in a stump or log. Whatever it takes to hide it well. Shouldn't have any issues with someone finding it. If someone does come and raid your camp they will get the decoy gear instead of the real goods.

    I'm in the same boat! I'm a minimalist who only has gear in earth tone colors, nothing bright for me!
     
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