Abandoned Tree Stand?

Discussion in 'General Hunting' started by Envied1, Oct 11, 2016.

  1. Envied1

    Envied1 Fawn

    Oct 11, 2016
    This is going to be long, so I apologize in advance.

    Aug of 2015 I bought 17 acres in Western Kentucky to turn into a horse farm. When I bought the property there were 2 tree stands out in the back field. I checked for identifers and saw none but left them there because I didn't want to deal with taking them down until I was ready to plant and seed and bushhog the fields.

    Sep of 2015 a guy in a tractor showed up at my property, after a few minutes it turned out he had an agreement with the previous land owner that if he kept the fields maintained that he could hunt them each year. Now mind you the fields were full of pig weed up over my head and so no way was he maintaining them all year but thinking I would save myself a few hundred bucks hiring someone to come bushhog the field I allowed him to come bushhog it and told him that once he shot his deer that would be the end of it because I was going to be fencing the property off and turning horses out there.

    He shot his buck the opening day of Rifle season. I never saw or heard from him again, fast forward to this summer, I cut down trees, plowed up the land, planted grass, fenced it off, turned it into a horse pasture, and took the stands to the dump. They were not fancy ones just some homemade ones.

    Last month he showed up at my house while my husband was here, asking if he could hunt. My husband curtly told him no, that he was told last year he would not be allowed to hunt here and to "get the hell off our land"

    2 weeks ago I get a call from the sheriffs department stating that the guy was in the office asking to see if he could have his tree stands back. I told the officer that no because I had removed them in April and hauled them to the dump, officer said no problem that he would inform the guy and that this was a civil matter not criminal.

    Today I receive a certified letter from him threatening me that if I don't return these stands him that he will take me court.

    I have tried to look up the abandoned property laws etc but have not found any that would go with this scenario. Back last year he never said that those were his stands, the former owners were hunters as well and because there were no identifying markers on these stands I cannot say one way or the other whos stands they were. I cannot even ask the previous owner because he has passed away. Has this guy taken the stands with him last year after he shot his buck we wouldn't even be in this mess.

    I've scrolled through the forum and threads and most just say if it's left on the property then it's theirs (the landowners) and then some say that it's theft even if it is left behind.

    Just looking for a little law info here because regardless I know we will be going to court because I don't have his stands and haven't since this past April.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2016
  2. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch 12 pointer

    Nov 10, 2004
    Just go to court. He has no case. And it's a matter for small claims. You don't even need a lawyer. And him sending your a certified letter is just to scare you. Chances are the cost for him to file will be greater than the costs of the stands. Tell him to go pound sand.

    But if you have the option to reply beforehand, ask what proof he even has that they were owned by him and he was simply not just permitted to use them by the rightful owner/previous landowner.

    And if you go to court, just lay out your history of purchasing the land. You'll be fine. You owe him nothing.

    Also, when you purchased, was there a statement in something you signed that said the property was "free of all encumbrances"? That would mean it was free of anyone else having any claims to the property.
  3. DH13

    DH13 12 pointer

    Jan 13, 2012
    Shelby county
    You don't have any problem.Dont sweat it. You let him hunt after he mowed and told him when he kills his Deer it is over. He killed his Deer he should have come back and got his stands then. I just bought a farm in July. In the contract I signed and the seller signed IT READ once the paper is signed anything left at farm become property of the new owner. They are YOUR STANDS and YOURS TO DO WHAT YOU SEE FIT. Don't let him scare you.HE WILL LOSE IN COURT. Judge will throw it out once you tell him your story.
  4. ancienthunter

    ancienthunter 6 pointer

    Dec 25, 2011
    Over the Hill
    Well my 1st thought is wondering why your husband told him " get the hell off our land" doesn't seem the way to make neighbors unless he was being pushy and may have set the tone for the letter. Generally anything not removed within 30 days of time you take ownership becomes yours unless there is an agreement otherwise.
  5. Gioacchino

    Gioacchino 6 pointer

    Jan 20, 2016
    Northern Kentucky
    Let him take you to court, he doesn't have a case, in my opinion.
  6. littlebear

    littlebear 12 pointer

    Aug 21, 2007
    the woods
    Agree with others. He doesn't have a case. The guy is being a jerk and trying to scare you.
  7. Chad Smart

    Chad Smart Fawn

    Oct 11, 2016
    Not much he can do, will cost him more in filing fees than the stands are probably worth.
  8. WaterDog88

    WaterDog88 10 pointer

    Jul 28, 2008
    Tell him to go pound sand.
  9. Envied1

    Envied1 Fawn

    Oct 11, 2016
    Thank you, when we purchased the property it was free and clear of all liens and exuberances.

    The only reason we told him to get "the hell off our land" is because when we first took over the property he attempted to buy it off us, and he was pushy about it, and then went to degrading it and us stating the land and house wasn't worth much and that it would be to much for us to take care off and restore.

    The next door neighbors told us about how he used to take advantage of the previous owner due to his dementia. Such as not actually maintaining the fields and lying saying a tree was about to fall over and needed cut and he would take care of it for free when actually it was a nice walnut that he'd cut and sell to a veneer buyer, and not to mention I made it crystal clear there would be zero hunting here next year and then proceeded to show up anyway and apparently with corn in the pickup "just in case"

    Thanks again for the info. I didn't think he would actually have a case but thought I'd double check just to verify my suspicions.

    If it does end up going to court I'll be sure to post the outcome.
  10. kywallace69

    kywallace69 12 pointer

    Aug 18, 2008
    Zone 1
    I leased a property several years ago, during the summer the land was sold and I had no idea. I returned in September to start getting things ready for hunting, and found out. The new landowner told me those are his stands since this is now his property. I had the best of the best. $2k in top notch stands and feeders and such. The new owner told me to leave and not set foot on the property again. I called the sheriffs office and they told me it was a civil matter much like you. So then I called my lawyer and he went to the judge and was told since the property changed hands and there was not a discloser in the lease aggrement, the new property owner would obtain all property including my property on the land. So, in general words, I got screwed. So, this person that was hunting has no recorse unless there was documentation of his stands on the property.
  11. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch 12 pointer

    Nov 10, 2004
    I wonder if you would have had any grounds to sue the original landowner?
  12. Jacobhwrd

    Jacobhwrd 6 pointer

    Jan 26, 2014
    Richmond, Ky
    He doesn't have a leg to stand on. We took a tree stand we found on our farm. Granted it was pointed to the other side but regardless it was on ours and we took it down and moved it to the other side of the farm and use it ourselves now. That guy is completely full of s***. He isn't willing to go to court for (at most) $200 worth of stands. He would spend more then that hiring a lawyer. He is trying to scare you because he is mad he messed up.
  13. Jacobhwrd

    Jacobhwrd 6 pointer

    Jan 26, 2014
    Richmond, Ky
    In a nutshell........no
  14. reivertom

    reivertom 12 pointer

    Dec 17, 2007
    Greenup Co.
    He's bluffing or crazy....take your pick. If he takes it to court, he's nuts because he will spend 10 times what the stands are worth to sue you and still won't have the stands back. The sad fact is there are people that do irrational stuff like this out of spite. He can't win this one and I will be surprised if any lawyer would even take his case unless they are as nuts as him.
  15. ptbrauch

    ptbrauch 12 pointer

    Nov 10, 2004
    I'm sure a lot of lawyers will take his case so long as he puts up the retainer fee. I mean, why not? What does the lawyer have to lose? He gets paid regardless of the outcome.

    However, I'm sure any suit brought forth would only fall into small claims court, where there are no lawyers involved.

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