Tree-stand mansions dot the forests

Can you really call yourself a hunter if you have to sprawl in your deer-stand McMansion waiting for a buck to stroll by?

Like this one:

St. Louis County Land and Minerals Department

That’s the most egregious example of a developing problem, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Hunters want their comfort.

St. Louis County is cracking down on the “shacks,” which often include stairways, roofs, generators, lights, heaters and windows, the paper says.

Hunters were also cutting down trees to get a better shot, and planting crops nearby to attract deer.

Very sporting, fellas.

County officials are being nice about it, saying hunters probably don’t know the rules on the county-managed land. Any stands with roof or walls have to be disassembled by the end of the year.

County officials say they are staying clear of the ethical issue of hunting from inside what is essentially a building — the fair chase debate — but they do feel a stake in the ethics and legality of claiming public land for private use.

“If they’ve built this elaborate deer stand are they going to be territorial about allowing other people in their area? Probably,” Meyer noted.

The county has drawn a line on what will be tolerated without banning constructed stands altogether.

“We aren’t against hunting. We aren’t even against deer stands. But we don’t want these big, unauthorized buildings in the woods,” (deputy county land commissioner Jason) Meyer said. “So I think we’ve found a middle ground everyone can live with.”

The DNR, meanwhile, is mulling banning permanent stands in state forests but may seek legislative action to do so, and that wouldn’t take effect until 2017.

The St. Cloud Times, meanwhile, is a little more impressed by the construction, profiling one man who’s soaked $15,000 into a deer stand that’s so large it needed a building permit.