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:

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.

  • Rob

    Gotta be an Elmer Fudd joke in there somewhere …

  • Mike

    Some counties frown upon it, but then other towns/townships sell building permits for them? Seems to be a bit of a conflict of interest.

    • Well, a component of this is the counties are focusing on what’s built on COUNTY land. The state is concerned with what’s built on STATE land. Cities/towns are interested in what’s built on a PERSON’s land.

      • Mike

        I wonder if the DNR (reread the article an found the answer!) has a set of regulations for stands for both public and private property? It would seem that could bring different goverment levels together on how to manage the issue. Essentially the shacks on private property are cabins…

  • Kurt O

    Telling the hunters that they are being environmentally conscious by supporting the Tiny House movement to reduce energy and space usage may dissuade them from building big tree stands. Asking them to show their new homes on an HGTV show showing how small living is a true way to show that they are environmentalists would be public shaming.

    • Kassie

      Hunters are often the biggest environmentalists and conservationists. Not all of them, but a lot of them are. Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the like are created to protect wildlife and wildlife lands so hunters can continue to hunt.

      • Kurt O

        I have a hard time with the hunter as a conservationist concept. If they really wanted to help the environment they’d just stay home.

        • Erik Petersen

          Hunters pay for quite a bit more of conservation efforts than your eco-granola types.

          • Jerry

            Really depends on the hunter and the Eco-granola type.

          • Erik Petersen

            Its that its probably a fair statement that the 11% Pittman-Robertson excise taxes on gear/bullets paid by hunters dwarf the Pittman-Robertson taxes paid by the eco-granola types. That stuff goes towards conservation efforts. Hunters pay the freight there.

          • Kassie

            Hunters and eco-granola types can be one in the same.

          • Erik Petersen

            Analysis: true

          • Kurt O

            They could donate to the Audubon Society or Sierra Club and cooperate with granola eaters.

          • CHS

            Or they can donate to organizations like DU that aren’t overtly hostile to their lifestyle at worse, and ambivalent at best.

    • Kurt O

      I’m not good at transcribing my sarcasm. I apologize if my attempt at comedy wasn’t as funny as it sounded in my head. I’ve come up with a better sarcastic comparison to use:

      So, is this kinda like a “She Shed”?

      (I’ve been subjected to lots of HGTV lately).

  • Jack

    Assess property taxes as a non-homesteaded dwelling – that would stop this in a heartbeat.

    • It’s County managed land, not private property.

      The best way to stop this is to require stands to be removed each day and cause no permanent damage like in State WMA’s.

  • Erik Petersen

    I don’t think it’s necessary that deer be hunted in an extraordinarily sporting or ‘fair chase’ method. There’s a lot of them, they need a yearly culling. Obviously, there are certain indignities to which we’d not have the animal submit…. But shooting them from a walled, heated stand is not one of those indignities. That’s fine, certainly on private land.

    • Jerry

      I think at that point you would have to stop calling them sportsmen or hunters and find a different term for them.

      • Joe

        So if you are cold you are a sportsmen/hunter, but if you are warm then you are not? If we get a 70 degree day in late November do all the hunters stop being hunters?

        Or is it the walls that are an issue? How are they different from a blind? If your blind goes up higher than 4 ft than you are no longer a hunter? Is that the distinction?

        I’m curious about these arcane parts of the “true hunter” rulebook.

        • Erik Petersen

          I think I agree, a lot of this is non-hunters contriving up disapproval based on trivialities.

        • Jerry

          If you are shooting deer that you have baited from a chair in your cabin than you aren’t hunting, you’re just killing things. It’s about as sporting as shooting cows in a pasture.

          • Erik Petersen

            I don’t think we’re talking baiting at all. It’s illegal, though not for any heightened level of poor sportsmanship. It’s all somewhat arbitrary. How come we can bait fish? How come staking out a nice acorn tree to hunt deer under is ‘sporting’. How come it’s sporting to nail Mr. Big Buck during the rut when his senses are diminished?

            Deer are cows. Skinny cows.

          • Jerry

            So basically what your saying is you don’t like hunting, you just take pleasure in killing things.

  • Khatti

    My fondness for Bambi disappeared when I started raising oaks as a hobby. In addition I’ve hit three of them now with various cars; the last one was last winter. My folks and I encourage people to hunt our farm. The people who hunt on our property use tent-style blinds. As far as I knew there’s no showers or HDTV.