"Hunting shacks on stilts" annoy St. Louis County officials


For some hunters, it seems the fall Minnesota mornings spent shivering in a tiny, rickety deer stand are a thing of the past.

St. Louis County officials are having trouble with the concept of hunting "mansions," or deer stands with shingled roofs, insulation, carpeting, lounge chairs, and the occasional generator, the Duluth News Tribune reported.

"We're getting overbuilt," St. Louis County Land Commissioner Bob Krepps said. "We're seeing mansions out there - basically hunting shacks on stilts."

Hunters can do what they wish on their own private land, but Krepps said state-owned land makes up nearly a million acres of county forest. The land, which is supposed to be open for all hunters, is being inappropriately claimed by hunters who expand on their hunting posts.

One deer stand was approximately 18 feet wide by 20 feet long. County officials said it looked more like a cabin.

"A lot of these cross the line of what's appropriate," Krepps said. "If I'm out walking and come across one of these buildings on posts, am I going to feel welcome to hunt there? Probably not. And if I do, there's likely to be a fight. That shouldn't happen on land that belongs to everyone."

While traditional stands, often made of 2-by-4's and a couple of nails, are left in the woods to rot, amenities to the new-age structures like stairways, decks, commercial windows, and propane heaters have officials worried that they will have a negative effect on the environment too.

Jason Meyer, a forest manager for St. Louis County, said materials like plastic and metal aren't biodegradable "and really leave a mess in the woods."

If any deer stand, big or small, is on public land, everyone should be able to use it. However, that isn't the case with these hunting cabins suspended in the trees.

"They lock the doors when they leave," Krepps said. 

Another growing concern is hunters planting clover and other farm crops to attract deer.

On top of the act being much like baiting deer -- which is illegal in Minnesota -- county officials said hunters could be spreading invasive species as well.

"We're just not going to tolerate these at all," Krepps said. "We're going to rip them out."

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