By Bill McNee, forest health specialist, Bill.McNee@wisconsin.gov, 920-360-0942 and Andrea Diss-Torrance, invasive forest insects program coordinator, Andrea.DissTorrance@wisconsin.gov, 608-264-9247
Hunters should avoid placing tree stands in or near ash trees, especially in the southern half of Wisconsin, the Mississippi River region and in Door County. Many ash trees in these areas are dead or dying from attack by emerald ash borer (EAB), becoming weaker and more likely to break even with little to no added weight.
Since tree stand accidents are the leading cause of serious injury for deer hunters, ash trees should be avoided due to their higher likelihood of safety hazards. Regardless of the species, hunters should always be careful when placing and maintaining tree stands during hunting season.
Infested or dead ash trees are not as structurally strong as healthy trees, so they are not safe for deer stands. This time of year, it can be hard to tell if a tree is infested by EAB, although significant woodpecker damage on a tree is a likely sign. As a precaution, deer stands should be placed in non-ash trees even where ash trees are available and appear healthy. Hunters are also urged to be careful around ash trees while on foot, especially in windy conditions.
For information about EAB and where the insect has been detected, visit the DNR emerald ash borer webpage.