Authorities in central Minnesota are investigating a bizarre crime that involved a tree stand, a damaged hardwood, and a thief who’s dumber than your average vandal. The crime was summarized in a Nov. 14 report from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
Judging from the evidence at the scene, conservation officers believe the suspect was attempting to steal a tree stand that was set up on public land in Crow Wing County. Because the stand was locked to the tree, the suspect used a chainsaw to try and take the whole kit and caboodle. As they cut into the trunk, however, the weight of the falling tree compressed on the bar of their chainsaw, pinching it solidly in place. The suspect was then forced to leave their saw in the tree, where it was eventually found by the hunter who owned the stand.
“The morning hunt was ruined for the tree stand owner,” the DNR reports, “and the county sheriff’s office is investigating the theft attempt.”
The Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and the status of their investigation remains unclear. It’s also unknown if there was any photographic or video evidence of the attempted theft. Trail cameras are legal on public land in Minnesota, but if there were any cameras in the immediate area, chances are slim they were pointed toward the tree stand.
The fine seems a little light-handed in this instance, however, since messing with someone’s tree stand can have disastrous (and even fatal) consequences. Besides, the thief could buy a new gas-powered chainsaw for less than that, and they’d still have some money left over for a few felling wedges—which, if used properly, would have kept their saw from getting pinched in the first place.
The fact that the hunter went through the trouble of locking their stand to the tree also suggests that stealing and sabotaging tree stands is becoming more of a regular occurrence in the deer woods. This is confirmed in other media reports, and several hunting forums have entire threads devoted to it.
Sadly, the most recent incident is another reminder that there are plenty of dishonest thieves out there. And plenty of dumb ones, too.