By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Authorities in Wisconsin are investigating after a number of deer stands were vandalized ahead of hunting season.

Since August, at least 10 deer stands in northern Wisconsin have been targeted by vandals. The radical group the Animal Liberation Front, or ALF, has taken credit on its website for some of the attacks. The ALF is a decentralized animal rights group that seeks to liberate animals from farms, research facilities and the sights of hunters.

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Back in September, ALF posted pictures of some of the Wisconsin vandalism, showing damaged stands spray-painted with the tag “ALF.” On its website, the group boasted, “We destroyed 10 hunting towers to kick things off,” and, “striking at those who murder our non-human relatives feels meaningful and is f—— fun.”

Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald made pictures of an attack in his county public as a warning to local deer hunters.

“It’s just a way of life in northwestern Wisconsin,” Sheriff Fitzgerald said. “There’s ways to protest and get your message out there, but damage and vandalism is not one of the ways we are going to put up with.”

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Attacks have been documented in three western Wisconsin counties, including Barron, Dunn and St. Croix — some with different kinds of damage.

“They have shaved off the legs, so when you get in it falls, and people are going to get injured, or worse, killed,” Fitzgerald said.

Since many deer hunters erect their stands in the warmth of summer or early fall, some damaged stands are just now being discovered.
Law enforcement advises if you do discover damage to call 911. They say to take pictures before you clean up and do repairs.

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Anyone with information on the vandalism, which included the destruction of trail cams, is encouraged to leave anonymous tips here.

Esme Murphy