(WFRV) – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is cautioning hunters to avoid placing deer stands in or near ash trees this deer season as they start scouting properties.

According to a release, most ash trees in the southern half of Wisconsin, Door County, and the Mississippi River counties are dead or dying from emerald ash borer infestation.

Ash Tree Leaf
Ash Tree Leaf

Although emerald ash borer is not as widespread in other parts of Wisconsin, the invasive insect continues to be found at additional locations throughout the state and unreported infestations are likely.

Tree stand accidents can occur due to dead ash trees and are the leading cause of serious injuries to deer hunters. According to the DNR, research shows one in four bowhunters have experienced a fall or near-fall from an elevated stand.

DNR officials say it is important to place and maintain tree stands carefully, as trees infested with emerald ash borer may unexpectedly snap or drop large branches. Hunters should be cautious around ash trees when on the ground as well, especially in windy conditions as branches and stems can easily break.

Click here to sign up for the Local 5 Community Newsletter

Ash trees can be identified through two key features: opposite branching patterns where two branches come off the main stem directly across from each other and compound leaves with 5-11 leaflets.

For more information about the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, you can visit its website here.