Q: In the span of 8 hours something attacked our maple tree. The bark is shredded off. I was gone all day and found it in this state when I got home.
A: It’s gotta be a squirrel doing the dirty deed. There are lots of young ones scurrying about right now. They are all looking desperately for something to eat and the sweet sap of a maple tree is mighty tempting!
Sadly, your tree may not survive. The bare trunk looks like it was almost completely girdled. Use a razor knife to remove any loose pieces. Don’t put tar on the wound but do spray it with garden insecticide (click for sources) occasionally.
You could decide to plant a new tree now if you promise to water it through July-Aug.
Otherwise wait for the best planting season: fall.