October 25, 2014

Deer shining lawsuit due in court

A federal judge is scheduled to hear arguments today on whether six Chippewa Indian tribes can hunt for deer at night in much of northern Wisconsin.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a night time deer hunt last month in places where the Chippewa have exercised off-reservation treaty rights since the 19th century. But Judge Barbara Crabb of Madison blocked the use of deer shining until she could hold a hearing on a challenge filed by the state Department of Natural Resources.

Crabb is the same judge who rejected a similar night time Indian hunt in 1989. Back then, she agreed with the DNR that it poses a safety risk and ruled that the state’s ban on night time deer hunting also applied to the tribes. But the tribes say those concerns are moot, because the state allowed wolf hunters to shoot at night during their inaugural season which began in mid-October.

The Chippewa also say they need the deer for food and put strict training requirements in place to certify hunters taking part in the season. The Indian Fish and Wildlife agency authorized the special hunt to run from November 26th through January 6th.