Wisconsin’s long time ban on deer hunting at night will be reconsidered by a federal district judge.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up an appeal from the state DNR, which wanted to keep the ban in place. The justices’ decision means that Madison Federal Judge Barbara Crabb will have to re-open her 1991 decision which upheld the nighttime ban.
Chippewa Indians in northern Wisconsin have tried for years to get the okay to hunt deer after dark. In their latest lawsuit in 2012, the tribe noted that the state has allowed other types of night hunting — including the wolf hunt for a year, and night time deer hunting to slow the spread of chronic wasting disease. Despite that, Judge Crabb ruled that circumstances had not changed enough since 1991 to reopen her ruling against night hunting.
The tribes appealed that decision and won. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago said deer hunting has become much safer over the last 20 years, and night hunting was no longer likely to cause major problems.
In a statement, DNR spokesman Bill Cosh said “We are disappointed in the decision and will be working with the Wisconsin Department of Justice on next steps.”