Wisconsin’s Chippewa say they’re confident that an appeals court ruling last week will open the door to safe and responsible night hunting in ceded territory.
The Wisconsin DNR hasn’t allowed deer hunting at night outside of reservation boundaries, and a federal judge has twice upheld the restriction out of concern for public safety. But last week an appeals court in Chicago ruled the opposite and sent the case back to U.S. District Court, saying the state hasn’t provided proof that night hunting is dangerous.
The state’s six Chippewa tribes are again waiting to hear whether a federal judge will allow tribal members to hunt deer at night in the ceded territory.
The issue was first in the courts more than twenty years ago, and in 1991 a judge ruled that the traditional practice of hunting deer by night would be too dangerous for the public in off-reservation lands.
One of Wisconsin’s tribal leaders is expressing disappointment at last week’s federal ruling against night hunting.
Six Chippewa tribes had filed suit, arguing that night hunting in ceded territory is a federally protected treaty right. But Judge Barbara Crabb ruled against the practice Friday, citing a risk to the public.
Lac du Flambeau Chairman Tom Maulson says it’s a traditional practice that hasn’t resulted in any incidents.
A federal judge says Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes cannot hunt deer at night. Judge Barbara Crabb issued the decision today, saying night hunting of deer is not protected by treaty rights because of a risk to public safety.
Chippewa tribal members have been allowed to hunt wolves at night. They have argued that members should also be allowed to hunt white-tailed deer after dark.
But the DNR disagrees. DNR Attorney Quinn Williams says today’s decision protects public safety.