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Tribes ask federal court to allow night deer hunt
Six northern Wisconsin Ojibwe tribes have asked the U.S. District Court to prevent the state from stopping their night deer hunt. Mike Simonson reports from Superior.
The injunction asks that the state back off their opposition to the night deer hunt. The hunt began Monday night but the tribes have not issued any hunting permits yet.
Simply put, the tribes say the Department of Natural Resources itself set precedent for a night hunt of wolves statewide and deer in the Chronic Wasting Disease Zone. Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Sue Erickson says this shouldn’t be a big deal.
“So the tribes are questioning why this is now regarded as a public safety issue if the tribes want to institute night hunting.”
So last Wednesday, GLIFWC issued an order allowing the night deer hunt. The DNR and Wisconsin Department of Justice responded swiftly that same day. In separate releases within one hour of each other, the state called it illegal and dangerous.
Erickson says another factor important to the tribes but seldom mentioned is that this night hunt is for gathering food for families in the ceded territory, an area with high unemployment on the six reservations.
“Which points to the need for just plain subsistence hunting, fishing, gathering, food-on-the-table.”
DNR spokesman Bill Cosh says they are still reviewing the documents and are not ready to comment on the injunction.
Meanwhile, 74 tribal hunters have passed certification programs and are eligible for night hunting licenses, but GLIFWC says no permits have been granted yet. Erickson says it is on a day-to-day basis.
A pre-trial conference call is set for Wednesday between attorneys and U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb.
Joining in the injunction are the Ojibwe bands of Red Cliff, Bad River, Lac Courte Oreilles, Sokaogon Community of Mole Lake, St. Croix and Lac du Flambeau.
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