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Federal Judge Denies Night Hunting of Deer

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. 

“The Department has received Judge Crabb’s final judgement. We are going to spend the next few days fully reviewing that decision. Upon initial review, we’re pleased that Judge Crabb has clarified the law, in reaffirming that night hunting by members of the Chippewa tribe is still prohibited.”

Night hunting was denied over twenty years ago in a 1991 ruling, and the Lac Courte Oreilles tribe agreed not to appeal the decision. 

But in the most recent suit, six Ojibwe tribes argued circumstances have changed…citing the fact that DNR employees hunt deer at night to combat chronic wasting disease…and arguing that nighttime wolf hunting indicates it’s not necessarily a public safety risk to hunt after dark. 

Judge Crabb’s ruling denied that circumstances had changed significantly since the 1991 ruling.  

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