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Isham: Night Hunting Decision About Sovereignty


A northern Wisconsin Native American leader says the recent federal court decision permitting tribal members to hunt deer at night has sovereignty at its core.

Lac Courte Oreilles Band Of Lake Superior Chippewa Chairman Michael Isham, Jr. is also Chair of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission. He says Judge Barbara Crabb's decision authorizing the hunt was more about tribal treaty rights than simply hunting deer at night....

"...giving our members a better opportunity to harvest in a safe manner. That's for us to decide. The state somehow felt they could over rule us. To me, it's not an issue of hunting at night, it's an issue of sovereignty...."

He says up until a while ago, the tribes regularly met with the state to talk about regulations, but more recently, he says the relationship has soured, resulting in more litigation...

"....we were using what was called the Voigt Stipulation Process. Now it seems like everything has to go go court, even though we can show through data, particularly through the night hunt issue how our plan was safe...."

The DNR said tribal night hunting brought up safety issues, though the DNR had authorized night hunting for wolves in 2012. Crabb agreed with the tribal arguments that safety was addressed and the tribes could night hunt in the Ceded Territories where earlier rulings had determined the tribes rights to hunt, fish and gather off reservation.

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