Tribes consider deer hunting at night
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A commission that oversees Chippewa tribes’ off-reservation rights on Wednesday quietly authorized night deer hunting across most of the northern third of Wisconsin.
Sue Erickson, spokeswoman for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, told The Associated Press that the commission issued the authorization but that the state’s six Chippewa tribes must approve the plan before it can take effect.
The Wisconsin Department of Natural resources plans to file a federal lawsuit to block the order, DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said. She said her agency is worried that night deer hunting is too dangerous and that the tribes don’t have the right to allow it.
The Chippewa tribes run their own deer hunt, which generally lasts from September until early January, in the so-called ceded territory, roughly 22,400 square miles in northern Wisconsin that the tribes handed over to the government in the 1800s.
Erickson said the commission felt that night deer hunting was justified because state legislation permits wolf hunting at night.
“If the DNR deems that safe, why is it not safe for the tribes to do it?” she said.
Stepp said the commission was negotiating with the state on night deer hunting but suddenly decided to step outside the process and unilaterally issue authorization.
Tensions have been running high between the DNR and the commission since September, when the commission authorized a tribal elk hunt despite DNR contentions that the group had to reach a consensus with the agency first.