Tribal commission OKs night deer hunt
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A commission that oversees Chippewa tribes’ off-reservation rights quietly authorized tribal hunters on Wednesday to go after deer at night across much of northern Wisconsin, sparking another bitter clash with state wildlife officials.
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission issued the authorization for tribal hunters effective Monday, commission spokeswoman Sue Erickson told The Associated Press.
The state Department of Natural Resources prohibits hunting deer at night, contending the practice is too dangerous. But the commission argues that tribal members should be allowed to hunt deer at night since wolf hunters can go out after dark starting Monday.
The DNR quickly filed a motion in federal court Wednesday evening to block the authorization, accusing the commission of overstepping its authority.
DNR officials chafed at the commission’s decision to issue the authorization the night before Thanksgiving, complaining they have no time to warn people bullets could be flying around in the dark as early as Monday across a sprawling region known as the ceded territory.
“People will not be safe if tribal members are allowed to discharge high-powered firearms at night in the ceded territory,” Assistant Attorney General Diane Milligan, who is representing the DNR, wrote in the court motion.
The commission’s move marks another dicey chapter in the state’s relationship with the six Chippewa tribes in Wisconsin.