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Chippewa, DNR meet with judge over nighttime deer hunt


UNDATED (WSAU)  Lawyers for the Chippewa Indians and the state D-N-R are scheduled to meet today with Federal Judge Barbara Crabb, to discuss the status of a lawsuit which seeks to stop the tribes from deer hunting at night. The judge could set a date to hear arguments in the D-N-R’s lawsuit.

The tribes say they want to exercise their centuries-old treaty rights to hunt-and-fish in much of northern Wisconsin – but the state says the night-time shootings will put motorists and others in danger. A Mole Lake tribal member received a night-time hunting permit from the Great Lakes Indian Fish-and-Wildlife Commission. But the agency revoked the permit yesterday, while the legal challenge proceeds. The tribal hunting was supposed to begin Monday, and the commission could not say when it might start.

In 1989 Judge Crabb ruled against a similar night-time tribal hunt – and she gave the D-N-R the power to regulate hunting statewide. Now, the tribes said the state opened the door to night-time deer hunting, when they approved the night-time hunting of wolves for the first time this year. That argument was part of the tribes’ response filed yesterday to the state’s lawsuit. The tribes also said they need the hunt to survive, as unemployment is up to 93-percent among some bands.