Chippewa tribe members can hunt deer at night starting next month.
A U.S. District Judge has passed a ruling that will allow members of a Wisconsin Chippewa tribe to hunt deer at night.
“We’re pretty excited about this opportunity,” Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission spokeswoman Sue Erickson told reporters.
“This is giving (the tribes) an expanded opportunity and it is part of their rights.”
It is not clear how many tribe members will be participating in the hunt just yet, but the decision made by Judge Barbara Crabb Tuesday goes into effect across northern Wisconsin next month.
The tribe has been trying to gain rights to night hunt on lands outside their reservations for years now. Crabb had ruled against them in 1991 and 2012. The Wisconsin DNR has also been against the idea due to safety concerns.
The tribe however, countered by citing the state didn’t have a problem with night wolf hunts and night hunting programs that were designed to reduce the spread of chronic wasting disease.
When the tribe brought the issue back up, they came prepared with new safety regulations to submit to the judge.
The judge approved the regulations under the conditions that hunters take a training course and demonstrate an ability to hit a bull’s eye from 100 yards in the dark. They must also submit shooting plans and make sure the spots they are hunting have earthen backstops.
Judge Crabb felt the regulations by the tribe are stricter than what the state requires for shooting of wolves and deer at night.
“Now with the benefit of 24 years of state experience with night hunting, the tribes have been able to show that the prohibition on off-reservation night deer hunting is no longer necessary for public safety purposes when properly regulated,” Crabb wrote.
Besides safety concerns, the state isn’t happy with the night hunt since it gives the Chippewa a hunting right not available to the general public. Crabb argued the hunt is a native right retained when the tribes handed land over to the government in the 1800s.