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Judge blocks Wisconsin tribe's night deer hunt pending hearing

  • November 29, 2012 - 7:21 AM

MADISON, WIS. - A federal judge on Wednesday blocked Wisconsin's Chippewa tribes from hunting deer at night for at least the next two weeks.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb issued the surprise ruling during what was scheduled as a telephone conference with state and tribal attorneys, said state Department of Natural Resources attorney Quinn Williams.

The judge said the DNR can enforce its long-standing ban on night deer hunting until Dec. 12, when the tribes and the state are due back in court for a hearing.

"It's a good result because it allows us to kind of take a pause and say 'hey, let's fully evaluate this activity before we allow it or don't allow it,'" Williams said.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which oversees the Chippewa's off-reservation rights, authorized tribal hunters last week to hunt deer after dark across the so-called ceded territory, a 22,400-acre swath of northern Wisconsin.

The Chippewa bands said they want to allow tribal members using lights "at the point of kill" to hunt deer at night -- arguing that the state allows wolf hunters to do so.

Great Lakes spokeswoman Sue Erickson said the commission will comply with Crabb's decision.

She said no hunters had requested a night permit as of Wednesday afternoon.

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