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Justice Dept. urges court to uphold ban on nighttime deer hunts

Deer at night
Deer at night

UNDATED (WSAU-Wheeler News)  The state Justice Department told a federal appeals court yesterday why it should not let Chippewa Indians hunt deer at night in northern Wisconsin. Six Chippewa tribes failed to convince Federal Judge Barbara Crabb to re-consider her decision from 1991 which banned night hunting in the territory where the Chippewa have had hunting-and-fishing treaty rights for centuries. The tribes asked the Seventh Circuit appeals court in Chicago earlier this year to force Crabb to re-open the matter. Crabb cited the D-N-R's safety concerns in rejecting the night deer hunting. But the Chippewa say it's an excuse that no longer applies, because the state allowed wolf hunters to shoot at night -- and the state has imposed night hunting to protect crops, prevent car-deer collisions, and prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease in the deer herd.

Judge Crabb said the night wolf hunting only lasted for one year before lawmakers cut it off. The Justice Department said the state has used night hunting for decades to solve various problems, and nothing has changed.

The state's legal brief points out that the general public has not been allowed to hunt deer at night since 1989.

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