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Judge says no to night hunting by Chippewa

The Great Lakes Indian Fish-and-Wildlife Commission says it won't give up its effort to let Chippewa Indians hunt deer at night in much of northern Wisconsin. Yesterday, Federal Judge Barbara Crabb said no to deer shining by six Chippewa tribes, where the Indians were given special hunting-and-fishing treaty rights centuries ago.

But Crabb said there was room for both the tribes and the DNR to negotiate an agreement - and she encouraged them to keep talking. Sue Erickson of the Indian Fish-and-Wildlife agency hopes there can be a night-time Indian deer hunt in 2013. DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp promised that the two sides would talk about it.

The Chippewa were critical of the state's current wolf hunting season, not only because the animals are precious to tribal heritage - but also because hunters were allowed to shoot them at night, after Crabb had rejected a night-time Indian deer hunt in 1989 due to the DNR's ongoing safety concerns. The Indian wildlife agency responded by calling a special night deer hunt from last November through early January. And it went to court after the state tried to hold it up. The season never did take place. Judge Crabb said the DNR had a right to challenge the Indian hunt, and she said the consequences of allowing it would have been quote "perilous" without a full explanation of the state's objections.