Trial to start in Wis. tribal night deer hunt case

A federal trial to determine whether Chippewa tribes can hunt deer at night across northern Wisconsin is set to begin.

The state Department of Natural Resources has long banned hunting deer at night out of safety concerns. The Chippewa agreed to abide by the prohibition when they were hashing out hunting and fishing rights in front of U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb two decades ago.

The tribes contend circumstances have changed, noting the DNR allowed night deer hunting to contain chronic wasting disease and let hunters to go after wolves at night this past fall. The DNR still maintains the tribes’ plan is too dangerous.

Crabb has scheduled a trial on whether to allow the tribes to go forward starting Monday. It’s expected to last at least a week.