Environment | Law | Opinion

Column: A big battle over a little deer hunt by Wisconsin tribes





"There's a big dispute in federal court in Madison over whether American Indian tribes in Wisconsin should be allowed to use lights to kill deer at night outside the reservations.

They should -- but that is not what is important.

Lots of people think it is. Any time you mention "treaty rights" in Wisconsin, you can be sure there is going to be a fight, an enormous and bitter one. Think "spearfishing" if you doubt it.

In the current dispute, about 60 affidavits and exhibits and briefs have been filed by either the tribes or the Department of Natural Resources this month alone.

I have read most of the filings and, were I the federal judge in the case (I know, thank God I am not), I know exactly what I would say to the dozens and dozens of tribal members, state bureaucrats and attorneys immersed in the controversy:

Really? We're here about some venison?"

Get the Story:
Mike Nichols: Legal fight about American Indians hunting deer is off target (The St. Paul Pioneer Press 12/1)

Related Stories:
Wisconsin tribes put a hold on night deer hunting amid lawsuit (11/29)
Wisconsin Ojibwe tribes stir controversy with night deer hunt (11/27)