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6 tribes sue Wisconsin to try to stop November wolf hunt

Six Native American tribes are suing Wisconsin to try to stop its planned wolf hunt in November

9/22/2021 8:13:00 AM

Six Native American tribes sue to stop a state's wolf hunt they say violates their treaty rights and endangers an animal they consider sacred.

Six Native American tribes are suing Wisconsin to try to stop its planned wolf hunt in November

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The Chippewa tribes say treaties give them rights to half of the wolf quota in territory they ceded to the United States in the mid-1800s. But rather than hunt wolves, the tribes want to protect them.The tribal lawsuit comes three weeks after a coalition of wildlife advocacy groups sued to stop Wisconsin’s wolf hunt this fall and void a state law mandating annual hunts, arguing that the statutes don’t give wildlife managers any leeway to consider population estimates.

Hunters blew past their limit during a court-ordered hunt in February. The state Department of Natural Resources set the quota at 119, but hunters killed 218 wolves in just four days, forcing an early end to the season.Conservationists then deluged the department with requests to cancel this fall's hunt out of concerns it could devastate the wolf population. Agency biologists recommended setting the fall quota at 130. But the agency’s board last month set the kill limit at 300. The tribes have claimed their half, but since they won't hunt wolves, the working quota for state-licensed hunters would be 150. The lawsuit alleges the board's decision to set the quota at 300 was a deliberate move to nullify the tribes' share and was not based on science.

The DNR’s latest estimates put Wisconsin's wolf population at roughly 1,000. Opponents say hunters probably killed at least a quarter of the population if poaching is included.“In our treaty rights, we’re supposed to share with the state 50-50 in our resources and we’re feeling that we’re not getting our due diligence because of the slaughter of wolves in February,” John Johnson Sr., president of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, said in a statement announcing the lawsuit.

The Ojibwe word for “wolf” is Ma’iingan, and the Indigenous people of the Great Lakes region often call themselves Anishinaabe. The wolf holds a sacred place in their creation story."To the Anishinaabe, the Ma’iingan are our brothers. The legends and stories tell us as brothers we walk hand in hand together. What happens to the Ma’iingan happens to humanity,” Marvin Defoe, an official and elder with Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, said in the statement.

Hunters, farmers and conservationists have been fighting over how to manage Wisconsin's wolves. Farmers say wolves kill livestock, while hunters are looking for another species to stalk.The six tribes are represented by Earthjustice, which is one of several groups that are suing the federal government over the Trump administration’s decision last November to lift Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves across most of the U.S. and return management authority to the states.

Gray wolves in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan are considered part of the western Great Lakes population, which is managed separately from wolves in western states. The Biden administration last Wednesday said federal protections may need to be restored for western wolves because Republican-backed state laws have made it much easier to kill the predators. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's initial determination that western wolves could again be imperiled launched a yearlong biological review.

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The Native Americans' relationship with wolves is almost sacred. They believed that God roamed the earth in the form of wolves. They believe that anything that befell the resident wolfpack would affect the tribe too. Hopefully they will win Yes!!!!! The Republican groups pushing the hunt mostly don't even hunt. Maybe one in five has spent any time in the woods. Fred Prehn's (R) power grab at DNR is a sign of things to come.

Leave the goddamn wolves alone. If it is not on tribal land they have no case give lands back Those of us in northern Wisconsin will continue to eliminate the ones we see as a threat jean_mumford Protect the wolves. They balance our ecosystem and do not attack humans. If you are a rancher or farmer you know you’re going to lose a few to nature. Whether it’s tomatoes or a elderly or young from a ranch. They reduce deer and therefore Lyme disease.

Native American tribes sue Wisconsin in effort to protect wolves from planned huntThe Chippewa tribes claim the planned hunt violates a treaty signed in the mid-1800s and endangers an animal that the tribes consider sacred.

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