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The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Tom Venesky column
[November 28, 2012]

The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Tom Venesky column

Nov 28, 2012 (The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin's Chippewa tribes are trying to persuade a federal judge they have the right to hunt at night and the practice is safe.

The commission that oversees the tribes' off-reservation rights authorized tribal hunters to hunt deer after dark starting this week, provoking a legal battle with the state Department of Natural Resources, which prohibits night deer hunting out of safety concerns.

The tribes on Tuesday asked U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb to block the DNR from enforcing the prohibition on tribal hunters. The tribes argue they have the right to give their members more harvest opportunities, the state allows hunters to kill wolves at night and tribal hunters must meet stringent safety requirements to get night permits.

Night deer hunting for Wisconsin's Chippewa tribes began Monday evening, but a spokeswoman for the commission overseeing it said no hunters had obtained permits to participate.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which oversees the Chippewa's off-reservation treaty rights, authorized night hunting last week for tribal members who meet a number of safety requirements, including a marksmanship test. The decision drew sharp opposition from state officials, who said night deer hunting was too dangerous and have gone to court to stop it.

Treaties the Chippewa signed in the 1800s with the federal government reserved the tribes' right to hunt and fish in the so-called ceded territory, 22,400 acres across northern Wisconsin the tribes handed over to the government. A series of federal court decisions in the 1970s confirmed the tribes can hunt or fish as they wish in the territory as long as they don't endanger conservation efforts or public safety.

The tribes have been running their own deer hunts alongside the state seasons in northern Wisconsin for years, but night hunting has been a sticking point between the two sides.

The DNR has outlawed night hunting, saying hunters can't identify their targets or see what lies beyond them in the dark. The Chippewa tried in 1989 to convince a federal judge to allow tribal members to hunt deer at night, arguing the DNR permits night hunts for fox and coyote.

Pa.: Two die on opening day WINDBER -- A coroner says two hunters died of heart-related problems in southwestern Pennsylvania on the first day of deer rifle season.

Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller says 71-year-old Allen Webb, of Windber, died while setting up a tree stand just after dawn Monday in nearby Ogle Township. That's about 65 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Later Monday morning, 66-year-old Robert Georg, of Port Lt. Lucie, Fla. was stricken in the woods of Shade Township. He died a short time later at Windber Medical Center.

Maine: Hunter killed afield WALES, Maine -- The medical examiner says a 49-year-old Maine man who was killed in a hunting-related shooting died from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The Maine Medical Examiner's Office issued its conclusion following an autopsy on the body of Gerard Parent, who was killed on Nov. 20.

The Maine Warden Service says Parent was shot by Christopher Austin of Wales as they were hunting separately for the same deer. Austin fired two shots, while Parent fired one. The Portland Press Herald says the shooting was reported shortly before the state-required end of the hunting day.

Mark Belserene of the Maine Medical Examiner's Office said Monday that the death is classified as a homicide, meaning the death was caused by another person.

California: Blood dripping from SUV leads to poaching arrests SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. -- Blood dripping from the back of an SUV led to the arrest of two Sacramento men accused of illegally shooting a deer, then stabbing it to death in their vehicle when it suddenly came to and began to struggle.

The Tahoe Daily Tribune reports 46-year-old Scott Lee and 32-year-old Nai Saechao were arrested Nov. 18 on poaching, animal cruelty and other charges.

The El Dorado County Sheriff's Office says the California Highway Patrol received multiple calls from people reporting blood seeping out of a Toyota SUV near Shingle Springs, a small community in the Sierra foothills 40 miles east of Sacramento.

When authorities pulled over the vehicle, they found the deer carcass in the back. Officers say both men and the interior of the SUV were smeared with blood.

Mississippi: Sidon man accused of 30 violations ABERDEEN, Miss. -- A 73-year-old man has been charged with 30 counts of violating federal hunting laws in north Mississippi.

The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports that Pass Taylor Jr. of Sidon is accused by the U.S. Attorney's Office of baiting dove fields, guiding hunt tours into wildlife refuges, exceeding game limits and not reporting game kills.

Taylor is scheduled for arraignment in U.S. District Court in Aberdeen on Dec. 3.

If convicted on all 30 misdemeanor counts, he faces up to 21- 1/2 years in prison and $1.52 million in fines.

___ (c)2012 The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) Visit The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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