Sokaogon Chippewa Community News

Ma’iingan Hunt Ends Early as Quotas are Exceeded

On January 22nd, the DNR’s Natural Resources Board voted to hold a wolf season in November. A lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute of Law & Liberty on behalf of Hunter Nation, a Kansas-based hunter advocacy group then forced the DNR to hold the hunt at the end of February.

The Natural Resources Board convened a special meeting on February 15th and approved a statewide quota of 200 wolves. That number was reduced to 119 when Native American Tribes declared their portion of the quota in the Ceded Territory.

The Department of Natural Resources opened the hunt this past Monday morning. It was scheduled to run through Sunday, but hunters and trappers killed 82 of the 119 wolf quota on Tuesday afternoon. This led to the season closing early, as a 24 hour closure notice is required.

Yesterday afternoon, the numbers continued to climb. Last night, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported, “Despite a hurried closure to the 2021 Wisconsin gray wolf harvest season, state-licensed hunters and trappers killed 53% more wolves than allotted, according to Department of Natural Resources data.

And the number is likely to climb as more registrations are received over the next 24 hours. As of 3:00 pm on Wednesday, 182 wolves were registered, 63 animals above the harvest quota of 119.”

Although the season officially ended yesterday, additional wolves are expected to be registered today before the 3:00 pm deadline.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) responded to the Ma’iingan decision on Monday, urging the state for consultation, wolf protection and science-based natural resource decision-making.

“As wolf management in Wisconsin is occurring in a highly politicized environment, GLIFWC member tribes continue to advocate for an inclusive and deliberative decision-making process about shared resources.

Ma’iingan (my-ing-gaahn) is the Anishinaabe word for wolf. Wolves are revered as relatives in the Ojibwe lifeway. Ma’iingan serves as a clan icon – a representation of traditional governance and organization within the community.”

“We are extremely disappointed with the recent decisions and we petition the State and Natural Resources Board to follow both sound and current science and follow the co-management framework laid out in the LCO v. Wisconsin [or Voigt] case,” said Voigt Intertribal Task Force Chairman John Johnson. “We are growing tired of the lack of tribal consultation on issues that directly impact our sovereign nations.”

“Federal court decisions require the state to coordinate management with the plaintiff tribes in the LCO v. Wisconsin case and consult them on decisions that impact their treaty-reserved rights in treaty-ceded territories.

The controversial season began February 22nd, and was supposed to end February 28th. The “harvest” occurred in the absence of an updated management plan, without the required input of tribes with treaty-reserved rights, and in violation of agreements made in the LCO case. It also occurred in the absence of buffer zones around each reservation that would help safeguard packs that live partially on reservation – packs that tribes have worked hard to protect. To many Ojibwe communities, hunting in late February, a time when fur quality is poor and wolves are in their breeding season, is regarded as especially wasteful and disrespectful.

Tribes look forward to continuing their relationship with ma’iingan while working with the State of Wisconsin and all interested parties in improving ma’iingan stewardship for the health of ecosystems and for the benefit of future generations.”