Chippewa plan ceremonial elk hunt for northern WisconsinNorthern Wisconsin bands of Lake Superior Chippewa will proceed with their first ceremonial elk hunt since the herd was transplanted from Michigan in 1995.
By: By Mike Simonson, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Northern Wisconsin bands of Lake Superior Chippewa will proceed with their first ceremonial elk hunt since the herd was transplanted from Michigan in 1995.
The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission will issue one permit to a tribal hunting party to kill one bull elk in the ceded territory of the Clam Lake area. Department of Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp wrote in a letter this week to GLIFWC that she is deeply disappointed with the hunt, calling it a setback in state and tribal relations.
But GLIFWC spokeswoman Sue Erickson says this ceremonial hunt is important to them.
“These creatures are given and if they are not taken, the Creator may take them away,” she said. “So there is a responsibility not only for management but also for use.”
A tribal statement did not mention the DNR or Stepp’s concerns about the elk herd population. DNR Land Administrator Kurt Thiede says they won’t fight this hunt.
“We’re continuing to be committed to the elk program but as far as ability for us to take any legal action on this, that doesn’t appear to be the case,” he said.
Erickson says this won’t hurt the elk herd in the Clam Lake area.
“They’ve talked to biologists to make sure that this taking will not have any measurable impact on the elk population or the elk survival,” she said.
Erickson says tribes from northern Wisconsin will join together at a place and date that will not be publicly released.
“The tribes feel very strongly about this. This action is in respect to the elk,” she said. “It’s considered a way of continued success of the reintroduction. So it’s viewed as a very positive thing to do and the elk will be honored in the ceremony.”
There are about 185 elk in northern Wisconsin, the state’s only wild elk herd. The DNR says the hunt will take place sometime between today through Monday.