Crow treaty rights, thoughts?

Fsmith

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The May 20 U.S. Supreme Court opinion affirming Crow Tribe treaty hunting rights in Wyoming has reverberated into Montana.
Following the ruling, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ legal counsel and chief of law enforcement issued a May 22 memo to wardens advising them to not cite Crow Tribe members who violate state hunting laws in the Custer Gallatin National Forest east of the Yellowstone River.
The vast mountain region, which extends from Gardiner to the Wyoming border and includes the Absaroka, Pryor and Beartooth mountain ranges in addition to the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, was also part of the tribe’s treaty area when the Fort Laramie document was signed in 1868.


Wyoming court still has 2 issues to decide in Crow hunting case
Wyoming case
Wyoming had argued that its Bighorn National Forest, where Crow tribal member Clayvin Herrera was cited for poaching a bull elk in 2014, was considered occupied territory since it had been designated a national forest. The high court disagreed in its 5-4 ruling, but it’s up to a Wyoming District Court to define exactly what occupied means. Some areas of the forest may carry that designation, but not the entire forest, the justices reasoned.
The state court must also figure out how to define conservation necessity, another point the state had argued for not allowing Crow tribal members the right to exercise their hunting rights in the state.
Becky Dockter, FWP’s chief legal counsel, said her agency issued the memo in consultation with the state Attorney General's office “in order to not raise any more issues,” similar to what the Herrera case has already brought to attention, until there’s a better understanding of the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision.
“How it effects into the future we can’t say,” she said.
FWP has held no discussions with Crow tribal officials yet, Dockter added.
U.S. Supreme Court sides with Crow tribal member in hunting dispute
Treaty rights
The memo does not open the Montana forest to Crow tribal hunting, Dockter said, rather tribal members would not be cited for violations of Montana hunting regulations — such as hunting during a closed season, unlawful possession, hunting without a license, or failure to tag — because that now falls under a treaty rights issue and the tribe’s regulatory system. Tribal members could still be cited for safety violations like trespassing, or shooting from a roadway or vehicle, Dockter added.
Even prior to the Herrera decision Montana had honored treaty right hunters on public federal lands, specifically the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribes.
"Court cases defined that for us a long time ago," said Tom McDonald, the Fish, Wildlife, Recreation & Conservation Office division manager for the CSKT.
For male wildlife species like deer and elk, tribal hunters can shoot a bull or buck any time of the year without even purchasing a tag, he explained. For restricted species like moose or bighorn sheep there are tag drawings for tribal members, and bighorns are hunted only on the reservation. Seasons for female wildlife species run from Sept. 1 to Jan. 31, McDonald said.





"A lot of it is not sport hunting, it's subsistence hunting," he said.
"Overhunting is not an issue."
Few CSKT members hunt black bears, none hunt grizzlies or cat species like mountain lions or bobcats. The tribe has about 7,000 members. As many as 900 may apply for special licenses.
In addition, Montana acknowledges the rights of several tribes to hunt Yellowstone bison in the winter when they leave the park, including CSKT, Blackfeet, Nez Perce and Umatilla, Shoshone-Bannock tribal members.


Those hunts along the northern border near Gardiner have raised some residents’ concerns about gut piles that attract predators, unsafe shooting, bison wounding and unethical hunting with animals facing a barrage of bullets when they exit the park.
Montana does not regulate the tribal hunters but coordinates with tribal game officers and law enforcement in an attempt to ensure everyone’s safety.
Gardiner-area residents call winter bison hunts along Yellowstone border unsafe, lobby for change
Still to come
When the Wyoming case will be settled is uncertain. Depending on how the Sheridan County District Court rules, the case could still be appealed up the ladder and end up before the U.S. Supreme Court again, some court watchers have suggested.
Until then, Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon issued a statement that said in part, "Until these remaining issues are resolved, the State of Wyoming will continue to regulate the take of game animals in the Bighorn National Forest to ensure equal hunting opportunities for all.”
McDonald said fears that Crow hunters will decimate Wyoming's elk herds are unfounded.
"They all frown on waste of meat, that's taboo," he said.
With a limited population, who can only eat so much meat, and with some tribal members raising beef or with access to the tribe's bison herd, McDonald said there's a limit to what tribal members will hunt, as well as who will hunt.
Also, just like across the greater U.S. population, hunting among native people has declined, he said.
"I wouldn't expect much change."
 

BWALKER77

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The last paragraph is nothing but fantasy. Herrera left a significant portion of the elk he shot to rot.
 

bullbugle307

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“They all frown on waste of meat, that's taboo," he said.

This is the dumbest thing I have read all year.
Right. The myth that native Americans used every part of every animal, historically or currently, is completely ridiculous. The archaeological record is full of animals that were killed just for hides, or tongues etc. That was excusable when they didn't have refrigeration and were constantly on the move. Nowadays, not so much. I don't expect every part of the animal to used, but at least the meat should be.
 
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Bluffgruff

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Does this treaty enforcement prevent wanton waste citations? In general, I feel like the best option would be cooperative management between the states and the tribal governments. There are some examples of that out there.
 

ZBB

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Hashed, rehashed and I don’t think anyone has changed their minds.
 

MTGomer

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It’s interesting how Wyoming plans to attempt to regulate this in some way based on agreements or conservation necessity, while Montana has said publically that all federal lands south and east of the Yellowstone are wide open.
 

Fsmith

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I’m sure there’s an appeal coming from the state. Although I don’t see the ruling being overturned. All facts and evidence should’ve been on the table at the initial hearing, I just don’t see what the state can bring to the table at this point in front of the same court to overturn the case.

Sure is a bad precedent for the future.
 

neffa3

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Right. The myth that native Americans used every part of every animal, historically or currently, is completely ridiculous. The archaeological record is full of animals that were killed just for hides, or tongues etc. That was excusable when they didn't have refrigeration and were constantly on the move. Nowadays, not so much. I don't expect every part of the animal to used, but at least the meat should be.
I think I heard Renella say it best in his buffalo book, it's not that they didn't use every part of the animal, they did, but they did not used every part of every animal. Some of them killed just for their hides, others for their meat, others for their etc., they took what they could use at the time. But when you run 30 buffalo off a cliff, there's only so much you're taking from them. So there was potentially quite a bit of waste on an animal by animal basis.
 
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Northwoods Labs

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The last paragraph is nothing but fantasy. Herrera left a significant portion of the elk he shot to rot.
So because one guy left his elk to rot, you think the vast majority of native people think that is okay? Plenty of white guys that killed animals and left them to rot and I wouldn't want to be lumped into that category
 

BWALKER77

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So because one guy left his elk to rot, you think the vast majority of native people think that is okay? Plenty of white guys that killed animals and left them to rot and I wouldn't want to be lumped into that category
First off there were multiple people in Herrara's party that poached elk and didnt utilize all the meat. Then there is the fact that I worked on the Crow Reservation for some time and heard the stories and seen with my own eyes the waste of game. It's not just one guy and not by a long shot.
We had a bad winter in 2017-2018 and antelope were grouped up just off the road on a pivot. Every day there was a new carcass or four that was shot and left without taking any meat at all. Or there was the time a person I know shot six elk at one time only taking the back straps and a few hind quarters.
The interior of the reservation has almost no game at all despite great habitat and there is a reason for this.
If you havent lived it, it's almost beyond belief.
 
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Northwoods Labs

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First off there were multiple people in Herrara's party that poached elk and didnt utilize all the meat. Then there is the fact that I worked on the Crow Reservation for some time and heard the stories and seen with my own eyes the waste of game. It's not just one guy and not by a long shot.
We had a bad winter in 2017-2018 and antelope were grouped up just off the road on a pivot. Every day there was a new carcass or four that was shot and left without taking any meat at all. Or there was the time a person I know shot six elk at one time only taking the back straps and a few hind quarters.
If you havent lived it, it's almost beyond belief.
I hear stories all the time. I live right near an reservation and have found most of those stories to be b.s. Maybe it is different on the Crow Res. I just have a hard time lumping all people into one category based on the actions of a few
 

BWALKER77

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The reservations in the west are significantly different than those in Wisconsin or Upper MI. I know this because that's where I am from.
For starters natives in Upper MI actually have seasons and bag limits. The Crow has neither.
 
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MTGomer

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I hear stories all the time. I live right near an reservation and have found most of those stories to be b.s. Maybe it is different on the Crow Res. I just have a hard time lumping all people into one category based on the actions of a few
It is certainly not BS on the crow. I have somewhere between 600 and 900 days on the reservation, and have been to more places on it than nearly any nontribal member and probably a lot of the members. Deeded and allotted ranches, and Land in the Bighorns and Pryors that with few exceptions only tribal members will ever see.
Not driving around on roads either. Hiking, riding ATVs and busting brush looking for section corners performing survey work.
I can think of deer sightings 4 times. There may be a couple more. 2 of them on the same large ranch.
5 times if you count the whitetail buck I saw being dragged behind a car down the Pryor cut off road, but it was already dead-I hope.

It’s some of the best habitat there is too. It’s a sad deal.

There are people on the rez that see things the way we do and want things done differently, or as we would call it - better.
But they’re outnumbered by Herreras. Thence the reason things are the way they are.

Just like people on this forum want Montana to manage mule deer. But we are outnumbered by fat, drunk rednecks that think it’s their God given right to kill forkies out the truck window on the Custer.

Same line of thinking, just applied differently based on cultural standards.
 

Northwoods Labs

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Disappointing to hear, although with the way people are today it is not very surprising. Around where I am there are always stories about the tribe just throwing the walleye that they spear in the dumpster. I've found this to be untrue, in my experience
 

BWALKER77

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Disappointing to hear, although with the way people are today it is not very surprising. Around where I am there are always stories about the tribe just throwing the walleye that they spear in the dumpster. I've found this to be untrue, in my experience
In your neck of the woods the tribes have decimated the walleye fishery on Bay De Noc via illegal netting.
 
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