Share

High court sides with Crow tribe member in hunting dispute

Share

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday sided with a member of the Crow tribe who was fined for hunting elk in Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest, giving him a good chance to get a more than $8,000 fine against him overturned.

The case the justices decided 5-4 is a win for Clayvin Herrera and his tribe, which had argued they had hunting rights in the forest.

Herrera’s case began in 2014 when he went hunting with family. The group began on the Crow tribe’s reservation in southern Montana but crossed into the neighboring Bighorn National Forest in Wyoming, where they killed several elk.

Soon after, a game warden saw photos Herrera posted on a bragging website for hunters, including one of him crouched in the snow behind an elk he shot and another with its antlers balanced on his shoulders. The game warden ultimately identified the area where the photos were taken in the Bighorn National Forrest, and Herrera was cited for killing an elk there during the winter, when it is prohibited.

But Herrera, backed by the federal government, argued that when his tribe gave up land in present-day Montana and Wyoming under an 1868 treaty, the tribe retained the right to hunt on the land, including land that became Wyoming’s Bighorn National Forest.

Trending:
Was it Rigged? You'll Never Believe Who Beat Keanu Reeves and Tom Cruise For 2023's 'Best Action Star'

The state of Wyoming had argued that the Crow tribe’s hunting rights ceased to exist after Wyoming became a state in 1890 or after Bighorn National Forest was established in 1897. But the Supreme Court disagreed, with Justice Neil Gorsuch joining his four liberal colleagues — justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — in ruling for Herrera.

The court’s four other justices said they would have ruled that a prior case settled that Crow tribe members like Herrera don’t have an unrestricted right to hunt and fish in the Bighorn National Forest and are subject to the game laws of Wyoming.

The ruling does not immediately resolve the issue of Herrera’s fine. The Supreme Court said in sending the case back to lower courts that the state can argue that it can regulate hunting by Crow tribe members if it is necessary for wildlife conservation. The state can also try to argue that the tribe’s treaty rights didn’t extend to the specific area of Bighorn National Forest where he was hunting. But Herrera’s lawyers have argued that the location where he was hunting was covered by the treaty and have said data shows that elk are overpopulated in the state.

The state can pursue the case or drop it. Michael Pearlman, the spokesman for Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon, said the state is reviewing the ruling and didn’t have any immediate comment. George Hicks, an attorney for Herrera, said in a statement that his lawyers are gratified by the court’s ruling.

The case is Herrera v. Wyoming, 17-532.

___

Associated Press reporter Mead Gruver contributed to this story from Cheyenne, Wyoming.

The Western Journal has not reviewed this Associated Press story prior to publication. Therefore, it may contain editorial bias or may in some other way not meet our normal editorial standards. It is provided to our readers as a service from The Western Journal.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands. Photo credit: @AP on Twitter
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




Conversation