Supreme Court Rules on Elk Hunting Case

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The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of a then-Montana tribal game warden that shot and killed a bull elk in Wyoming despite having only a Montana hunting license.

Clayvin Herrera, a member of the Crow Tribe, claimed he had rights tied to an 1868 treaty that allowed him to follow the animal across state lines and take it in the Bighorn National Forest in 2014. Wyoming authorities cited him for the kill.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is disappointed and concerned with the ruling, especially with what it may mean for the future of state-based wildlife management.

The ruling is not a slam dunk. The Supreme Court remanded the case back to Wyoming’s District Court, 4th Judicial District to address two technical issues. One has to do with conservation-related regulations regarding how Crow tribal hunting takes place in Wyoming. The other deals with what portions of the Bighorn National Forest are deemed “occupied,” meaning Crow tribal hunting could not take place there.

(Photo source: U.S. Forest Service)