The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case involving a member of the Crow Tribe from Montana that shot and killed a bull elk in Wyoming.
Clayvin Herrera, a former game warden for the Crow Tribe, received a misdemeanor conviction for shooting the elk in the Bighorn National Forest. He was also ordered to pay more than $8,000 in fines and lost his hunting and fishing privileges for three years. In appealing his conviction, Herrera testified that he believed he was still on tribal land but snow did not allow him to see the boundary markers.
A Wyoming Game and Fish warden also believes Herrera shot the animal out of season.
However, the case is much more complicated than that. Herrera’s lawyers claim the U.S. government gave tribal members the right to hunt game on unoccupied lands via an 1868 treaty.
“This case affects numerous other tribes, as no fewer than 19 federal treaties protect the ‘right to hunt on federal lands away from the respective reservations,’” according to the Associated Press.
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(Photo source: Justin Wrightman)