Shoshone Business Council Chairman refutes Game and Fish statement regarding off-reservation hunting rules

    Eastern Shoshone Business Council Chairman John St. Clair issued a press release Tuesday challenging a recent assertion by Wyoming Game and Fish director Brian Nesvik that it’s currently illegal for Tribal members to hunt on unoccupied land outside of the Wind River Reservation.

    “(Nesvik) claims that because there are unresolved questions from the United States Supreme Court decision Herrera v. Wyoming … tribal off-reservation hunting is not legal,” St. Clair wrote.

    “The Eastern Shoshone Tribe would disagree with this statement.”


    Conservation necessity

    St. Clair pointed specifically to Nesvik’s stated opinion that Wyoming officials have to approve Tribal off-reservation hunting rules due to the presence of “conservation necessity” in the state.

    Wyoming was supposed to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine whether conservation necessity existed in the Herrera case, St. Clair explained, but “as far as the EST knows, an evidentiary hearing was never held.”

    If an evidentiary hearing does occur, St. Clair continued, state officials will have to prove that the conservation necessity designation is “reasonable and necessary” to protect “a specific area and one species” – like deer, elk, bear, moose or antelope – whose “continuation (is) endangered.”

    A state conservation regulation must also be “the least restrictive means to achieve the goal,” St. Clair said, and “it cannot discriminate against Indians.”


    “(It can) be used only as a last resort,” he said. “Mr. Nesvik’s belief that a conservation necessity exists throughout the State of Wyoming for every species, is unsupported by any facts.”

    Read St. Clair’s full statement below.

    h/t Eastern Shoshone Tribe

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