The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission is commonly known by its acronym, GLIFWC. Formed in 1984, GLIFWC represents eleven Ojibwe tribes in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan who reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights in the 1837, 1842, and 1854 Treaties with the United States government.

     GLIFWC provides natural resource management expertise, conservation enforcement, legal and policy analysis, and public information services in support of the exercise of treaty rights during well-regulated, off-reservation seasons throughout the treaty ceded territories

     GLIFWC is guided by its Board of Commissioners along with two standing committees, the Voigt Intertribal Task Force and the Great Lakes Fisheries Committee, which advise the Board on policy.

GLIFWC News & Upcoming Events


Current News

7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision on tribal night hunting


Tribal Deer Hunt to Follow Tribal Rules – Including Harvests of Antlerless Deer

Tribal deer hunting will proceed in 2014 just like it did in 2013. Unfortunately, the Sawyer County Record published an article on June 4 entitled: “No Does Allowed in 2014 Northern Deer Hunt.”  What this article failed to mention is that the zero quotas established for all counties and reservation units in the north only applies to state-licensed gun and bow hunters.  It does not apply to tribal members hunting either on or off the reservations. There are no limits on the harvest of antlerless deer by tribal members during the 2014 hunting season.

Some may ask, “Why is this?” Why do state-licensed hunters have to forgo shooting antlerless deer while tribal hunters are permitted an unlimited number? The answer is relatively simple. Despite what has been said in the media, state hunters will not be prohibited from shooting antlerless deer. Antlerless deer harvest will be permitted for youth hunters (with no limits), disabled hunters (with no limits), military hunters (with no limits), people whose property is enrolled in the DMAP program (with no limits), and finally farmers experiencing agricultural damage will be able to shoot antlerless deer (with no limits).  All of this unlimited antlerless deer harvest will continue to take place despite zero quotas.

The Wisconsin DNR in their press release has characterized this antlerless deer harvest (by youth et al.) as ‘limited.’ They say this despite the fact that there are no limits placed on these harvests. But the DNR may call these hunts ‘limited’ because few people are participating relative to the number of deer hunters, and they will harvest relatively few antlerless deer during these hunts.  So because few people will participate and they will harvest few deer, the DNR calls the hunts ‘limited.’  This same logic applies to tribal hunting. Only a small number of tribal members hunt deer compared to the 750,000 deer hunters in Wisconsin.  And, tribal off-reservation antlerless deer harvest has been less than 1,000 for many years.  So few tribal hunters will harvest a small number of antlerless deer, thus the tribal hunt could be called ‘limited’ as well.

The tribes takes seriously their management responsibilities that flow from their treaty reserved rights and have steadfastly maintained their responsibility to manage the resources of the reservation and the ceded territories, including waawaaskeshi (deer).
Advise to tribal hunters, follow your tribes rules for deer hunting whether it is on or off reservation.  If you have questions about the rules you may contact your tribe’s conservation department or Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.


The Ways documentary

A short documentary video on spearfishing was recently released by The Ways, a living history series about Native communities. Produced by Finn Ryan, the video features Jason and Samuel Bisonette from Lac Courte Oreilles and captures the significance of the spring harvest of walleye to the Anishinabeg. To view:


Co-management visionary Billy Frank Jr. left mark in Ojibwe Country
When Henry Buffalo, Jr., a young Red Cliff tribal attorney, embarked on a search for native people successfully managing off-reservation natural resources in the early 1980s, Click for full story


Freshwater Fish Preservation


Updated mercury maps available

Under funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GRLI), GLIFWC updated the mercury maps for its member tribes with the most current mercury data available. Data collected since the last update in March 2012 has added information for 11 lakes, and a total of 446 lakes harvested by GLIFWC member tribes now have color-coded, monthly consumption advice. The updated Mercury Maps are available for viewing and download at Physical copies of the Maps were provided to tribal registration stations and other locations on reservation for the spring harvest.


Tribes wait for decision on night hunting

Madison, Wis. – A five-day trial on tribal night hunting of deer in Wisconsin’s ceded territory concluded on July 26, and the parties now wait for a decision from Federal Judge Barbara Crabb.
Six Wisconsin Ojibwe tribes are seeking relief from a 1991 judgment by the US District Court, Western District, prohibiting night hunting of deer under treaty in the ceded territories. The decision called LCO VII resulted from the “Deer Trial” which decided the scope of the off-reservation, treaty deer harvest.
Today, the tribes argue that circumstances have significantly changed, so the Court should be able to revisit the night hunting issue and alter the original judgment. (For the full story, see Fall 2013 Mazina'igan


Now available:  Map and description of analysis GLIFWC recently completed to determine what streams could be filled given the provisions of AB1/SB1. In particular, the analysis looked at the effect of Amendment 9 to AB1/SB1 on the ability of an iron mining company to fill streams with mine waste. What GLIFWC found was that many upper watershed stream segments could be filled given the provisions of Amendment 9. Those streams are indicated in red on the attached map.

Notes and Methods Used in Development of Vulnerable Stream Analysis

Surface waters potentially filled by iron mining given provisions of AB1/SB1



GLIFWC's Focus Areas


     GLIFWC is actively involved in a broad spectrum of resource related activities aimed at protecting and enhancing the natural resources and habitat in the treaty-ceded territories while also infusing an Ojibwe perspective into its work.


Affirming and implementing the rights

Great Lakes fishery

    - Report Tagged Fish

    - Report Ghost Net
Inland fishery

Inland lakes mercury levels
Wild plants

Wild rice (Manoomin)

Invasive species
Language & culture


Forest Pests