TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Cherokee Nation citizens in Oklahoma will receive their 2021 hunting and fishing licenses after the tribe’s Hunting and Fishing Compact with the State of Oklahoma has been extended.
Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. signed the compact extension on Thursday in Tahlequah, while Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Friday morning in Oklahoma City.
“Extending the Hunting and Fishing Compact is a victory for Cherokee citizens, reminding us of our inherent right to hunt and fish on our land just as our ancestors have done for countless generations,” Chief Hoskin said. “This extension provides Cherokee citizens living in Oklahoma an opportunity to hunt and fish not just within the Cherokee Nation reservation, but in all 77 counties of this state. The compact is also good for the state by providing a financial boost to wildlife service programs. I commend the state and Gov. Stitt for working to continue this important agreement.”
The compact between the Cherokee Nation and State of Oklahoma benefits both the tribe and the state, with the Cherokee Nation boosting licensure and opening the door to more than $7 million dollars in projected federal funding for the state’s wildlife department. These additional funds are used by the State of Oklahoma for wildlife conservation, aiding fish and wildlife management across the Cherokee Nation reservation and throughout the state of Oklahoma.
“I appreciate the Cherokee Nation working with my office and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation on a one-year hunting and fishing compact extension,” said Gov. Stitt. “This compact continues a partnership between the State of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation to capture federal funds for conservation efforts across our state while promoting hunting and fishing opportunities for citizens of the Cherokee Nation.”
Under the compact, Cherokee Nation issues its own free hunting and fishing licenses to Cherokee citizens residing in Oklahoma. Licenses are recognized by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and provide Cherokee citizens the same privileges of an Oklahoma hunting and fishing license, including a single universal deer tag and a single turkey tag per calendar year. Under the compact, the Cherokee Nation will purchase up to 150,000 licenses.
“Over the next year, the Cherokee Nation will continue to collaborate with the State of Oklahoma to negotiate a longer-term Hunting and Fishing Compact that provides additional tags and access for Cherokee citizens,” said Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha. “We look forward to those discussions and appreciate the State of Oklahoma being a cooperative partner in this effort.”
The compact between the tribe and the state, the first of its kind in the country, originally went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016 and included an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2018. A subsequent one-year extension was later signed, followed by a year-long extension signed in January of 2020. The extension signed this week by Chief Hoskin and Gov. Stitt is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2021.