TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation program is hosting its first controlled hunts this fall on new preserve land in Sequoyah County. The inaugural controlled deer hunts will be designed for a limited number of Cherokee Nation elders, veterans, youth, and at-large Cherokee citizens who reside outside the state of Oklahoma.
The 2021 controlled deer hunts will be held on Cherokee Nation’s new 4,000-plus-acre Sequoyah Hunting Preserve north of Sallisaw in Sequoyah County, with a select number of Cherokee elders, Cherokee veterans, Cherokee youth, and at-large Cherokee citizens from outside Oklahoma being selected by a draw of qualifying applicants to be held during this year’s Cherokee National Holiday.
“Hunting and fishing are part of our inherent Cherokee lifeways,” said Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “That’s why Deputy Chief Bryan Warner and I established the Cherokee Nation Park and Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Reserve Act earlier this year with the support of the Council of the Cherokee Nation. Hunting has been important to Cherokees since time immemorial, providing food for families and helping to ease the food insecurities that unfortunately sometimes exist among Cherokee families – hardships that may have worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. This first controlled hunt will be only the beginning of what we are able to offer Cherokee citizens so that they can continue these traditional means of providing for their families.”
Cherokee Nation citizens who qualify for the controlled hunt can apply using the Gadugi Portal at https://gadugiportal.cherokee.org/. Applications are available now and the deadline to apply is Sept. 3. Results of the draw will be announced Sept. 6, with successful applicants being notified via email and on the Gadugi Portal.
“Not only are this year’s first controlled hunting opportunities helping to secure food sources for Cherokee families, but they’re also reinforcing those Cherokee traditional values the Creator has given us for many generations,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “I think it is fitting that we are first inviting our Cherokee elders and veterans to hunt on this new property, but that we have also provided an opportunity for Cherokee youth to experience these important life lessons.”
The following are eligibility requirements and dates for each category of the first controlled hunts:
- Cherokee youth: Applicants must be 17 years or younger at the time of the hunt, a Cherokee Nation citizen, possess a Cherokee Nation compact hunting and fishing license, be a resident of the state of Oklahoma, and must be accompanied by an adult with a valid Oklahoma hunting and fishing license. The licensed adult must be either a parent or guardian, or an individual specifically selected by the parent or guardian. The applicant must possess a valid deer tag at the time of the hunt. Dates: October 16-17 and December 4-5.
- Cherokee veterans: Applicants must be a veteran of a branch of the United States armed forces, a Cherokee Nation citizen, possess a Cherokee Nation compact hunting and fishing license, and be a resident of the state of Oklahoma. Applicants must submit valid proof of veteran status with their application. The applicant must possess a valid deer tag at the time of the hunt. Dates: October 23-24 and November 27-28.
- Cherokee elder hunts: Applicants must be 55 years of age or older at the time of the hunt, a Cherokee Nation citizen, possess a Cherokee Nation compact hunting and fishing license, and be a resident of the state of Oklahoma. The applicant must possess a valid deer tag at the time of the hunt. Dates: October 30-31 and December 2-3.
- Out-of-state at-large Cherokee citizens: Any Cherokee Nation citizen residing outside the state of Oklahoma is eligible for this hunt. If selected to participate in this opportunity, Cherokee Nation will provide a 2021 non-resident deer gun license to the applicants drawn for this hunt. Dates: November 20-21.
The Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation program is determining the total number of citizens to be selected for the hunts using herd population data and conservation best practices. In the future, offerings may vary based on continued data collection and analysis of the preserve land.
Deer harvested during the Cherokee Nation controlled hunt will count toward Oklahoma’s statewide season bag limit. Cherokee citizens participating in the Cherokee Nation controlled hunts must present proof of a valid deer tag on the day of the hunt to participate.
To apply for a Cherokee Nation hunting and fishing license, click here.
For more information about eligibility or submission of the application, call 918-453-5058.