AKINS, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation recently completed another successful year of controlled hunts on the tribe’s 4,000-plus-acre Sequoyah Hunting Preserve in Sequoyah County.
The Cherokee Nation hosted five controlled hunts in total with 10 hunters being selected by a random draw of qualifying applicants for each of the weekend hunts: Cherokee youth hunt, Cherokee speakers muzzleloader hunt, Cherokee elders muzzleloader hunt, Cherokee veterans hunt, and an open hunt for Cherokee citizens.
The participating hunters saw a tagout success rate of over 70% as well as a 100% opportunity rate, meaning each hunter had encountered at least one deer to potentially harvest.
“This marks the third consecutive year of the Cherokee Nation’s controlled hunts and we continue to see exceedingly positive results. It’s been exciting to hear the stories of the many Cherokees who have participated in these hunts and enjoyed these bountiful lands with the opportunity to put food on the table for their families,” Cherokee Nation Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “The many blessings that come from these controlled hunts is exactly what Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and I had in mind when we established the Cherokee Nation Park, Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Reserve Act. It not only brings food security to Cherokee homes, but also connects our traditional Cherokee lifeways and provides memories that will last a lifetime.”
Overall, the Cherokee Nation received nearly 3,500 applications for the 2023 controlled hunts. Each hunt category offered 10 tags, including five either-sex tags and five antlerless tags. The number and type of tag offerings are subject to change each year based on herd population data and conservation best practices.
“The 2023 controlled hunts may have been the best yet. Our hunts create an opportunity for Cherokee Nation citizens to gather, share stories and enjoy the outdoors, and I am very proud to be a part of that,” Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation Manager Lane Kindle said. “One of this year’s highlights was the addition of the Cherokee speakers hunt, which played right into that deer-camp feel. It’s a spectacular feeling to be around a group of Cherokees at camp and hear the language around the campfire. And it’s important to thank our wildlife tech workers and the Marshal Service for what they do to make these hunts possible. They are outstanding.”
With the draw being open to Cherokee citizens regardless of residency, several at-large citizens were able to partake in the controlled hunts as well.
“This year, we had a Cherokee youth drawn that traveled from Virginia with his grandfather, and we also had an elder drawn from New Mexico,” Kindle said. “It’s great being able to share this experience with Cherokees from all over the country.”
Cherokee veteran Zachary Treat, of Owasso, said the veteran hunt was among the top hunting experiences of his lifetime.
“It was an absolute blast and I would love to experience that again in the future,” Treat said. “The hunt is managed professionally. They do a fantastic job of monitoring the wildlife population and ensuring that Cherokees will be able to take food home to their families. They were also very generous with the gifts they gave the veterans – backpacks, shooting sticks, hunting clothing, and soft gun cases. Everything about the hunt was fantastic.”
Applications for the 2024 Cherokee Nation controlled hunts are expected to open next summer.
For more information about future controlled hunts, call 918-453-5058.