TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — The Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation Department is hosting its third annual controlled hunts this fall on preserve land in Sequoyah County.
The 2023 controlled deer hunts will be held on Cherokee Nation’s 4,000-plus-acre Sequoyah Hunting preserve north of Sallisaw in Sequoyah County, with 10 Cherokee elders, 10 Cherokee veterans, 10 Cherokee youth, 10 Cherokee speakers and 10 Cherokee citizens being selected by a random draw of qualifying applicants. The controlled hunts are not subject to any residency requirement and applications are open to all Cherokee Nation citizens.
“Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and I established the Cherokee Nation Park, Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Reserve Act with the vision of events like these controlled hunts, which not only bring food security to Cherokee homes, but also connect our traditional Cherokee lifeways,” Deputy Chief Bryan Warner said. “Having two consecutive years of successful controlled hunts already behind us, it’s exciting for Cherokee Nation citizens to be able to participate again this year and enjoy these bountiful lands and provide for their families. We are thankful and proud to see the growth of the Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation program and the many blessings it brings.”
Cherokee Nation citizens who qualify for the controlled hunts can apply by using the Gadugi Portal at https://gadugiportal.cherokee.org/. Applications are available Aug. 15 and the deadline to apply is Sept. 15. Results of the draw will be announced Sept. 20, with successful applicants being notified via email and on the Gadugi Portal.
The eligibility requirements and dates for each category of the controlled hunts are:
• Cherokee youth: Applicants must be 17 years or younger at the time of the hunt and a Cherokee Nation citizen. Youth hunters must be accompanied by an adult with proof of Cherokee Nation citizenship or a valid Oklahoma hunting license. The licensed adult must be either a parent or guardian or an individual specifically selected by the parent or guardian. Dates: Oct. 20-22.
• Cherokee speakers muzzleloader: Applicants must be registered as a Cherokee speaker with the Cherokee Nation Language Department. Applicants not registered as a Cherokee speaker must contact the Cherokee Nation Language Department at 918-207-4900. All ages are eligible to apply. If the applicant is 17 or younger at the time of the hunt, they must be accompanied by an adult with a Tribal ID or a valid Oklahoma hunting license. The licensed adult must be either a parent or guardian or an individual specifically selected by the parent or guardian. Dates: Oct. 28-30.
• Cherokee elders muzzleloader: Applicants must be 55 years of age or older at the time of the hunt and a Cherokee Nation citizen. Dates: Nov. 3-5.
• Cherokee veterans: Applicants must be a veteran of a branch of the United States armed forces, a Cherokee Nation citizen and must submit their DD-214 or proof of veteran status with the application. Dates: Nov. 24-26.
• Open hunt: Any Cherokee Nation citizen is eligible for this hunt. Dates: Dec. 1-3.
Drawn participants will be required to sign a liability of release before participation.
Each hunter is allowed to bring one non-hunting guest with them.
The Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation department has determined the total number of citizens to be selected for this year’s hunts using herd population data and wildlife conservation best practices. Future draw hunt opportunities may vary based on continued data collection and herd management analysis.
For more information about eligibility or submission of applications, call 918-453-5058.