Cherokee Nation begins mailing Oklahoma hunting, fishing licenses

Caleb Gritts, Cherokee Nation support services technician, packages Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses that are being mailed to Cherokee citizens.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — For the fifth consecutive year, the Cherokee Nation is mailing hunting and fishing licenses to Cherokee citizens residing in Oklahoma. The licenses come on the heels of the 2020 compact renewal, and eligible Cherokee Nation citizens should expect to receive hunting and fishing licenses in the mail beginning this week.

Licenses for Cherokee Nation citizens who received a compact license in 2019 have automatically renewed for 2020. Although the Nation is currently in the process of mailing paper licenses, tribal citizens eligible for a renewed license can receive an electronic version of their 2020 license from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation website or “Go Outdoors Oklahoma” smartphone app.

Cherokee Nation citizens living in Oklahoma and who have not previously requested a hunting and fishing license, or need a replacement copy, can log on to https://www.cherokee.org/our-government/secretary-of-natural-resources-office/fish-and-wildlife/ and download the citizen information/update form.

“The Hunting and Fishing Compact between the Cherokee Nation and the State of Oklahoma reinforces the rights of Cherokee citizens to hunt and fish within our jurisdiction, a tradition that dates back generations,” said Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The compact further benefits Cherokee citizens by allowing them to hunt and fish statewide, which is an added value to Cherokee citizens across Oklahoma. The extended compact is also a win for the State of Oklahoma because it opens the door to millions of dollars in federal funding that can be used for wildlife conservation efforts. This makes our state a better place to live for all of us.”

The Cherokee Nation and State of Oklahoma officially renewed the Hunting and Fishing Compact in December. Through the agreement, the tribe will issue up to 150,000 Oklahoma hunting and fishing licenses that are valid in all 77 of the state’s counties. In 2020, license holders will receive a single turkey tag and a single universal deer tag, which can be used for antlered or doe in any approved manner of take, consistent with current state bag limits, restrictions and season dates.

“I’m pleased that we were able to come to an agreement with the state for the 2020 compact extension, which includes a more flexible deer tag,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Chad Harsha. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback from Cherokee citizens who enjoy the compact and the opportunity to hunt and fish across the state. I look forward to working with the state over the next year on a longer-term compact that incorporates Chief Hoskin’s priority of expanded access.”

The Hunting and Fishing Compact between the Cherokee Nation and the State of Oklahoma, 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, and in December 2019, a new one-year extension of the agreement was signed with an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2020.

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