Cherokee Nation hunting, fishing deal extended a year
TAHLEQUAH — A three-year hunting and fishing pact with the state that expired on Dec. 31, 2018, was extended, according to Cherokee Nation officials.
“There was an extension just to cover us for another year,” Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill said. “All of the terms are exactly the same.”
The compact forged with Oklahoma in 2015 allows in-state CN citizens to hunt and fish in all 77 counties.
“Nothing will change over the next year,” Hill said. “It’s all going to be issued according to the same rules we’ve had for the last three years. Licenses are already being printed and put into the mail for 2019.”
The original compact was signed in May 2015 by Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.
At the time, Baker said he was “proud the Cherokee Nation is the first tribe to compact with the state in proper recognition of our long-held treaty rights to hunt and fish the lands within not only our jurisdictional boundaries, but all 77 counties in Oklahoma.”
“No Cherokee will ever be fearful of arrest or prosecution for exercising their inherent rights to hunt and fish,” he added.
As stipulated in the compact, the Cherokee Nation purchases and issues a minimum of 150,000 licenses for its Oklahoma-residing citizens at a cost of $2 each.
The licenses offer access to “reserve” areas such as the Sparrow Hawk hiking trails near Tahlequah, as well as provide citizens with deer and spring turkey hunting tags.
It is unclear what steps will be taken following Dec. 31, 2019.
“Obviously we’ll have to do something,” Hill said. “But I don’t know what that is going to look like right now.”