TAHLEQUAH – The Cherokee Nation Wildlife Conservation program is hosting its first controlled hunts this fall on preserve land in Sequoyah County. The deer hunts will be designed for a limited number of CN elders, veterans, youth and at-large citizens who reside outside the state.
According to a CN press release, the hunts will be held on the CN’s 4,000-plus-acre Sequoyah Hunting Preserve north of Sallisaw in Sequoyah County, with a select number of hunters 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.”
CN citizens who qualify for the hunt can apply at https://gadugiportal.cherokee.org/. Applications are now available 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,” Warner said. “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 hunts:
· Youth: Applicants must be 17 years or younger at the time of the hunt, a CN citizen, possess a CN compact hunting and fishing license, be a resident of Oklahoma and 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: Oct. 16-17 and Dec. 4-5.
· Veterans: Applicants must be a veteran of a branch of the U.S. armed forces, a CN citizen, possess a CN compact hunting and fishing license and be a resident of Oklahoma. Applicants must submit valid proof of veteran status with their applications. Applicants must possess valid deer tags at the time of the hunts. Dates: Oct. 23-24 and Nov. 27-28.
· Elders: Applicants must be 55 years of age or older at the time of the hunt, a CN citizen, possess a CN compact hunting and fishing license and be a resident of Oklahoma. The applicant must possess a valid deer tag at the time of the hunt. Dates: Oct. 30-31 and Dec. 2-3.
· Out-of-state at-large citizens: Any CN citizen residing outside of Oklahoma is eligible for this hunt. If selected to participate in this opportunity, the CN will provide a 2021 non-resident deer gun license to the applicants drawn for this hunt. Dates: Nov. 20-21.
According to the release, the CN 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, the release states.
Deer harvested during the controlled hunt will count toward Oklahoma’s statewide season bag limit. CN citizens participating in the hunts must present proof of a valid deer tag on the day of the hunt to participate, the release states.
To apply for a CN hunting and fishing license, visit https://www.cherokeefishandwildlife.com/copy-of-hunting-fishing-licenses.
For information about eligibility or submission of an application, call 918-453-5058.