Cherokee Nation Issuing First Hunting & Fishing Licenses to Tribal Citizens

Cherokee Nation citizen Randy Campbell, of Tulsa, signs his new 2016 hunting and fishing license issued by the Cherokee Nation.

Cherokee Nation citizen Randy Campbell, of Tulsa, signs his new 2016 hunting and fishing license issued by the Cherokee Nation.

Published December 23, 2015

TAHLEQUAH, OKLAHOMA — The first batch of 2016 hunting and fishing licenses are hitting the mailboxes of Cherokee Nation citizens across the state of Oklahoma.

Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker and Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a compact in May to expand hunting and fishing rights for Cherokee Nation citizens to all 77 counties.

“I’m so pleased this process has finally come to fruition and the first hunting and fishing licenses are being issued to Cherokee Nation citizens. This is the culmination of many, many months of hard work by our Attorney General Todd Hembree, Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr., Tax Commission Administrator Sharon Swepston and Secretary of Natural Resources Sara Hill, and I want to commend all involved for working so diligently for the Cherokee people,” Chief Baker said. “When we initiated negotiations with the state of Oklahoma more than two years ago, we had no idea if an agreement could be reached. But today I’m proud to say, like in so many other areas in Indian Country, we blazed a path not taken before. And to our Cherokees who will now be able to freely hunt and fish across all 77 counties of Oklahoma, I wish you well and pray for a bountiful hunt for each of you.”

The Cherokee Nation Tax Commission is issuing the hunting and fishing licenses to tribal citizens in Oklahoma who submitted updated contact information by Oct. 31and who do not already hold an Oklahoma lifetime hunting and fishing license. The licenses are being issued in ascending order of ZIP codes, starting with 70603 and ending with 77427. Tax Commission staff is currently processing information cards submitted after Oct. 31 and will issue licenses for those individuals in a second mailing.

Cherokee Nation citizen Randy Campbell, of Tulsa, recently received his 2016 hunting and fishing license through the Cherokee Nation and was very appreciative of the tribe’s work in securing hunting and fishing rights for all Cherokee Nation citizens in the state.

“I think it is a great honor that our Chief and his people have been able to get this accomplished to where the people of this Cherokee tribe get to enjoy hunting and fishing,” Campbell said.

Every Cherokee Nation citizen over the age of 16 that does not have a lifetime license will receive a free hunting a fishing license annually, as well as an antlered deer gun season tag and a spring turkey tag.

Professional angler and Cherokee Nation citizen Jason Christie, of Park Hill, expects the agreement to benefit both avid and casual hunters and fishermen, while also introducing more people to wildlife sports.

“It benefits everybody from the kids to the older people. To me, there are two kinds of people this benefits and this covers the whole tribe, the person that drives 30 minutes to sit in the tree stand for 20 minutes and hunts all the time, but also benefits the person that only hunts a few times a year,” Christie said. “The agreement is also going to introduce more kids to hunting and fishing, and also give the opportunity to some adults to hunt and fish who may never have before and not worry about the cost.”

Per the compact between the tribe and state, Cherokee Nation will pay $2 for every license issued to the state of Oklahoma’s fish and wildlife program, which allows the state to obtain federal grants to help preserve the state’s wildlife and natural habitats. The agreement unlocks as much as $4 million in federal money for the state wildlife department, monies which tribes are not eligible to apply for.

“Today is a reflection of what we can do when we seek cooperation instead of conflict when it comes to state and tribal relations,” said Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. “The result is a hunting and fishing compact that is ‘win-win” for both governments. But, the big winners are the Cherokee people who will now confidently exercise their longstanding hunting and fishing rights for the first time in generations.”

For more information or to ask questions regarding the new hunting and fishing licenses, contact the Cherokee Nation Tax Commission at 844-259-4868 or fishandgame@cherokee.org.

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