Oklahoma hunting, fishing compacts extended with Cherokee and Choctaw nations
Gov. Kevin Stitt on Friday signed a one-year extension on the state's hunting and fishing compact with the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma that was set to expire on Dec. 31.
On Tuesday, the governor's office also extended a similar hunting and fishing compact with the Choctaw Nation for one year.
The agreement between the Cherokee Nation and the state for hunting and fishing licenses was the first of its kind when it was signed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2015 and went into effect on Jan. 1, 2016. It included an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2018, but one-year extensions have been signed ever since.
The compact gives the the Cherokee Nation the right to issue hunting and fishing licenses free of charge to its citizens. In return, the tribe pays the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation $2 for each license.
Cherokee Nation citizens also will receive a single universal deer tag and a single turkey tag per calendar year. Under the compact, the Cherokee Nation will buy up to 150,000 licenses.
The compact with the Choctaw Nation calls for the tribe to buy at least 50,000 licenses for its Oklahoma residents for $2 each as well. The Choctaw Nation also pays a lump sum of $200,000 to the Wildlife Department and an administrative cost payment of $75,000.
As a result of the hunting and fishing compacts with the tribes, the Wildlife Department is able to tap into more federal funds for fish and wildlife management. The Wildlife Department receives federal money through a formula based on the size of the state and the number of hunting and fishing license holders.
The money is collected through federal excise taxes on sporting goods such as hunting and fishing gear and then apportioned each year to the states by the U.S. Department of the Interior.
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The Cherokee Nation said its compact alone opens the door to more than $7 million in projected federal funding for the state’s Wildlife Department.