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Outdoors: Choctaw Nation, state near an agreement on a hunting and fishing compact

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and the state of Oklahoma are nearing an agreement on a hunting and fishing compact.

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, which oversees the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, on Wednesday had a special meeting and voted to approve a compact with the Choctaw Nation.

The commission met for 45 minutes in executive session before voting to approve a compact, said Don Brown, spokesman for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. No details of the agreement were revealed

“The governor and the tribe still have to act on them,” Brown said.

He referred additional questions to Gov. Mary Fallin's office.

“The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission today gave its support to the governor to enter into a compact with the Choctaw Nation,” said Michael McNutt, communications director for the governor's office.

“Commissioners also authorized the director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to enter into a memorandum of understanding with the Choctaw Nation. Details of the agreement will be released after the agreements are executed.”

Last year, Fallin signed a compact with the Cherokee Nation that allowed its tribal members to hunt and fish for free in all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

Beginning on Jan. 1, the Cherokee Nation started issuing its own hunting and fishing license to each of its citizens age 17 and older. The licenses are recognized by the Wildlife Department and provide Cherokee citizens the same privileges of an Oklahoma hunting and fishing license.

In return, the Cherokee Nation is giving $2 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for each license the tribe issues. The regular cost of a state hunting and fishing combination license is $42.

The licenses are issued to Cherokee citizens in Oklahoma at no cost to them. The tribal members living in Oklahoma also receive one free deer hunting tag and one free turkey hunting tag per year, but must buy additional tags.

The Cherokees also must comply with all other state wildlife regulations such as bag limits and season dates.

The governor's office also has been negotiating with the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma on a hunting and fishing compact.

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›