The state of Oklahoma has reached an agreement with a second tribe to provide hunting and fishing licenses to its members.
Gov. Mary Fallin and Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton on Wednesday signed a hunting and fishing compact that grants the Choctaw Nation the ability to purchase at least 50,000 annual hunting and fishing licenses at $2 apiece for its resident citizens.
In addition, the Choctaw Nation will pay a lump sum of $200,000 and an administrative cost payment of $75,000 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Oklahoma reached a similar agreement with the Cherokee Nation last year. That three-year compact took effect Jan. 1.
The Choctaw Nation compact is in place for three years — Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2019.
The tribe will provide all members ages of 16 to 64 with hunting and fishing licenses at no charge to them beginning in January.
The tribe posted notice on its webpage that online applications will be available beginning Oct. 1.
The special licenses, issued by the state and bearing the Choctaw Nation seal, will entitle tribal members to hunt and fish in all 77 Oklahoma counties on tribal or state lands with all the same rights and responsibilities as other state license holders.
The Choctaw license also includes trapping and furbearer licenses, a state waterfowl stamp, up to four turkey licenses, up to six deer licenses, a land access permit and waived access fees to Three Rivers and Honobia Creek wildlife management areas.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation issued a statement noting that the licenses issued through the compact will generate additional federal matching funds for wildlife conservation efforts.
“This compact provides the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation with additional funds for wildlife conservation through federal grants and ensures the Choctaw Nation will adopt the state season lengths and bag limits on their trust lands,” said Wildlife Department Director Richard Hatcher.
Hatcher and Batton also signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing that the Choctaw Nation will maintain the Wildlife Department-owned Lake Nanih Waiya, which is a place of historical significance to the tribe.
The Wildlife Department may provide training and guidance as well as communicate with the nation regarding any major improvements.
The department continues to have sole responsibility of managing wildlife conservation efforts around the lake.