CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Choctaw Nation Chief Gary Batton have signed a hunting and fishing compact, which will allow the tribe to buy hunting and fishing licenses at a bulk rate.
The agreement 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 (ODWC) each year that the three-year compact is in effect.
The compact (https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/filelog/91317.pdf) takes effect January 1, 2017, and runs through December 31, 2019. The tw executives announced the agreement on Wednesday (August 31).
Under the compact, the Choctaw Nation will annually purchase at least 50,000 hunting and fishing licenses from the ODWC for all Oklahoma-based Choctaw citizens between the ages of 16 and 64. The hunting and fishing licenses issued through the compact will generate additional federal matching funds for Oklahoma's wildlife conservation efforts.
The Choctaw Nation compact licenses issued to the Choctaw Nation citizens will include the same annual hunting and fishing privileges that the sportsmen and -women of Oklahoma can currently purchase. All ODWC rules and regulations apply.
“This is another example of the state of Oklahoma and tribal nations working together,” said Fallin. “This compact is mutually beneficial for the state of Oklahoma and the Choctaw Nation. The large sale of these hunting and fishing licenses will generate revenue for conservation efforts as well as ensure that more Oklahomans are following the standard rules and regulations associated with these licenses. In return, the Choctaw Nation receives a discount for the licenses it purchases.”
“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 ODWC Director Richard Hatcher.
Batton said, "This agreement was very important to me because it helps sustain our traditional ways of life and hopefully encourages our children to be hunters and providers for their family in the future."
Hatcher and Batton also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (https://www.sos.ok.gov/documents/filelog/91318.pdf) agreeing that the Choctaw Nation will maintain the Wildlife Department-owned Lake Nanih Waiya, which is a place of historical significance to the Choctaw Nation. The ODWC may provide training and guidance as well as communicate with the nation regarding any major improvements. The ODWC also continues to have sole responsibility of managing wildlife conservation efforts around the lake.
“We look forward to additional, mutually beneficial, cooperative agreements with the Choctaw Nation,” Hatcher said.
The agreement covers the same time period as the compact, from January 1, 2017, until Dec. 31, 2019.
In May 2015, Fallin signed a similar compact with the Cherokee Nation leadership.