State lets Choctaw hunting and fishing agreement expire

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Choctaw Nation
Kelsey Brown

DURANT – The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s Hunting and Fishing Compact with the State of Oklahoma is set to expire on Dec. 31, 2019. Though the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and the Choctaw Nation have agreed upon a proposal to renew, the compact has had no response from the Governor’s Office.

“We are disappointed that negotiations have come to a standstill with state administration on the Hunting and Fishing Compact,” said Jack Austin, Jr., Assistant Chief for the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, who has led hunting and fishing compact negotiations for the tribe. “This program has been a mutually beneficial agreement, benefitting both tribal members and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.”

The Choctaw Nation began discussions to renew the hunting and fishing agreement in August and received approval for its proposal from the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife. The proposal included Choctaw Nation’s guaranteed purchase of thousands of state licenses for its tribal members and, combined with federal rebates, would have created $4,875,000 in projected revenue for the state in 2020.

On Jan. 1, 2020, tribal members are advised to obtain their state hunting and fishing licenses through the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

“We are pursuing other avenues to provide opportunities for our tribal members and protect the Choctaw cultural tradition of hunting and fishing,” said Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. “While we have always been interested in a strong tribal-state partnership and remain open to negotiation on this issue, we are investigating alternative solutions that strengthen our tribal sovereignty.”

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