TAHLEQUAH, Okla. (KFOR) – As the existing hunting and fishing compact between tribal nations and the state of Oklahoma is set to expire, the Cherokee Nation is taking steps to regulate hunting and fishing on its own.

On Monday, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, Jr. signed an executive order asserting the tribe’s treaty right for citizens to hunt and fish within the Cherokee Nation Reservation.

Tribal leaders say the executive order’s terms are not impacted by Gov. Kevin Stitt’s refusal to renegotiate the previous hunting and fishing compact.

“As I have said before, the Cherokee Nation has outlasted many who tried to take away our sovereignty and destroy our identity as a people. Gov. Stitt’s refusal to work in good faith with tribal nations on a hunting and fishing compact that has provided millions of dollars in previous years to state conservation efforts is astounding, but it is not going to hinder our efforts to exercise our inherent rights as Cherokees – rights that have been reinforced in treaties with the United States,” Chief Hoskin said. “In the absence of a 2022 hunting and fishing compact with the state of Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation Secretary of Natural Resources Office and our tribe’s Wildlife Conservation department will manage and regulate hunting and fishing in the Cherokee Nation Reservation.”

Officials say they will not issue specific hunting or fishing licenses, but will allow Cherokee citizens to use their tribal citizenship card or Cherokee Nation photo ID in place of a license.

Cherokee citizens will be required to follow bag limits and season dates, which align with those of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Hunters and anglers must still have landowner permission to hunt and fish on private property as they always have.

“Cherokees have always been good stewards of land, water and wildlife resources. We have relied on hunting and fishing since time immemorial as a means of subsistence and as an integral part of our cultural lifeways,” said Deputy Chief Bryan Warner. “As a tribal government, we are prepared to exercise these rights on our reservation moving forward. Earlier this year, we signed the historic Cherokee Nation Park, Wildlands, Fishing and Hunting Preserve Act of 2021, signaling a new era for conservation on our public lands and designating several new Cherokee Nation preserves. That legislation gave us a road map to preserve our culture and our resources, and it will be crucial to supporting our hunting and fishing efforts outlined in Chief Hoskin’s executive order.”

Tribal leaders say they will introduce an electronic check system for reporting wildlife harvest later this month.