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Council action is not needed to approve falconry

Council action is not needed to approve falconry

By R. L. Thompson

During public comments at the December 11, 2023 Okemah City Council meeting, Daniel “Reride” Smith and Cyrstal Stacey appeared before the Okemah City Council to request the council’s approval for their falcon to hunt around Okemah Lake.

Reride is certified by the United States Department of Agriculture as a licensed Class C Exhibitor under the Animal Welfare Act. Crystal Stacey is a licensed Master Class Falconer through Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and a Licensed Wildlife Educator through US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Reride and Cyrstal requested approval to hunt small game, squirrels and rats, around Okemah Lake with their falcon.  At the December 11, 2023 meeting Mayor Gott indicated the item would be on the agenda at the next City Council meeting.

The Okemah City Council canceled their last meeting of year in December and therefore the January 8 meeting was their next meeting.

During the January 8 meeting, Councilman Wayne Bacon inquired about ReRide’s request for falconry approval. He was informed it would be addressed during the Okemah Utilities Authority (OEA) meeting which immediately followed the city council meeting.

During the OEA meeting, Mayor Gott informed the members that the city of Okemah doesn’t have to do anything regarding approval for falconry. He said the person needed a license to hunt and needed to abide by state and federal laws. He stated that if the person complied, they would be allowed to hunt. The mayor did not see any liability for the city concerning falconry, noting it is a natural hunt.

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