Tuesday, August 15, 2017 - 05:00 pm

FORT YATES, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum and Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that directs state and tribal authorities on regulating an elk hunting season within the Standing Rock Reservation.

The North Dakota Game and Fish Department and Standing Rock Game, Fish and Wildlife Department developed the MOU to facilitate coordination of elk management and law enforcement efforts relating to each other’s authority within the boundaries of the reservation.

“This new elk season is the right thing for landowners, tribal members, wildlife and North Dakota hunting enthusiasts,” Burgum said. “It also serves as a great example of how through collaboration and dialogue we can achieve better outcomes for all.”

The MOU establishes elk hunting unit E6, and emphasizes the coordination between Standing Rock Game, Fish and Wildlife Department, private landowners and the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. Through this coordination, the goals are to responsibly manage elk within this area, maximize recreational opportunities for all licensed hunters, and reduce impacts to crops and feed supplies on private lands.

“This is a good example of collaborating for the benefit of the land, wildlife and tribal members. Rather than having two different seasons on fee land and tribal land, this establishes a single season that’s consistent for all hunters,” Archambault said, adding it could lead to future collaboration on other hunting seasons.

“This is an important day,” said Terry Steinwand, North Dakota Game and Fish Department director. “The MOU is the first official collaborative management of the wildlife resource in North Dakota between the state and Standing Rock Tribe.”

Burgum and Archambault signed the MOU during a meeting of the Standing Rock Tribal Council in Fort Yates, where the governor, Lt. Gov. Brent Sanford and North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission Executive Director Scott Davis heard about challenges facing the tribe and discussed additional opportunities for collaboration between the state and tribe.