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Bill that would open public lands for hunting guide operations goes to governor's desk

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A bill that is now on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk for his signature or veto would allow hunting guides to operate in public hunting areas such as the state’s Cherokee Wildlife Management Area in Cherokee County, seen here on the right side of a north-south trail in 2015. Camp Gruber, an Oklahoma National Guard training camp, is on the left side of the trail. [KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World file]
A bill that is now on Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk for his signature or veto would allow hunting guides to operate in public hunting areas such as the state’s Cherokee Wildlife Management Area in Cherokee County, seen here on the right side of a north-south trail in 2015. Camp Gruber, an Oklahoma National Guard training camp, is on the left side of the trail. [KELLY BOSTIAN/Tulsa World file]

A bill that would direct the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to create a system for hunting guides to operate in public hunting areas narrowly passed the state House on Monday.

Senate Bill 566, by Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, and Kevin McDugle, R-Broken Arrow, would authorize the Wildlife Department to regulate and assess fees for hunting guides and outfitters in Oklahoma's public hunting areas, which historically have been off limits to for-profit operations.

The Legislature mandated in 2010 that fishing guides be licensed and listed by the Wildlife Department. There are no requirements to obtain the $90 license, although Coast Guard-certified guides can get the license for $20.

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