In 1960, efforts began for establishing several exotic bird species in the state, and the first fall turkey season was held. Two years later the first elk hunt was held and 42 elk were harvested.
Two years later the Department installed 14 radio base and relay stations, giving the Department statewide two-way radio communication.
The 1960s saw the Department striving to provide the state's sportsmen with quality outdoor recreation. A significant trout stocking program began in 1964; mule deer from Colorado were released in the Glass Hills and the first spring turkey season was opened. The Department moved into its own building in 1966, the same year the first antelope season in state history was held.
The Department first offered hunter safety programs in 1965. Initially offered on a voluntary basis, the course became mandatory in 1987 for all persons born after Jan. 1, 1972.
The '60s and '70s saw various hunting seasons expanded, a stabilized deer herd and new fish species introduced such as the striped bass. The recreational opportunities for anglers and hunters were growing.
Great strides were made in the '80s. The trout stocking program was expanded; saugeye and giant Canada geese establishment programs were initiated. Three new programs -- Conservation Education, Aquatic Resources Education and Nongame Wildlife -- were created. In addition, hunters saw the deer harvest jump from about 14,000 in 1980 to more than 70,000 in 1997, expansion of controlled hunts and the first statewide turkey season. Three major wildlife management areas were purchased, adding 52,500 acres to Department-managed lands.