About the ODWC
The mission of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is the management, protection, and enhancement of wildlife resources and habitat for the scientific, educational, recreational, aesthetic, and economic benefits to present and future generations of citizens and visitors to Oklahoma.
Game and Fish Department Established
In 1909, the Association presented the second state legislature with a bill asking for the governor to appoint a state game warden and authorize the warden to hire eight salaried employees. The law was adopted and the Game and Fish Department was created. The first hunting license came into being with the fee set at $1.25.
Four years later the Department disbanded and the $94,000 accumulated from hunting license sales was put into the state capitol building fund. State sportsmen protested until finally the Department was reestablished in 1915. The first state hatchery was built at Medicine Park after the Department received $70,000 in appropriations.
In 1917, the legislature returned the Department's $94,000, specifying that the funds be used for developing game preserves and building fish hatcheries.
Throughout the 1920s more hatcheries were built, including one near Durant (1916-17), near Tahlequah (1924-26), Heavener (1925-26) and Cherokee in 1929.
The 1925 Legislature established the Oklahoma Game and Fish Commission largely through the encouragement of the
Oklahoma Division of the Isaac Walton League of America. The first fishing licenses were issued the same year and for the first time Oklahoma also protected its furbearing mammals.
Expansion During '30s and '40s
The 1930s and early '40s brought refinement to the game management techniques in Oklahoma. Efforts to stock ring-necked pheasants, initiated in the '20s, became fruitful in the 1930s. Bobwhite quail management was also emphasized. In 1943, changes in the authority delegated to various personnel made the state game warden duties comparable to those of a modern Department director. The Game and Fish Department's first monthly magazine, Oklahoma Game and Fish News, was born in 1945.
During this time the state capitol building housed the Department. The Department suffered from a lack of space until 1942 when it moved to the first floor. Meanwhile, fisheries personnel conducted research in basement rooms at the capitol.
In 1947, the state Game and Fish Warden title was changed to Director. The establishment of a single office in Oklahoma City centralized and strengthened the enforcement of the state game statutes.
The first pheasant season opened in 1948 with free permits issued for certain northwestern counties. At least one dream of early Oklahoma wildlife biologists had finally become a reality after 22 years of effort with the oriental import.
The game and fish statutes were updated in 1949, with fees for fishing and hunting licenses rising to $2, or $3.50 for a combination license.
Early Efforts Begin to Show Results
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.
Looking to the Future
Early Oklahoma conservationists fought to save the last remnants of the state's game animals and fish for future generations. The men who formulated Oklahoma's modern wildlife conservation practices in the '40s and '50s, emphasized the wise use of our outdoor resources. They built a tradition, a tradition based on providing variety and quality in state hunting and fishing. The Department has retained this tradition it will continue to clearly demonstrate this by building for the future a healthy environment where nature can survive in harmony with the needs of modern man.
History of the Wildlife Department
J.D. Strong was selected in September 2016 by the eight-member Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission to serve as the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
J.D. Strong came on board as Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation in October 2016 after 23 years of experience working in the environmental arena. He had been Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board since 2010. Though he originally started his career doing water and biological research for the OWRB, his time there was split while he served as former Gov. Brad Henry’s Secretary of the Environment from 2008-10 and before that as Director of Environmental Affairs then Chief of Staff in the state Office of the Secretary of Environment. He brings to the Department his rich experience working with legislators, sister agencies, partner organizations and key stakeholders on a number of complex environmental issues, such as the historic water settlement with the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations.
An active sportsman, Strong is a fifth-generation Oklahoman from Weatherford. He earned a degree in wildlife ecology from Oklahoma State University in 1993.
Assistant Director, Operations
Assistant Director of Administration & Finance
Information and Education Chief
Law Enforcement Chief
Who pays for wildlife in Oklahoma?
The agency receives no general tax revenues.
The bulk of Department income is generated from the sale of annual hunting and fishing licenses. The agency still works for all of the citizens of Oklahoma, though. The next time you see a white-tailed deer, a bald eagle’s nest or a child’s smile after catching his or her first fish, you can thank the Wildlife Department and the many dedicated sportsmen and women who pay to keep our outdoor heritage alive.
Sources of Income
The Department has an annual budget of about $61.5 million. The agency receives no general tax revenues. The bulk of Department income is generated from the sale of annual hunting and fishing licenses.
Funds received from:
- Hunting and Fishing License Sales (44%)
- Federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Grants (34 %)
- Other Income (22%)
- Agriculture and Oil Leases
- Other Wildlife Sales (penalties and fines collected due to fish and game law violations, magazine sales, Deer Management Assistance Program, the sale of used equipment and vehicles, boat and motor registration, etc.)
- Donations and Misc. Income ( endangered species funds, from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for various projects, from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act for wetlands protection, and from the Forest Stewardship program.)
Please note that we cannot be responsible for the accuracy or content of other agencies or organizations. Thank you for visiting Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
- Chickasaw National Recreation Area
- Discover the Forest - encourages and helps young people get outdoors.
- Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
- National Marine Fisheries Service
- National Park Service
- National Wildlife Refuge System
- Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge
- Little River National Wildlife Refuge
- Optima National Wildlife Refuge
- Ozark Plateau National Wildlife Refuge
- Salt Plains National Wildlife Refuge
- Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge
- Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge
- Washita National Wildlife Refuge
- Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge
- Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Aquaculture
- U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Lake Level Information)
- U.S. Dept. Agriculture Wildlife Services
- USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service -Oklahoma Offices
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- US Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Aid
- U.S. Forest Service
OTHER STATE FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCIES
- Alabama Game and Fish Division
- Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Arizona Game and Fish Department
- Arkansas Game and Fish Commission
- California Department of Fish and Game
- Colorado Division of Wildlife
- Connecticut Fisheries Division and Wildlife Division
- Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Department of Natural Resources
- Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission
- Georgia Wildlife Resources Division
- Hawaii Division of Forestry and Wildlife and Hawaii Division of Aquatic Resources
- Idaho Department of Fish and Game
- Illinois Department of Natural Resources
- Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources
- Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
- Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources
- Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
- Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife
- Maryland Department of Natural Resources
- Massachusetts Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement
- Michigan Department of Resources
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks
- Missouri Department of Conservation
- Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks
- Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
- Nevada Division of Wildlife
- New Hampshire Fish and Game Department
- New Jersey Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife
- New Mexico Department of Game and Fish
- New York Department of Environmental Conservation
- North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
- North Dakota Game and Fish Department
- Ohio Division of Wildlife
- Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
- Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
- Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission
- Pennsylvania Game Commission
- Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
- South Carolina Department of Natural Resources
- South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks
- Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
- Utah Division of Wildlife Resources
- Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife
- Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries
- Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
- Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
- Wyoming Game and Fish Department
Fishing Related Links
- 89er Chapter of Trout Unlimited
- Anglers Legacy Program
- Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation
- Directory of Aquaculture Producers
- Texas Parks and Wildlife Golden Alga Site
- Fish Consumption Advisories
- Boating information link
- Lake Associations
- Lake Level
- Oklahoma Water Atlas
- Oklahoma Corps Lakes Gateway
- 100th Meridian Initiative
- Protect Your Waters
- Take Me Fishing - Oklahoma
- Trout Unlimited
- Tulsa Flyfishers
Conservation related links
- American Bird Conservancy
- American Fisheries Society
- Angler Survey
- Association for Conservation Information
- Association of Zoos and Aquariums
- Bat Conservation International
- Bird Cinema
- Birds of Oklahoma
- Bow hunting council of Oklahoma
- Carp Anglers
- Catfish Angling
- Directory of Aquaculture Producers
- Ducks Unlimited
- Fishing Resources Search
- Fur Takers of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Fishing Notebook
- Hunt Fair Chase
- Hunt and Fish Finders
- Hunting and Recreational Lease Registry
- Hunter Survey
- International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies
- Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management
- IssacWalton League of America
- Kiamichi-Country Outdoor News
- Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation
- Lorenz's OK Seeds, LLC
- MidWest Frogs
- National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative
- National Shooting Sports Foundation shooting range database
- National Trappers Association
- National Wildlife Federation
- National Wild Turkey Federation
- Noble Foundation
- North American Grouse Partnership
- Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center - Waterfowl Identification
- Oklahoma Aquarium
- Oklahoma Bass Fishing
- Oklahoma Bird Identification
- Oklahoma Biological Survey
- Oklahoma Comprehensive Water Plan
- Oklahoma Fish Stickers Bowfishing Club
- Oklahoma Fur Bearer Alliance
- Oklahoma State Game Warden Association
- Oklahoma National Wild Turkey Federation
- Oklahoma Predator Hunter Association
- Oklahoma Taxidermists Association
- Oklahoma Station Safari Club International
- Oklahoma Youth Hunter Education Challenge
- Oklahoma Mesonet (60 hour Oklahoma Weather forecasts)
- Old & Antique Fishing Lure
- Quail Unlimited
- Quail Forever
- Pheasants Forever
- Recreation on public lands
- Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
- Safari Club International
- Safari Club Big Game Records Information
- Skiatook Lake
- Six Old Geezers Lake Texoma Striper Fishing
- Snakes of North America
- Southern Division American Fisheries Society Reservoir Committee (artificial structures and aquatic vegetation)
- Southwest Power Authority (Lake levels and generation schedules)
- Sutton Avian Research Center
- Teaming With Wildlife
- The Audubon Society
- The Nature Conservancy
- Trosper Archery Club
- Trout Unlimited
- Tulsa Flyfishers
- United Sportmen's Alliance
- Weather Information
- Wildlife Forever
- The Wildlife Society
1895 – First game laws passed by Territorial lawmakers – Rainbow trout first stocked in Oklahoma by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
1907 – Oklahoma became a state
1909 – Hunting licenses established – First Game Warden hired – Wildlife Department created
1911 – Ring-necked pheasant first introduced
1913 – Legislature closes Department, $94,000 in license funds transferred to State Capitol Building Fund
1915 – Department reopens with appropriation from Legislature – Medicine Park Fish Hatchery (J.A. Manning) opens
1917 – Legislature returns $94,000 to Department
1918 – Purchase of McCurtain County Wilderness Area
1925 – First fishing licenses established
1929 – Byron Fish hatchery opens
1931 – Game Farm opens at Darlington
1933 – First deer gun season
1934 – Holdenville Hatchery opens
1944 – Deer relocation program initiated
1945 – Information & Education Division created – "Outdoor Oklahoma" magazine established
1946 – First deer archery season – First weekly news releases issued
1947 – Cooperative Fisheries Experimental Station established at University of Oklahoma (now exists as Oklahoma Fisheries Research Lab.)
1948 – First private pond stocking policy adopted – Program to re-establish turkey populations initiated 1949 -- First Rio Grande turkeys released (Harper County)
1950 -- First walleye stocking in Canton Reservoir and Tenkiller Reservoir
1955 -- Striped bass stocked in Great Salt Plains and Lake Murray (not successful) – Hunter safety program initiated
1957 -- Department became a constitutional body
1958 -- First rainbow trout stocking in Illinois River below Tenkiller
1959 -- Lake Etling winter-time trout stocking program begins
1960 -- Autumn marked the state's first fall turkey season.
1962 -- Forty-two elk were harvested at Oklahoma's first elk hunt. The Department installed 14 radio base and relay stations, allowing statewide two-way
1962 -- First antlerless deer season
1965 -- Mule deer from Colorado were released in the Glass Hills and the first spring turkey season was opened.
1965 -- Department emblem established – First spring turkey season
1966 -- First attempt at introducing giant Canada geese.
1966 -- Opened state's first antelope season. The Department moved into its own building near the state Capitol.
1967 -- Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area land purchased.
1969 -- First primitive deer season.
1969 -- The first Lifetime Combination License was sold for $150.
1970s Various hunting seasons were lengthened and the state boasted a stabilized deer herd.
1970 -- First successful natural reproduction by striped bass in Keystone
1971 -- Environmental Program established -- First eastern turkeys released (LeFlore and Delaware Counties)
1971 -- Wild turkey restocking program successfully re-established the eastern wild turkey throughout much of the state east of U.S. Highway 69.
1972 -- Environment section created as a clearing house for all pollution related complaints and inquiries. It was later incorporated into the natural resources
1974 -- First natural reproduction by striped bass in Texoma
1977 -- Striped bass hybrids first stocked in Oklahoma (Sooner Lake)
1976 -- Started production of a weekly 30- minute show for Oklahoma Educational Television stations. It emphasizes wildlife management and provides
useful information on outdoor recreational activities.
1977 -- Started statewide furbearer program to assure the continued availability of furbearer programs for many years to come.
1979 -- Operation Game Thief telephone installed
1980 -- Duck Stamp Program initiated
-- Lower Mountain Fork River year round trout stocking program begins
--Giant Canada goose introduction
1980s -- Controlled hunts were expanded, and Oklahoma had its first statewide turkey season. The Department purchased three major wildlife
management areas, adding 52,500 acres to the program.
1980 -- Began waterfowl habitat development program utilizing funds generated from the new $4 Oklahoma Waterfowl Stamp.
1981 -- Nongame Wildlife Program and tax checkoff established
1982 -- First successful introduction of giant Canada geese
1983 --James Porter breaks the 43-year-old state record for largemouth bass with a catch weighing 12 pounds, 1.6 ounces at Lake Lawtonka -- Fish
habitat development program initiated
1983 -- Department assumed management of a 10,000-acre wildlife management area to be developed in conjunction with the McGee Creek reservoir in
Atoka County. The Department purchases a 160-acre addition to Lexington Wildlife Management Area.
1984 -- Developed statewide conservation education program with the primary instructional vehicle being Project WILD.
1984 -- Extended hunter safety-training classes from a six-hour to a 10-hour course for certification. All game wardens recertified as hunter safety instructors for their assigned areas.
1985 -- Saugeye first stocked in state (Lake Thunderbird )
1986 -- Lake Watonga winter-time trout stocking program begins
1988 -- Trout stocking program was expanded from two to five areas. Quartz Mountain State Park wintertime trout stocking begins. First brown trout
stocking takes place in lower Mountain Fork River.
1988 -- Aquatic Resources Education Program was established The program teaches aquatic resource conservation, fishing techniques, safety, ethics and
fish identification and biology to youth, handicapped and other target groups.
1988 --- Lower Mountain Fork River year round trout stocking program begins
1989 -- Oklahoma Angler Recognition Program was started under the Aquatic Resources Education Program. It increases awareness of the state's aquatic
resources and encourages selective catch and release of a trophy fish.
1989 -- The deer harvest jumped from approximately 14,000 in 1980 to more than 38,000.
1990s -- Almost 40,000 acres was added to Department-owned lands. They include: Hackberry Flat; Packsaddle; Blue River; Yourman; and Cooper
WMAs; expansion of the Deep Fork WMA; and Selman Bat Cave.
1991 -- Brown trout introduced to the tailwaters below Broken Bow Reservoir.
1991 -- Nationally recognized Packsaddle quail mortality study begins
1992 -- Natural Resources Section created to coordinate the Department's environmental, nongame wildlife and conservation education programs.
1992 -- Cooperative outreach project with Sportfishing Promotion Council, which sponsors the 1-800-ASK-FISH phone line. This is a toll-free, 24-hour
hotline for anglers needing information about fishing in Oklahoma.
1992 -- Deer Management Assistance Program initiated to help landowners and managers manage deer herd as well as hunting opportunities.
1993 -- Biodiversity Project initiated to produce statewide plan for conserving Oklahoma's diverse ecosystems.
1993 -- Hunter Education law changed in September, requiring persons under 16 who are hunting big game with a firearm to complete a hunter education
1993 -- Durant Hatchery was renovated, increasing annual production by 1.7 million fish. Department fish hatcheries stocked almost 30 million fish over the
course of two years.
1994 -- Robbers Cave State Park winter time trout stocking begins.
1994 -- Wildlife Conservation license plates introduced. Two plate designs introduced: a white-tailed deer and a scissor-tailed flycatcher in flight. Currently
five plates are available including an Eastern wild turkey, bobwhite quail and a largemouth bass.
1995 -- Five wetland/waterfowl development projects totaling 1,367 acres were completed. They include: Billy Creek, Walker Creek, Hackberry Flat
(Phase I), Oilton, Deep Fork/Harold Stuart and Deep Fork/Swift Bottoms. A total of 165 acres of forested wetlands were restored through
seeding/planting methods on the Deep Fork WMA and Whitegrass Flats tracts.
1995 -- Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program underway. Universal License system initiated. Controlled hunt drawings conducted by computer.
1995 -- Purchased 340-acre Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area.
1996 -- New watchable wildlife area at Byron hatchery. This is the first watchable wildlife area on a Department-owned area.
1996 -- Darlington Game Farm closed. Ground broken for Hackberry Flat WMA.
1996 -- ODWC embarked on a unique partnership with a corporate landowner in developing a new WMA. Honobia Creek WMA is the result of a
partnership with Hancock Timber Resources Group and covers 200,000 acres in Pushmataha and LeFlore counties.
1997 -- Youth turkey and deer hunts have been expanded. Another record deer harvest occurred with more than 71,000 animals harvested.
1997 -- Lake Pawhuska winter-time trout stocking program begins -- Selman bat viewing tours began.
1998 -- Stream management program begins. Prairie Chicken Season closed. Three Rivers WMA opens.
1998 -- Expanded a top-line Internet web site that is updated weekly to include all the latest ODWC information - www.wildlifedepartment.com.
1998 -- Hunter education program began offering home study certification.
1998 -- Designed and developed a 23-acre urban wetland and interpretive trail in the Teal Ridge housing addition in Stillwater.
1998 -- Bass Pro sells hunting and fishing licenses 24 hours a day, seven days a week, over the phone.
1998 -- Three Rivers WMA stems from a partnership with Weyerhaeuser Company and covers 450,000 acres of rugged timberland in McCurtain County.
Residents and nonresidents alike can enjoy the many activities both areas offer with the simple purchase of a land access fee permit.
1999 -- Department offers weekly news releases by e-mail.
2000 -- For the first time deer harvest numbers tops 100,000.
2001 -- First Special Antlerless season is held in December and expanded deer archery season in January.
2002 -- Department partners with the Oklahoma Aquarium and relocates its Tulsa area offices to Jenks.
2003 -- First statewide youth antlerless deer gun season is held in October.
2003 -- Gun deer season extended to 16 days statewide.
2003 -- Hunting and fishing licenses available online.
2003 -- Maps of the Department’s Wildlife Management Areas are made available free to sportsmen over the Internet.
2003 -- Special emphasis given to helping private landowners improve fish and wildlife habitat through a grant from the National Resources Conservation
Service. Four technicians dedicated to assisting landowners are hired.
2004 -- Turkey bag limit increased and southeast season dates extended (for spring 2005 season).
2004 -- Archery in the Schools program developed to introduce students to the sport of archery.
2004 -- Fishing and Hunting Legacy Permit created to provide funds for the purchase of additional lands for outdoor recreation opportunities.
2004 -- Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission and Renewable Resources, LLC, agreement, allows for almost 30,000 acres of commercial
forestland to remain open to public use as part of the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
2005 -- "Hughes Crossing at the Blue River Public Fishing and Hunting Area dedication.
2005 -- An internet point of sales license system is implemented.
2005 -- New partner joins Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area with a land access agreement with J.M. Huber Corporation, a private forest
investment company, to maintain public recreational access to 4,440 acres of the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
2005 -- Department hosted the first Oklahoma Wildlife Expo at the Lazy E Arena. More than 45,000 people attended.
2005 -- Development of the Evening Hole and Lost Creek projects on the Lower Mountain Fork River began.
2005 -- Ozark Plateau WMA opens.
2005 -- Oklahoma's Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Strategy is approved.
2006 -- Reproduction of rainbow trout was first documented in the Lower Mountain Fork River.
2006 -- Oklahoma’s first black bass hybrid state record was caught at Veteran’s Lake.
2006 -- The Lower Illinois River Simp and Helen Watts Public Fishing and Hunting Area was purchased with funds from the sale of fishing and hunting
2006 -- New opportunities added for hunters and trappers. Sportsmen are allowed to take red fox.
2006 -- The Evening Hole and Lost Creek projects on the Lower Mountain Fork River completed.
2006 -- Second annual Wildlife Expo draws nearly 35,000 people
2007 -- Tenth Anniversary of the Selman Bat Watch
2007 -- Controlled Hunts application submission is all done electronically through the Department's Web site.
2007 -- Wildlife Department creates pilot paddlefish management program near Twin Bridges area of the Neosho River to collect important data for the
Department's paddlefish management plan, process paddlefish meat for anglers and salvage paddle fish eggs.
2007 -- Department initiates new wetland restoration project at Drummond Flat area to restore a unique wetland habitat and create more opportunities for
sportsmen and other wildlife enthusiasts.
2007 -- Hunting participation encouraged through apprentice-designated license which encourage those who have never hunted to do so under supervision
of a licensed hunter.
2008 -- Lake Record Fish Program established to recognize Oklahoma anglers and fish. Thirteen major lakes and 13 species of popular Oklahoma fish are included initially.
2008 -- On Nov. 4, 2008 Oklahomans voiced their opinions in the ballot box on hunting, fishing and trapping by amending the State Constitution to give all people the right to hunt, trap, fish and take game and fish. It also makes hunting, fishing, and trapping the preferred means to manage certain fish and game animals.
2008 -- More than 3,000 acres in southeast Oklahoma are opened to public hunting and fishing in LeFlore County’s Cucumber Creek area.
2008 -- Oklahoma Archery in the Schools program surpasses 100 school milestone and state tournament draws more than 800 students.
2008 -- Two new WMAs were acquired in 2008, Cimarron Bluff and Cimarron Hills in Harper County provide anglers and hunters access to more than 7,100 acres of public land.
2009 -- Groundbreaking of 7,000 square foot Arcadia Conservation Education Area teaching facility. The new facility will be used for a number of education and outreach purposes including hunter education and aquatic education classes and Archery in the Schools training.
2009 -- Five year hunting and fishing license offered to sportsmen.
2009 -- Archery in the Schools State Shoot had over 1,000 students from approximately 160 schools at the Cox Convention
2009 -- First Black Bear Season in Oklahoma opened on October 1st, 2009 in SE Oklahoma (Latimer, LeFlore, McCurtain and Pushmataha Counties). On opening day Joe Russell of Neshoba became the first Oklahoma hunter to harvest a black bear.
2009 -- Oklahoma archers make history when the state’s first ever antelope archery season opened on September 14. Archery hunters can now purchase antelope licenses over-the-counter for the 14-day archery season without having to be drawn for a hunt
2009 -- Deer hunters were given the option of checking their deer in using the internet for the first time in 2009. The Department continues to explore the best ways to use technology to improve wildlife management across the state.
2009 -- New multi purpose building at Lake Arcadia Conservation Education Area begun
2009 -- U.S. Olympic Committee designates Univ. of Central Oklahoma as an official Olympic and Paralympic training site for archery (which the Arcadia C.E.A. will be the site of future UCO archery range facilities).
2010 -- Oklahoma black bear archery season opened and closed in one day when hunters reached the quota of 20 bears Oct. 1 in southeast Oklahoma. A total of 32 black bears were harvested Oct. 1, which is 13 more than were harvested in about a month’s time last year.
2010 -- Oklahoma opens archery season to crossbow hunters.
2010 -- Sixth annual Wildlife Expo draws record crowds with an estimated attendance of almost 52,000 visitors.
2010 -- Approval of a memorandum of agreement with OG&E to offset the impact of the 151 MW “Keenan Phase II” wind farm on lesser prairie chickens in northwest Oklahoma. OG&E is purchasing 100 percent of the energy produced from the wind farm, which is owned by an independent wind farm developer. The agreement secures $4.9 million for projects such as conservation easements to protect undeveloped property, management agreements to restore property with critical habitat and acquisition of land by the Wildlife Department to protect and restore habitat for lesser prairie chickens.
2011 -- A new cooperative agreement between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and Molpus Timberlands Management, LLC (Molpus) will allow continued public recreation on 16,311 acres of the Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area in southeast Oklahoma.
2012 -- Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program celebrates 75 years. Through various acts passed by the federal government, taxes are charged on various products and equipment used by hunters, anglers and shooters. Money collected from these taxes is dispersed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to the different state fish and wildlife agencies that must be used on conservation. In Oklahoma, WSFR funds have been utilized by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for countless projects ranging from wildlife population management to habitat restoration and education.
-Honobia Creek adds 22,347 acres for sportsmen. A cooperative agreement between the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation and a timber company with land in southeast Oklahoma secured more than 22,000 previously unavailable acres that benefit both hunters and anglers. The agreement expands Honobia Creek Wildlife Management Area to 102,346 acres.
2013 -- As a way to check game more accurately and conveniently, all deer, elk, and those turkeys that require checking will now be reported through the e-check system available online at the Wildlife Department.
-A new state record rainbow trout caught from Lake Watonga breaking a 47-year old record. The trout weighed in at 10lb, 10.56-oz and 27 ¾ inches in length.
- During a three-week period, the Fisheries Division of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and Conservation released a record setting 2.22 million Florida-strain largemouth bass into 44 Oklahoma lakes increasing the potential for trophy bass for a long time to come.
2015 -- Year for the record books…new state records set for alligator gar, bigmouth buffalo, pronghorn, mule deer, rainbow trout, typical elk and black bear!
- ODWC Headquarters moves to a new building on NE 36th Street during renovations of original location.
- New hunting and fishing rules approved by Wildlife Commission. Some of the more notable changes were :
- The statewide bag limit for striped hybrid bass will be 20 per day with only five greater than 20 inches long allowed.
- Rules for shooting ranges on WMAs are being clarified to address safety concerns. Among these rules are the requirement of eye and ear protection while shooting, shooters 15 and younger must be supervised by an adult, and shooters must possess a valid state hunting license or combination hunting-fishing license unless exempt.
- The first Oklahoma and Texas State Convention of the Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever organization takes place in Ardmore. These groups have made great strides in raising funds for habitat improvement and youth programs in both Oklahoma and Texas.
- 2014 Angler Guide
- 2013 Angler Guide
- 2012 Angler Guide
- 2011 Angler Guide
- 2010 Angler Guide
- 2009 Angler Guide
- 2008 Angler Guide
- 2007 Angler Guide
- 2006 Angler Guide
Big Game Report
- 2014-2015 Big Game Report
- 2013-2014 Big Game Report
- 2013 Big Game Report
- 2012 Big Game Report
- 2011 Big Game Report
- 2010 Big Game Report
- 2009 Big Game Report
- 2008 Big Game Report
- 2007 Big Game Report
- 2006 Big Game Report
- 2005 Big Game Report
Controlled Hunt Results
- 2016 Controlled Hunt Results
- 2015 Controlled Hunt Results
- 2014 Controlled Hunt Results
- 2013 Controlled Hunt Results
- 2012 Controlled Hunt Results
- 2011 Controlled Hunt Odds
- 2010 Controlled Hunt Odds
- 2009 Controlled Hunt Results
- 2009 Controlled Hunt Odds
- 2008 Controlled Hunt Odds
- 2007 Controlled Hunt Odds
Rule and Law Changes
- 2015 Legislative Session
- 2014 Legislative Session
- 2013 Legislative Session
- 2012 Legislative Session
- 2011 Legislative Session
- 2010 Legislative Session
- 2009 Legislative Session
- 2008 Legislative Session
- 2007 Legislative Session
- 2006 Legislative Session
- 2005 Legislative Session
- 2004 Legislative Session
- 2003 Legislative Session
- 2002 Legislative Session
- 2001 Legislative Session
- Field, Forest & Stream in Oklahoma (1912 Report of State Game Warden)
- Outdoor Oklahoma (1914 Report of State Game Warden)
- 1918 Biennial Report of a State Game Warden
- Fishes of Oklahoma
- Oklahoma Bird Day Book (April 3, 1914)
Wildlife Surveys and Reports
ODWC Headquarters undergoing major renovation
Funded completely by revenue generated from hunting and fishing licenses, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) is rebuilding its headquarters to better serve hunters, anglers and other outdoor enthusiasts.
The first major renovation in over 50 years became necessary after extensive damage suffered from an F5 tornado in May 2013. The new headquarters is set to open 2018 in a more energy efficient, safe, leak-proof, technologically advanced, modern, and fitness-oriented setting. The renovation will also bring the facility into ADA compliance and will facilitate asbestos removal.
As with the original 1966 construction, funds for the renovation project come from the revenues generated by hunting and fishing licenses. No state tax dollars are being spent on this project and license fees have not and will not be raised to pay for the new building. The entire project is being funded without any debt incurred by the agency.
The project includes demolition and complete renovation of the existing structure, adding 13,635 square-feet to the original 24,768 square-foot footprint. The additional floor space will accommodate a 50 percent growth in the number of central office staff since the building was originally opened in 1966. Additionally, a 7,825 square-foot warehouse will be constructed on site that will replace current off-site storage.
A competitive selection process, including a design contest, was conducted to select an architect for the project. Beck Design was awarded the architectural contract in 2015 after submitting a stunning plan that includes a strong educational component for ODWC’s outdoor-oriented customers.
After going through what the Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) described as the most competitive bidding process for state building construction in nearly a decade, the Wildlife Department hired CMS Willowbrook in June 2016 as construction manager and approved the $15.2 million project. The project involves 38 subcontractors that submitted the lowest bids out of over 200 bidders. CMS Willowbrook has a strong portfolio in the Capitol corridor on projects such as the $36 million renovation of the Supreme Court/Judicial Center and the $13 million renovation of the new offices of the Attorney General.
The warehouse is expected to be completed in the summer of 2017, and the building renovation is anticipated to be completed by the summer of 2018.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is the agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife in the state. ODWC issues hunting and fishing licenses, and provides important information about outdoor recreation to the public. ODWC enforces rules and regulations, and has numerous programs to provide healthy resources and to satisfy customers. ODWC receives no general state tax appropriations and is supported by hunting and fishing license fees and federal excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment.
The Commission Districts
Robert S. Hughes II
District 1 (405)522-6279
Ottawa, Delaware, Craig, Mayes,
Nowata, Rogers, Washington, Tulsa,
Pawnee, and Osage.
Hughes was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin to serve an eight-year term that began July 1, 2013. The Bartlesville rancher is an avid quail hunter and sportsman.
"I consider it an honor to serve on the Wildlife Conservation Commission because of the love I have for the land and the wildlife of Oklahoma," he said.
Hughes was raised on his family's ranch – the Hughes Ranch – and he now partners with his father, John F. Hughes, in the Hughes Cattle Co. He has served on a number of boards of directors for organizations such as the National Livestock Credit Corporation, National Livestock Commission Association, Frank Phillips Foundation and Superior Livestock Auction. He also has served as a member and director of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association, director of Arvest Bank Board, president of the Osage County Cattlemen's Association, director of the Bartlesville Community Foundation, and Northeast District vice president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association. He has also been honored as the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association's appointment to the N.C.B.A. Young Leadership Program and as the BEEF Magazine Stocker Operator of the Year Award recipient in 2006.
Hughes earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science-Production from Oklahoma State University in 1983 and graduated in 1985 from Texas Christian University's Ranch Management Program.
Hughes lives in Bartlesville and has two children: Jessica, who is working toward a career in nursing, and Sam, who is working toward a career in ranch management.
Bruce R. Mabrey
District 2 (405)522-6279
Adair, Sequoyah, Cherokee, Wagoner, Muskogee, Haskell, McIntosh and Okmulgee counties.
Gov. Mary Fallin re-appointed Bruce R. Mabrey to the Wildlife Conservation Commission for an eight-year term beginning in 2014. Mabrey's term will run through 2022.
A lifelong resident of Okmulgee, Mabrey has been the executive officer of a family owned bank holding company with ownership in several eastern Oklahoma banks. He is currently the executive vice president of Mabrey Bank in Okmulgee.
"It is a great honor to be able to serve the sportsmen and women of Oklahoma," Mabrey said. "I believe strongly in the youth of our state, and I realize the importance of providing kids opportunities to go hunting and fishing. I'm confident we have taken some great strides in these efforts over the last few years with things like the Archery in the Schools program, the Wildlife Expo and the youth turkey hunting season."
He is an avid hunter and is active in several local conservation organizations including Friends of the Deep Fork National Wildlife Refuge, Eastern Oklahoma Chapter of the Quality Deer Management Association, National Rifle Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Okmulgee County Bowhunters, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Boone and Crockett Club, Mabrey is a past president of Okmulgee County Cattlemen's Association, Okmulgee Chamber of Commerce and Okmulgee Main Street Association.
Mabrey and his wife, Karen, have four children: two daughters, Mollye and Melanie, and two sons, Matt and Mark.
District 3 (405)522-6279
Counties: LeFlore, Latimer, Pittsburg, Atoka, Pushmataha, McCurtain, Choctaw, Bryan, Marshall, Carter and Love counties.
"I am very pleased to have been given the opportunity by Governor Fallin to serve on the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission," he said. "I feel that the Wildlife Department has been quite successful in the past, and their actions are very important to the future for hunters, fishermen, and others who enjoy wildlife."
Brewster was born in Ardmore and has lived most of his life in Love County. His father, Grady Brewster, who was an avid quail hunter, exposed Brewster to hunting, fishing, and wildlife conservation at an early age. Brewster graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford with a bachelor's degree in pharmacy and is licensed in Oklahoma and Texas. Brewster has been very active in issues affecting small businesses, pharmacies, real estate and ranching.
In 1983, Brewster was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He was re-elected in 1984 and served until 1990. In 1990, he successfully ran for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He served as Oklahoma's District 3 congressman until 1996.
Brewster has been chairman of the Congressional Sportsman's Caucus, president of Shikar Safari Club International, and a board member of the National Rifle Association and the NRA Foundation. He is a life member of NRA and maintains memberships in many other hunting, fishing and wildlife organizations.
Brewster and his wife, Suzie, live in rural Love County. They are the parents of three children. Kecia and Kent were lost in a 1990 plane crash. Daughter Karel and grandson, Braxton, live in Edmond.
District 4 (405)522-6279
Counties: Creek, Lincoln, Okfuskee, Seminole, Pottawatomie, Pontotoc, Hughes, Johnston, and Coal counties. counties.
Leigh Gaddis was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2014, and re-appointed to a full 8-year term in 2016.
Gaddis, of Ada, owns and also serves as a financial adviser at Gaddis & Gaddis Wealth Management, a financial planning and investment firm.
Gaddis is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association; a member of Safari Club International; annual participant in the Oklahoma City Gun Club’s Women on Target Shooting Clinic; and helped host the Governor’s Big Buck Hunt in 2011.
“I am excited for this opportunity to serve on the Wildlife Conservation Commission and I appreciate Governor Fallin’s appointment,” said Gaddis. “I look forward to working on wildlife management issues as well as overseeing the state's hunting and fishing regulations while protecting Oklahoma’s natural resources and beauty.”
Gaddis currently serves as a mentor on the Ada High School Student Mentoring Program; as a member of the President’s Circle at East Central University; in the Circle of Friends at Mercy Hospital, Ada; and as an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Ada. She is also a 2011 graduate of Leadership Ada and currently serves on the planning committee.
Gaddis received a bachelor’s degree in biology education from East Central University.
She and her husband, Roger, have four sons.
James V. Barwick
District 5 (405) 522-6279
Counties: Logan, Oklahoma, Cleveland, McClain, Garvin, Murray and Payne counties.
James V. Barwick was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2017 to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. Barwick’s term will run through 2025. As an assistant state attorney general, Barwick served as the Wildlife Conservation Commission’s legal counsel for more than 12 years.
He is an avid sportsman and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, Pope & Young Club, Bowhunting Council of Oklahoma (BCO) and Safari Club International (SCI), where he formerly served as a director of the Oklahoma Station Chapter.
Barwick has hunted worldwide with numerous animals making the record books of SCI, Pope & Young, Rowland Ward and the Oklahoma Wildlife Department's Cy Curtis Awards. He has achieved the Super Ten of North American Big Game, which qualifies him for entry in the Grand Slam Club/Ovis. He is a six-time BCO State Archery Champion (traditional class) and winner of four gold medals and four silver medals in archery at the Sooner State Games.
After graduating from law school, Barwick started his legal career in public service as an associate general counsel with the Oklahoma Department of Securities. Later he joined the law firm of Reynolds, Ridings & Hargis. After a few years in private practice, he began a corporate career spanning 22 years and served on the executive teams of various Fortune 100/500 public companies, including LSB Industries Inc., Scrivner Inc., Fleming Cos. Inc. and Kerr-McGee Corp. Currently, he is Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Jones PR Inc., an integrated communications and public affairs agency with partners worldwide.
Barwick and his wife, Brenda, live in Edmond. His two daughters are both Oklahoma lifetime hunting and fishing license holders.
John P. Zelbst
District 6 (405)522-6279
Counties: Blaine, Kingfisher, Canadian, Caddo, Grady, Comanche, Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties.
John P. Zelbst, was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2010 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Commission until 2018.
“Wildlife is the peoples’ treasure and I’m committed to helping ensure sportsmen and other outdoor enthusiasts have access to their wildlife resources,” Zelbst said. “I come from a long ranching background. In fact, my son will be a fifth generation rancher, so I know the importance and value of being connected to the outdoors and environment.
“A concern of mine is that our young people aren’t as connected to the outdoors as they used to be and many know very little about the environment. Outdoor recreation and activity leads to a higher quality of life, so it’s important we work on getting children involved in the outdoors.”
Zelbst has 30 years experience as a trial lawyer and is the managing partner at Zelbst, Holmes & Butler law firm. The firm serves Oklahoma City, Lawton, Edmond, Norman and with the assistance of local counsel, all of the United States. Zelbst’ legal career has focused solely on representing people who have been injured, wronged, falsely accused and mistreated.
A member of the Oklahoma Association for Justice (formerly the Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association), he served as the Association’s President in 2000. He also holds the distinction of having secured $24 million in the largest known personal injury verdict in state history.
Along with other professional memberships, recognition and awards, he was awarded the title of Oklahoma Super Lawyer for the years 2006-2010, Superlawyers.com; and is a member of the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers, 92nd Edition, Martindale Hubbell and is also Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Zelbst received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Cameron University in Lawton in 1976 and earned his Juris Doctorate from the University of Tulsa, College of Law, in 1980. He is a graduate of and a board and faculty member of the Gerry Spence Trial Lawyers College, DuBois, Wyo.
Zelbst and his wife, Cindy, own and reside on the U2 Ranch in Meers. They have a son, Clay, and are actively involved in cattle operations on the ranch. He also supports numerous civic and community development programs, and currently chairs both the Comanche County Board of Trustees and the Comanche County Memorial Hospital Trust.
District 7 (405)522-6279
Counties: Ellis, Dewey, Roger Mills, Custer, Beckham, Washita, Kiowa, Greer, Jackson, Harmon and Tillman counties.
Robert Dan Robbins of Altus, was appointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2011 to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Commission until 2019.
Born and raised in Altus, Robbins is a fourth generation farmer and rancher whose great-grandfather arrived to the area in 1901. He graduated from Altus High School in 1982 and attended Oklahoma State University. Together with his wife of 22 years, Zina, Robbins farms cotton and wheat on 2,600 acres as well as helps manage several thousand acres of cotton and wheat on family farmland. They also raise Angus cross cattle along the north fork of the Red River. Robbins has two children — Rachael and Daniel — and a grandson named Axel.
Robbins is an avid sportsman. In the late 1980s, Robbins was introduced to deer hunting by his father-in-law and has enjoyed the sport ever since. After years of deer management efforts on his own land, Robbins was able to harvest a Cy-Curtis Award qualifying buck in 2009. Robbins also enjoys hunting turkeys and doves as well as fishing. He once caught a hybrid striped bass that weighed over 20 lbs.
Robbins is a member of Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, North American Hunting Club, North American Fishing Club and the National Rifle Association. He is also a board member of the Oklahoma Wildlife Management Association and currently serves as chairman of the Oklahoma Cotton Council and Oklahoma Delegate of the National Cotton Council, chairman of American Cotton Producers for Oklahoma, board member of the Producer Cooperative Oil Mill and alternate board member for Oklahoma for Cotton Incorporated. Additionally, Robbins was appointed to the Advisory Committee for Universal Cotton Standards by Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Ed Schafer and has served as chairman of the Altus Chamber of Commerce..
John D. Groendyke
Counties: Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woodward, Woods, Major, Alfalfa, Grant, Garfield, Kay and Noble counties.
John Groendyke, who has served on the Commission since 1976, was reappointed by Gov. Mary Fallin in 2012 to serve an additional eight-year term.
In addition to being an avid upland game hunter, Groendyke is chairman of the board of Groendyke Transport, Inc. Founded by his father, H.C. Groendyke in 1932, the company is one of the nation's largest motor carriers of bulk commodities serving the continental United States, Canada and Mexico. He graduated from Wentworth Military Academy where he attended high school and junior college and received his Bachelor of Science in Business from Oklahoma State University and his law degree from the University of Oklahoma.
He served as a Captain in the U. S. Army, and after a two-year tour of duty he returned to Enid to join the family trucking operation.
Groendyke serves on the OGE Energy Corp. Board of Directors, the Wentworth Military Academy Foundation Board and the National Tank Truck Carriers Board. He serves as a trustee for the Oklahoma Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, a trustee of the Oklahoma State University Foundation, and he is on the Board of Directors of the Grand National Quail Foundation and Grand National Quail Club, having served as a past president and chairman of the Board. He has also served on the USA Shooting Board of Directors and the Oklahoma State Fair Board of Directors.
Groendyke has two daughters, two sons, and seven grandchildren. He and his wife, Virginia, reside in Enid and are involved in many community activities. When not trucking, his energies are in wildlife conservation, farming and ranching, real estate, and collecting and showing antique automobiles.
An eight-member Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate, serve in an unpaid capacity as the Department's advisory, administrative and policy-making body. The Commission governs all Department operations and financial transactions. It oversees land and equipment purchases, wildlife management areas and fish hatcheries, plus the state's hunting and fishing regulations. The Commission appoints the Department's Director.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation has set the following dates for the Regular Commission Meetings. Meetings are held monthly at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation Building (auditorium), 2145 N.E. 36th St, Oklahoma City, OK at 9:00 am
Meeting Dates and Agenda:
January 3, 2017 Cancelled
August 7, 2017 Cancelled
September 11, 2017
October 2, 2017
November 6, 2017
December 4, 2017