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About The ODWC

Mission Statement

We manage and protect fish and wildlife, along with their habitats, while also growing our community of hunters and anglers, partnering with those who love the outdoors, and fostering stewardship with those who care for the land.

WHO WE ARE: The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) with its 359 employees is responsible for managing Oklahoma's fish and wildlife resources and habitat. 

WHAT WE BELIEVE: The state's fish and wildlife belong to all Oklahomans and should be managed so their populations will be sustained forever. 

HOW WE ARE FUNDED: ODWC does not receive general state tax appropriations. License sales and federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program grant revenues are the main funding sources. Every license dollar spent by sportsmen in Oklahoma is used to fund ODWC's user pay/user benefit conservation efforts.

Accountability Initiative



Who Pays for Wildlife in Oklahoma?

The agency receives no general tax revenues. For more information check out the Department's 2023 Annual Report.

Sources of Income

The Department has an annual budget of about $78 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:

  • Annual Hunting and Fishing License Sales (does not include lifetime license sales) (37%)
  • Federal Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration Grants (43%)
  • Other Income (20%)
    • 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.)



Game and Fish Department Established

Old black and white photo of agency truck in field.

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 fur-bearing 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.

Old black and white photo of agency staff in the field during the 30's and 40's.

Early Efforts Begin to Show Results

Education wildlife exhibit with a young girl holding a skunk.

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.



What We Do

Administration Division

Performs various functions including licensing, human dimension, property management, accounting, human resources and information technology.


The Accounting Section prepares and maintains the Department’s budget, prepares monthly financial reports and processes accounts payable and purchasing for the Department.

Human Dimensions

The Human Dimensions Specialist collects public input through research and surveys to include hunters, anglers, and others who love the outdoors in ODWC's fish and wildlife management programs.

Human Resources

The Human Resources Section is in charge of personnel administration, recruitment of new employees and training for all employees.

Information Technology

The Information Technology Section maintains the Department’s computer networks, software applications and all related computer equipment.

Licensing Section

The Licensing Section is responsible for selling and distributing hunting and fishing licenses and permits to resident and nonresident sportsmen.


The Property Section keeps track of the property owned by the Department and is responsible for distributing uniforms, maintaining vehicles used by Department personnel, and tracking inventory.


1801 N. Lincoln Blvd.

Oklahoma City, OK 73152

Federal Aid Section

Manages the Department’s federal funds including Sport Fish and Wildlife Restoration grants.

For additional information on the grants the federal section facilitates go HERE.

Communication & Education Division

The Communication and Education Division informs Oklahoma citizens about Department programs, policies, and regulations and administers the Department’s education programs. C&E technicians and specialists also combine scientific and outdoor knowledge in producing a bimonthly magazine and the Department’s television program. C&E manages ODWC’s internal and external communication, marketing, education, and outreach. They inform Oklahoma citizens about Department programs, policies, and regulations and administer the Department’s education programs.

Communication Section

Produces bimonthly magazine and weekly television show Outdoor Oklahoma. They also produce numerous E-newsletters and maintain Department’s website, social media accounts, and printed material.

Education Section

Develops and implements several Department education programs including Hunter Education, Archery in the School, Shotgun Training Education Program, Fishing in the Schools, Explore Fishing, and R3.


Department Headquarters
1801 N Lincoln Blvd.
Oklahoma City, OK 73152

(405) 521-3855

Arcadia Conservation Education Area
7201 E 33rd St
Edmond, OK 73013

(405) 200-8491

Jenks Office
300 S Aquarium Drive
Jenks, OK 74037

(918) 299-2334

Fisheries Division

The Fisheries Division manages the state's fisheries resource by focusing on management, research and production.

Fisheries Management

The Management Section surveys fish populations, constructs man-made fish habitat, recommends water level plans for improved natural reproduction and recommends harvest restrictions.

Fisheries Research

The Research Section conducts extensive surveys on fisheries resources.


The Hatchery Section operates four hatcheries across the state where fish are spawned and raised for stocking purposes.

Fisheries Locations

Law Enforcement Division

Enforces Oklahoma's wildlife laws and regulations, assists with educational programs, community outreach events and other law enforcement activities.

Game Wardens are certified peace officers stationed throughout Oklahoma’s 77 counties and are responsible for enforcing Oklahoma’s wildlife laws and regulations. Wardens also assist with education programs such as Hunter Education as well as community outreach efforts. They are trained in all phases of first aid, CPR and other life-saving methods and may be called upon to assist with search and rescue operations.

Game Warden Directory


Department Headquarters

1801 N Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73152


Wildlife Division

Manages the state's wildlife resources, provides public access for hunting and other uses through Wildlife Management Areas, assists with protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species and assists private landowners.

The Wildlife Department manages and maintains thousands of acres through direct ownership and license agreements with other agencies or entities. 

Wildlife Management Areas

Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) provide valuable public access for hunting and various other uses. The Wildlife Division employs technicians and biologists who are responsible for wildlife management activities on WMAs.

State-Wide Programs

Technicians and biologists provide the best information available to assist private landowners on how to manage wildlife resources.


Department Headquarters
1801 N Lincoln Blvd
Oklahoma City, OK 73152


Arcadia Conservation Education Area
7201 E 33rd Street
Edmond, OK 73013


Woodward Office
3014 Lakeview Dr
Woodward, OK 73801


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.

Annual Reports