About the ODWC


WHO WE ARE: The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) with its 350 employees are 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/public benefit conservation efforts.

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 Pays for Wildlife in Oklahoma?

The agency receives no general tax revenues. For more information check out the Department's annual report.

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.)

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.

1920 truck with the Fish & Game logo on the doorFour 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 1945.1942 image of a Department truck and  two employees transporting fish

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.

1960s photo of the Departments Educational Wildlife ExhibitThe 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


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

Federal Aid Section

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

Fisheries Division
Manages the state's fisheries, surveys fish populations, improves fish habitat, spawn and raise fish for stocking in Oklahoma waters. 

Information and Education Division
Informs Oklahoma citizens about Department programs, policies and regulations. Delivers education programs for children, teachers and other adults. Produces bimonthly magazine, weekly television show, E-newsletters and maintains the Department's website.

Law Enforcement Division

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

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.


ODWC Organizational Chart Image

profile picture of JD Strong

J.D. Strong
(405) 522-6279

J.D. Strong has led the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as its Director since 2016, after gaining 23 years of experience in the conservation arena. He served as Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board starting in 2010. From 2008-10, he served as former Gov. Brad Henry’s Secretary of the Environment. Strong began his career conducting water and biological research for the OWRB.

Director Strong has a rich and varied depth of experience working with legislators, sister agencies, partner organizations and key stakeholders on a number of complex environmental issues, including the historic water settlement with the Chickasaw and Choctaw nations.

After becoming ODWC Director, Strong quickly became an innovative and industrious leader, helping to institute a new, user-friendly digital license system and leading the Department to undertake a comprehensive strategic planning initiative. In his tenure as Director, the Department has bought or leased about 72,500 acres of additional public hunting and fishing land, and created three new Wildlife Management Areas.

Other accomplishments during Strong’s tenure have included a $16 million renovation of Department headquarters, creation of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation, roll out of a new walk-in hunting and fishingOklahoma Land Access Program, expansion of the Stars & Stripes License Project, development of NBA star Paul George’s Fishing in the Schools partnership, and a hunter education collaboration with the National Rifle Association.

At the national level, Strong’s service includes:

  • Vice President, Western Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA).
  • President, Council for the Advancement of Hunting & Shooting Sports.
  • Lesser Prairie Chicken Initiative Council Chairman, WAFWA.
  • Executive Committee Member, National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative.
  • Fisheries and Water Resources Policy Committee Chairman, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (AFWA).
  • Member of President’s Task Force on Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation in Angling, AFWA.
  • Audit Committee Chairman, Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA).
  • Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council Member (SFBPA)

Strong is an active sportsman and a fifth-generation Oklahoman from Weatherford. He earned a degree in wildlife ecology from Oklahoma State University in 1993.

profile picture of Wade Free

Wade Free
Assistant Director, Operations
(405) 521-4660

Wade Free was named the Assistant Director of Operations in 2011. He supervises the fish and wildlife management programs (Fish and Wildlife divisions), Law Enforcement and Information and Education divisions. The Assistant Director aids in executive duties and serves as Acting Director in the Director's absence.



Amanda Storck
Chief Financial Officer
(405) 521-6685

The Chief Financial Officer supervises Licensing, Accounting, Human Resources, Information Technology, Property, and Communication Personnel. The Assistant Director aids in executive duties and serves as Acting Director in the Director’s absence.



Profile picture of Nels Rodfeld

Nels Rodefeld
Information and Education Chief
(405) 521-3855

Nels Rodefeld has been the Chief of Information and Education Division since 2006. He oversees education programs, publications, television and website content.


Bill Dinkines
Wildlife Chief
(405) 521-2739

Bill Dinkines has been Chief of  Wildlife Division since 2019. He oversees all biologists and technicians on Wildlife Management Areas as well as wildlife research initiatives.



profile picture of Barry Bolton

Barry Bolton
Fisheries Chief
(405) 521-3721

Barry Bolton has been Chief of Fisheries Division since 2007. He oversees four state fish hatcheries, a research laboratory and regional biologists and technicians.


Nathan Erdman
Law Enforcement Chief
(405) 521-3719

Nathan Erdman has been Chief of Law Enforcement Division since 2019. He oversees over 100 game wardens stationed in all 77 counties.




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.



Fishing Related Links

Conservation Related Links



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

radio communication.

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 tail waters 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

legacy permits.

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.

2016 – ODWC welcomes new Director J.D. Strong.

- Two state record elk recognized on a single day. Click here for story.

2017 – Oklahoma Land Access Program is started and begins a unique partnership between ODWC and private landowners, opening up thousands of acres across the state to public use for hunters, anglers and outdoor enthusiasts.

- Altus-Lugert Lake recovers from two toxic algae blooms in the previous five years, once again becoming one of SW Oklahoma’s premier fishing destinations.

- Renovations to Lexington WMA gun range and Dahlgren Lake are completed.

2018 – Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation is formed as a private non-profit fundraising organization to support impactful ODWC projects.

- State record paddlefish is caught by first time paddlefish angler. Click here for story.

- ODWC Headquarters renovations at 1801 N. Lincoln are completed.


The Commission Districts

map of the state of oklahoma with the commission districts drawn on it

Profile picture of Robert Hughes

Robert S. Hughes II
District 1 (405)522-6279

Ottawa, Delaware, Craig, Mayes,
Nowata, Rogers, Washington, Tulsa,
Pawnee, and Osage.

Term Expires: 2021

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.

Term Expires: 2022

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.

Profile picture of Bill Brewster

Bill Brewster
District 3 (405)522-6279

Counties: LeFlore, Latimer, Pittsburg, Atoka, Pushmataha, McCurtain, Choctaw, Bryan, Marshall, Carter and Love counties.

Term Expires: 2023

 "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.

Profile picture of Leigh Gaddis

Leigh Gaddis
District 4 (405)522-6279

Counties: Creek, Lincoln, Okfuskee, Seminole, Pottawatomie, Pontotoc, Hughes, Johnston, and Coal counties.

Term Expires: 2024

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.

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James V. Barwick
District 5 (405) 522-6279

Counties: Logan, Oklahoma, Cleveland, McClain, Garvin, Murray and Payne counties.

Term Expires: 2025

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.

Profile picture of John Zelbst

John P. Zelbst
District 6 (405)522-6279

Counties: Blaine, Kingfisher, Canadian, Caddo, Grady, Comanche, Stephens, Jefferson and Cotton counties.

Term Expires: 2026

John P. Zelbst, was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2010, and re-appointed in 2018 by Governor Mary Fallin until 2026.

“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.

Commissioner Rick Holder

Rick Holder
District 7 (405)522-6279

Counties: Ellis, Dewey, Roger Mills, Custer, Beckham, Washita, Kiowa, Greer, Jackson, Harmon and Tillman counties.

Term Expires: 2027

“My family has always respected wildlife, and we’ve always had that reputation. We’ve always been outdoor-oriented, so maybe I can make a difference,” Holder said.

Holder is an Altus High School graduate. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from Oklahoma State University in 1981, and entered the banking industry in 1982 with Stockmans Bank in Gould. He’s worked in nearly every position at that bank during his career. Now he is chief financial officer and chairman of the board of Stockmans Bank, with headquarters in Altus and an additional five locations.

He and his brother, Mark, also have a cow/calf business on their family’s original ranchland first settled by their great-grandfather in 1898. They returned to live on the original land after they worked during most of the 1990s to build a rural water system called the Creta Water Corp. Creta is an unincorporated community about 14 miles southwest of Altus.

For many years, Holder has served as a director of the Western Oklahoma State College Foundation, where he works to secure scholarship funding. He is also a board member of the Harmon County Livestock Show and The Bankers Bank of Oklahoma City, and he is a member of the Salvation Army and Lions Club.

Holder’s wife, Angie, is a physical therapist. They have three sons, a daughter and three grandsons. One of Holder’s adult sons operates a hunting guide business in the area.

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John D. Groendyke
District 8 (405)522-6279

Counties: Cimarron, Texas, Beaver, Harper, Woodward, Woods, Major, Alfalfa, Grant, Garfield, Kay and Noble counties.

Term Expires: 2020

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.

The Commission

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. 

Commission Meeting

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), 1801 N. Lincoln, Oklahoma City, OK 73105 at 9:00 am

Meeting Dates and Agenda


  • January 6, 2020 - Cancelled
  • February 11, 2020 @ 9 AM (Tuesday)
  • March 2, 2020
  • April 6, 2020 - Cancelled
  • May 4, 2020
  • June 1, 2020
  • July 6, 2020
  • August 3, 2020
  • September 8, 2020 (Tuesday)
  • October 5, 2020
  • November 2, 2020
  • December 7, 2020


The 2019 Wildlife Expo is September 28th and 29th

Presented by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and a coalition of conservation organizations, agencies and sponsors, Expo celebrates our great state's natural diversity and opportunities for the sporting enthusiasts and newcomers. From camping and outdoor skills to shooting sports, fishing and bird watching, Expo visitors have an opportunity to try their hands at two days of fun in the outdoors.

Expo Collage

Hours of Operation: Saturday 9am-6pm, Sunday 9am-5pm 

Featured Events

The STEP program offers a broad range of learning opportunities for beginners as well as experienced hunters with special emphasis on teaching basic wing-shooting techniques and fundamentals. The program projects a positive image toward hunting and general acceptance of responsible gun ownership. Another important purpose for the program is to increase youth interest in wildlife conservation and outdoor activities. In addition, the program exposes participants to the use of nontoxic shot to develop hunter confidence in lead-free shot shell alternatives.

You can learn more about the STEP program and shoot shotguns by heading to outdoor booth #34. It's located next to the Pellet Rifle Range and Dog Training Area.


The Aquatic Resources Education Program (AREP) promotes the sport of fishing and aquatic resource awareness as well as a way to give youth, an opportunity to learn about Oklahoma's aquatic environments and how to fish.

Visit event 28 outside by the fishing pond to participate in this fishing clinic!

Department of Wildlife Conservation employees and certified volunteers offer free fishing clinics across the state for the public to participate in to learn about the sport of fishing in Oklahoma. If you are interested in learning more about fishing, or looking to jump back in, you might want to attend one of the classes offered. A list of public fishing clinics can be found in the following link below.


Schools across the country are discovering an exciting new program that hits the bullseye in meeting the physical education needs of their students. Through the Oklahoma National Archery in the Schools (OKNASP) Program, students have the chance to excel today, tomorrow and throughout a lifetime in the unique sport of archery. The National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP), of which OKNASP is a part, is a coordinated effort and partnership between schools, state wildlife agencies and the nation’s archery industry.

In Oklahoma, OKNASP promotes physical education by providing target archery training to the state’s youth.

Come test your skills or learn how to shoot a bow outside at event #5 in the archery area.

Learn more about the Archery in the Schools program on it's webpage here: ARCHERY IN THE SCHOOLS EDUCATION PAGE

Getting around the Expo

Wildlife Expo Map

Getting to Expo

For map quest or gps the address is 5600 E. Forrest Hills Rd, Guthrie 73044. The 9600 Lazy E Drive, will not work on MapQuest.

The Lazy E Arena is located at 9600 Lazy E Drive off I-35. The arena is just north of OKC between Edmond and Guthrie. There are several options to get to Expo using the map. It is easy to get to the Lazy E, so mark your calendar now.

  • From Tulsa: Turner Turnpike: Take I-244 that becomes I-44 which turns into the Turner Turnpike. Take ramp onto I-35 north. Take I-35 north to the Seward Rd. exit (exit number 151). Turn right onto Seward Road and follow the signs to the Lazy E.        
  • From Stillwater: Hwy 51: Take Hwy 51 west to I-35. Take I-35 south to the Seward Rd. exit (exit number 151). Turn left onto Seward Road and follow the signs to the Lazy E.
  • From the East: Merge onto I-40 west. Take the I-35 N/US-62 E exit (exit number 153) towards Wichita. Merge onto I-35 N. Take I-35 north to the Seward Rd. exit (exit number 151). Turn right onto Seward Road and follow the signs to the Lazy E.
  • From the West: Take I-40 east. Take the I-44 E/OK-3 W exit (exit number 147B) on the left towards Tulsa/Wichita. Merge onto I-44 east. Take the I-44 east exit towards I-35/Tulsa/Wichita. Follow the signs to I-35 north to the Seward Rd. exit (exit number 151). Turn right onto Seward Road and follow the signs to the Lazy E.         


Friday, September 27, 2019, has been designated as a School Day, with hours of operation to accommodate field trips (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.).

Admission to the Wildlife Expo, parking and all activities are completely free. We offer over 100 hands-on exhibits, skill activities, and demonstrations that make the Wildlife Expo a field trip your school can’t afford to miss! While all ages are welcome, 4th-12th graders seem most excited about Wildlife Expo activities.

Inside the students learn about Oklahoma’s wildlife species, habitats and wildlife management while visiting hands-on exhibits and booths. Outside, students can learn to identify Oklahoma birds, visit a living historical encampment, identify wildlife tracks and signs, start a fire without matches, catch a fish, learn about dog training, ride a mountain bike, shoot a bow or shotgun…and much more!

Expo School Day Collage

For School Day Issues or Questions Contact:

Corey Jager




Company Phone Number Website
P&K Equipment (405) 341-8081 P&K Equipment
Terry's Taxidermy (405) 787-7883 Terry's Taxidermy
Ralph's Packing Company (405) 547-2464 Ralph's Packing Company

What if I need special accommodations?

If you have a special need or accommodation (persons with disabilities) please contact Andrea Crews with the ODWC at (405)522-0769 or email at andrea.crews@odwc.ok.gov  at least 10 days prior to Expo.

Can I bring my bicycle, scooter, etc.?

Because of the number of young children at Expo, as a safety precaution we do not allow wheeled vehicles to be ridden on site. Likewise skateboards, roller blades and roller skates are not allowed on the grounds. Persons with disabilities requiring wheel chairs or motorized carts are the only exemption.

Can I bring my dog or pet?

For the safety of our visitors and wild animals on the grounds, do not bring your dog or other pets. The only exceptions are seeing eye dogs or other service animals.

What else should I bring?

All equipment required for activities at Expo are provided. Bring your camera!

Can I bring food and drink or can I purchase it at Expo?

You cannot bring food or drink to the Expo but there will be free water, plus drinks and food can be purchased through the concessions. You can also sample wild game at "The Taste of the Wild" booth for free.

What should I wear?

Expo is an indoor and outdoor event, so dress comfortably and wear walking shoes. Be sure to put on sun screen before you come.

How long should I plan to stay at Expo?

 There's much more to do at Expo than can be done in just a few hours! Many people come both days. Come early, stay late!

What does it cost?

Admission and all activities at Expo are free!

Recipe per 2 lbs of burger

  • Salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Pepper - 1 teaspoon
  • Onions - 8 oz.
  • Diced Tomatoes - 16 oz.
  • Red Kidney Beans - 16 oz.
  • Golden Hominy - 16 oz.
  • Tomato Sauce - 8 oz.
  • Rotel Green Chili Tomatoes - 5 oz.
  • Tomato Juice - 4 oz.
  • Williams Chili Seasoning - 1 oz.
  • Minced Garlic - 2 teaspoon