Landowner of the Year 1998- James Hicks


For his outstanding efforts to enhance wildlife habitat on his property, James Hicks of Canadian County was named 1998 Landowner of the Year by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

John Hendrix, private lands biologist for the Wildlife Department, presented the award after a slide show depicting the extensive work Hicks has performed on 1,500 acres in Canadian Co. Several projects required Hicks to remove acreage from production, which constituted a personal sacrifice in potential income.

"As a conscientious steward of his land and its resources, Mr. Hicks is a prime example of how a landowner can successfully manage his property for the benefit of wildlife without compromising his ability to make a living," Hendrix said. "What Mr. Hicks has done with his place is a model for other landowners who have the same goals. We're proud to be able to honor him in this way." 

Hicks, who is the manager for the Canadian County Conservation District, uses a multi-faceted approach in managing his property to create a variety of habitat types. Among the most notable improvements include maintaining and enhancing windbreaks established in the 1930s, as well as establishing and maintaining buffer zones that provide nesting habitat for birds and travel corridors for deer and other animals. Hicks controls cattle grazing on certain parcels and maintains a healthy mix of open and woodland areas, with special emphasis on mast-bearing hardwoods. He also established two wetland areas.

Other practices include encouraging the growth of native grasses and other vegetation, as well as planting food plots. He also promotes growth of vegetation along creek banks on his property to protect water quality and to provide additional habitat. 

"We take a lot from this land," Hicks said, "and when I leave this world, I want to leave my property in better condition than when I bought it."

In honoring Hicks, the Department renewed its Landowner of the Year Program. To be considered for the prestigious award, landowners must demonstrate a commitment to managing their property to provide benefits for wildlife.

For more information on the Department’s Landowner of the Year contact private lands biologist at (405) 521-2739.