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Monarch Tagging Activities Planned at Hackberry Flat

A hand holding a black and orange butterfly with an identification tag.
Jena Donnell

To celebrate the annual migration of monarch butterflies, the Wildlife Department is hosting monarch tagging and roost watches at Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area Sept. 30 through Oct. 3.  

“Monarchs have begun their extensive journey south. These amazing butterflies travel up to 3,000 miles to overwintering sites in Mexico,” said Cheyenne Gonzales, biologist with the Wildlife Department. “We will be tagging monarchs in the mornings, and quietly watching the butterflies roost in the evenings.”  

Weather conditions, including strong winds, rain, and temperature, can impact the timing and path of the monarch’s migration. The scheduled events will be held regardless of the number of monarchs migrating through Hackberry Flat WMA. Email updates will be sent to registered participants before the event.  

Registration is required for both the morning and evening events, and participants must be at least 10 years of age. (See below note on group registration if you'll be bringing family or friends to an event.) Registration for each event will close when the participant count reaches 20. Pets are not allowed during the programs.  

Morning Tagging (9 - 11 a.m.) 

After a brief discussion of butterfly basics, monarchs collected from the area will be tagged as a group. Meet at the William H. “Bill” Crawford Building for this hands-on activity.  

Morning activities for Monday, Oct. 2 and Tuesday, Oct. 3 will be reserved for school groups.  

*Tagging activities will be limited to the number of butterflies available at the roost site.  

Evening Roost Watch (6:30 - 8 p.m.) 

Convoy to a longtime monarch roost site within the management area to watch as the butterflies arrive and settle in for the night. Bring a collapsible chair and light jacket for your comfort. Meet at the William H. “Bill” Crawford Building for this viewing event.  

To get to the William H. “Bill” Crawford Building, from the south side of Frederick, take U.S. 183 south for one mile, then go east on Airport Road for three miles. Follow the blacktop road south and continue six miles. Watch for signs. (Coordinates for the building are 34.277642, -98.963945.) 

Register Now

Group Registration

If you'll be attending with family or friends, please use the hunter green "Register Group" button found in the upper right corner of the registration page to let us know how many people to expect in your group. 

A screenshot of the registration page showing the "register group" button in the upper right hand corner.

Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area offers 7,120 acres of wildlife recreational opportunities. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, along with many conservation-minded partners, restored this legendary wetland, creating a vast mosaic of wetland habitats for prairie waterfowl, shorebirds, and other wetland-dependent birds. With upland areas of native sunflower and cultivated fields interspersed with mesquite, the area has become one of the state’s premier dove-hunting destinations.  

Visitors to the area outside of scheduled educational events like the upcoming monarch activities must have a valid hunting or fishing license or a Wildlife Conservation Passport, or be exempt. Licenses can be purchased through Go Outdoors Oklahoma.  

Other Fall Monarch Events 

Join our conservation partners to continue your celebration of monarchs.

In December 2020, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service precluded listing the monarch as a threatened or endangered species under the Endangered Species Act. Even though the butterfly was later added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List as endangered in July 2022, that listing has no legal bearing in the United States. Instead, the monarch remains an unlisted “candidate” species under the Endangered Species Act.