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Wildlife Commissioners Review Boating, Fishing Access Progress

ft cobb new dock
A new courtesy boat dock was recently added at Fort Cobb Lake through ODWC's boating and fishing access program. 



Members of the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission received a presentation about recent improvements to fishing docks and boat ramps across Oklahoma at their regular meeting April 1 in Oklahoma City. 

Nate Copeland, Boating and Fishing Access Coordinator for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, outlined 31 projects either completed, underway, or in planning that allow anglers better access to fishing and boating. Copeland explained that all of the projects are reimbursed at a rate of 75% by federal funds from the Office of Conservation Investment (formerly the Sport Fish Restoration Program) operated through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ODWC acts as a pass-through agency on most of the projects. 

For more information, go to this USFWS boating access webpage.

Also, Commissioners honored hunter James Allen of Earlsboro for completing the Oklahoma Slam challenge, part of ODWC’s Cy Curtis Awards program that recognizes hunters for their exceptional big game harvests in Oklahoma. The Slam award is for sportsmen and sportswomen who've harvested a bear, a whitetail deer, a mule deer, an elk, and a pronghorn in Oklahoma during their hunting life. 

Allen is the second hunter to be recognized for completing an Oklahoma Slam. In 2018, Brandon Adams earned the Oklahoma Super Slam award for taking all five species in a single year. 

In other business, the Commission: 

  • Received updates on various ODWC divisions from Interim Director Wade Free, including notice that Gov. Kevin Stitt signed Senate Bill 941, the Oklahoma Wildlife License Modernization Act. Effective July 1, 2024, the measure streamlines and simplifies hunting and fishing licenses, and will provide funding for ODWC primarily by adjusting license costs to regional averages. This modernization plan reduces the array of licenses previously required for many activities and adjusts license fees to maintain a stable funding source for future conservation of fish and wildlife in Oklahoma. 
  • Voted to approve reassignment of a boat dock fabrication and installation project to a different contractor. 
  • Heard a legislative update from Nels Rodefeld, Chief of Communication and Education for ODWC. 

The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. The Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for the Wildlife Department, and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities. Commission members are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Oklahoma Senate.  

The next regular Wildlife Commission meeting is set for May 6, 2024, at the John D. Groendyke Wildlife Conservation Building, 1801 N. Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.  

A video of the March 4 meeting is available on the Outdoor Oklahoma YouTube Channel at

james allen okla slam
Earlsboro resident James Allen (center) receives award certificates for accomplishing the Oklahoma Slam from ODWC Interim Director Wade Free (left) and ODWC Chief of Communication and Education Nels Rodefeld.