Volume 1 • Issue 3 • August 2007

Free Oklahoma Wildlife Expo to Feature Hundreds of Activities


The third annual Oklahoma Wildlife Expo, to be held Sept. 28-30 at the Lazy E Arena just north of Oklahoma City, will feature more than 200 hands-on activities, including many brand new attractions that will make this the biggest Expo to date.

“This will be the best Expo yet,” said Nels Rodefeld, information and education chief for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and one of hundreds of Department employees and other volunteers working to make the Expo happen. “Not only will it be the biggest yet, but there will be so many things to try that anyone who comes will need to take a whole day — or maybe two — to see everything.”

More than one in four Oklahomans watch wildlife around their homes. Many experts will be on hand at the Expo to discuss wildlife watching.
Most of the favorite activities from the previous two Expos will return, such as the famous dock dogs, wild game calling, shotgun and archery shooting, mountain biking, ATV riding, wild game meat tasting and more. But this year’s Expo will include new features as well, such as hatchet-throwing, music from country singer Blake Shelton and the Outdoor Marketplace, a huge tent where Oklahoma’s outdoor businesses will be selling outdoor equipment, merchandise and services.

“Visitors to the Expo can come with the highest of expectations, and I am confident we’ll exceed those expectations,” Rodefeld said. “To top off all these great activities, the Expo is absolutely free. You can even win great prizes, like a John Deere Gator courtesy of P & K Equipment, if you keep up with Expo updates on wildlifedepartment.com. Just log on for more information about how to win in the coming weeks.”

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is partnering with a wide range of other state agencies, private individuals and outdoor-related companies to host this huge event. The Expo is designed to promote and perpetuate appreciation of Oklahoma's wildlife and natural resources and provide hands-on learning opportunities for all types of outdoor enthusiasts.

Expo hours will be from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

Written by Michael Bergin. Michael is the associate editor of Outdoor Oklahoma. His favorite activity at the Expo is the dog training.

Bald Eagles Soar off Threatened List

The national symbol is flying strong once again.

On June 28th, the bald eagle was removed from the U.S. Threatened and Endangered Species List. 

In 1995, the bald eagle was nationally upgraded from endangered to threatened in all of the lower 48 states.  At that time, there were around 4,450 breeding pairs.  Today, bald eagle pairs in the continental U.S. number 9,789.   

Oklahoma has over 100 bald eagles that live here year-round, including 49 known breeding pairs,” said Micah Holmes, information supervisor for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.  “During the winter, Oklahoma is host to anywhere from 700 to 1,500 eagles statewide.  The numbers peak in January and February with the highest concentration of birds located at lakes.  Popular viewing sites include Kaw, Texhoma, Tenkiller, and Great Salt Plains, just to name a few.” 

Between 1985 and 1990, the Department’s Wildlife Diversity Program assisted the George M. Sutton Avian Research Center with the release of 90 eaglets in eastern Oklahoma, including 59 birds in 1990 alone.

The bald eagle recently was taken off the Threatened Species List.

Since those efforts, bald eagle populations in Oklahoma have increased each year. While zero pairs of nesting eagles existed in the state in 1990, Oklahoma currently has 49 nesting pairs.

The Wildlife Department hosts Eagle Watches every winter at 17 sites around the state.  These events have been taking place for more than 15 years.  Bald eagle watches are coordinated by the Wildlife Diversity Program.

Although these birds have been removed from the Threatened and Endangered Species List, they are still protected by both federal and state laws.  These acts generally state that the U.S. prohibits the harming, purchasing, killing, possession, and transportation of migratory birds, their eggs, parts, and nests, unless allowed by permit.  

“This is a major conservation milestone for everyone who loves the outdoors,” said Holmes.  For more information about bald eagles, or to see opportunities for eagle viewing events in Oklahoma, click here.

Written by Lesley B. Carson. Lesley is a wildlife diversity information specialist and enjoys watching the eagles that nest on by her house every winter.

Toads Singing in the Rain

Book showcases the many species that benefit from the multitude of water.

The torrential rains of the past few months may have caused some major inconvenience and heartache for humans, but not all species within Oklahoma feel the same way.  All this moisture has created a utopia for reptiles and amphibians (herps) throughout most of the state.  You may have heard the unique calls of the great plains narrow-mouthed toad (Gastrophryne olivacea) radiating from your garden pond or seen other signs of herps around your yard and been curious what species you’ve encountered.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation recently published A Field Guide to Oklahoma’s Amphibians and Reptiles.  This book is a detailed resource and can help you identify the many herps you may see.  Excellent pictures and descriptions make this book a ‘must have’ for any outdoor enthusiast.  This field guide makes it simple for families to share and educate children of all ages to the wonderful world of herps here in our great state.   

Written by Buck Ray. Buck is a natural resources biologist and enjoys collecting and identifying reptiles.

Our Mission:

The WILDLIFE DIVERSITY PROGRAM monitors and manages the state's wildlife and fish species that are not hunted or fished.