The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, or ODWC, is the agency responsible for managing fish and wildlife in the state. ODWC issues hunting and fishing licenses, and provides important information about outdoor recreation to the public. ODWC enforces rules and regulations, and has numerous programs to provide healthy resources and to satisfy customers.

ODWC receives no general state tax appropriations and is funded by sportsmen and women through their purchase of hunting and fishing licenses.

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is a constitutional agency. It was created based on the user-pay, user-benefit principle whereby hunter and angler license fees fund department operations.


To manage Oklahoma’s wildlife resources and habitat to provide scientific, educational, aesthetic, economic and recreational benefits for present and future generations of hunters, anglers and others who appreciate wildlife.

Department Organization

ODWC is organized into five major divisions: Administration, Fisheries, Information and Education, Law Enforcement and Wildlife.

The Commission

  • The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission is the eight-member governing board of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
  • Commissioners serve eight-year terms and are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state Senate.
  • The Commission establishes state hunting and fishing regulations, sets policy for ODWC and indirectly oversees all state fish and wildlife conservation activities.
  • The Commission governs all ODWC operations and financial transactions. Members met the first Monday of each month to conduct business.

Your Wildlife Department

  • More than 340 full-time employees, including more than 100 game wardens and more than 150 Fish and Wildlife personnel.
  • Headquarters near the State Capitol in Oklahoma City.
  • Offices statewide in Byron, Caddo, Higgins, Holdenville, Jenks, Lawton, Norman, Ponca City, Porter and Woodward.
  • State fish hatcheries in Byron, Durant, Holdenville and Lawton.
  • More than 70 public hunting and fishing areas.
  • Manages more than 1.4 million acres available to hunters and anglers.
  • Owns 330,000 acres.

How to support conservation

  • Buy a hunting or fishing license.
  • Buy a wildlife conservation license plate for your vehicle.
  • Take someone hunting or fishing.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation does not receive general state tax appropriations. License sales and Federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program grant revenue are the two main funding sources for the department.


The Department remains a non-appropriated, user-pay/user-benefit agency that is funded either directly or indirectly by hunting and fishing license sales. In fiscal year 2017, ODWC operated with an estimated $54.77 million in revenue. Major revenue sources are annual license sales, $18.43 million; federal Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration grant revenues, $20.51 million (based on a formula that includes the certified number of hunting and fishing licenses sold in the state); interest income, $7.46 million; other wildlife sales, $4.25 million; agriculture and oil leases, $1.4 million; and miscellaneous income including donations, $2.69 million.

ODWC FY17 Revenue (in millions).


Trust Account

  • Revenue from lifetime license sales is placed in the Lifetime License Trust Fund. The principal cannot be spent, but interest investment income can be used for ODWC operations.
  • ODWC sold its first lifetime combination hunting/fishing license in 1969 for $150.
  • ODWC has sold over 250,000 lifetime licenses since the first one was sold in 1969.
  • More than 50 percent of all ODWC licensed hunters/anglers hold lifetime licenses and no longer buy annual licenses.
Even though hunting and fishing license sales have remained stable over the past several years, the percent of sales relative to the state’s population has decreased.


ODWC's annual budget for FY17 was $72.4 million, which was nearly $10 million more than the annual budget for FY16. This increase was in response to ODWC's new headquarters building that is currently under construction. However, ODWC's actual expenditures for FY17 were well within the budget.


Expenditures for fiscal year 2017 were $62.2 million.

  • Fisheries Division expenditures were $11.66 million (18.74 percent of total budget).
  • Wildlife Division expenditures were $13.84 million (22.26 percent of total budget).
  • Law Enforcement Division expenditures were $12.21 million (19.63 percent of total budget).
  • Administration Division expenditures were $7.1 million (11.41 percent of total budget).
  • Information and Education Division expenditures were $3.73 million (6 percent of total budget).
  • Capital expenditures were $13.64 million (21.93 percent of total budget).
ODWC FY17 Expenditures (in millions).



Oklahoma is one of the most ecologically diverse states in the nation, with more than 760 species of wildlife found in the state, including:

More than 350 bird species.
More than 100 mammal species.
More than 170 fish species.
More than 1 million surface acres of water.
About 1,120 square miles of lakes and ponds.
About 11,600 miles of shoreline, greater than the lengths of the continental United States’ Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts combined.
About 78,500 miles of rivers and streams.


The Wildlife Department was created as a one-man agency in 1909. The first hunting license cost $1.25 to fund the Department, setting the precedent of a non-appropriated, user-pay/user-benefit agency.

In 1956, state voters passed a constitutional amendment establishing the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation as the constitutional agency it is today. The amendment was enacted in 1957, and the first board of commissioners was created to oversee the Department’s operation.

This program receives federal assistance from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and thus prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age and sex (gender) pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (as amended), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990. To request an accommodation or informational material in an alternative format, contact Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, (405) 521-3851. If you believe you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or service, contact U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office for Diversity and Workforce Management, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041.

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