The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation We rolled out a new logo last week, and as expected, the reaction on social media has been mixed.
Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some hunters and fishermen liked the images of white-tailed deer and white bass on the new logo, but objected to the clipper flycatcher because the agency is funded largely through sales of hunting and fishing licenses.
Others on social media assumed the administration had spent millions on the new logo and questioned why the money wasn’t used for wildlife projects like buying more trout for winter fishing grounds.
The Wildlife Department, which had operating expenses of $55.7 million last fiscal year, hasn’t spent millions on rebranding.
The agency contracted Idea Ranch of Tulsa to research and create the new logo at a cost of $94,800. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists the agency with projects, has donated $10,000 to the rebranding effort.
The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission, which oversees the agency’s budget, has authorized another $100,000 to replace the old logo with the new one in things like signs, uniforms, and decals on agency vehicles.
Micah Holmes, assistant chief of education and information for the Wildlife Department, said the old logo was immediately replaced by the new logo on the agency’s digital platforms, but that it will be replaced elsewhere over time.
Some of that will happen through attrition, Holmes said, such as updating the Wildlife Management Area signs only when they need to be replaced anyway. In other cases, the agency might place a label of the new logo on an old label on a property entry sign, for example, he said.
The old emblem, which is essentially an image of the state flag in the shape of a shield, was created in 1965. Holmes said the agency felt it was time for a change.
“We felt that the logo was dated, and it is possible that it did not have the recognition we thought,” Holmes said.
“We at the Wildlife Department are very loyal to this logo. It’s what we wear on our hearts, literally. So, we love it, but we wanted to have a company that helps us figure out if the public recognizes and identifies with our logo in the same way.”
It turns out that the public did not.
Idea Ranch, which has other offshore companies for clients, learned through its surveys that few people recognized the Wildlife Department logo when the agency’s name was removed from it. The old logo also did not reflect wildlife conservation other than the agency’s name.
Idea Ranch created four logos for consideration, and the chosen logo was the dominant choice among public focus groups and a panel of wildlife management staff.
The new logo is an arrowhead shape to represent the state’s Native American traditions and heritage. The white-tailed buck, the white bass (the state fish) and the clipper-tailed flycatcher (the state bird) represent three of Oklahoma’s most well-known wildlife species.
These images also represent the agency’s three areas of wildlife management: hunting, fishing and non-game species, and wildlife that is not hunted for food or sports such as bats, butterflies, and most birds.
One of the most famous and easily identifiable images in the state, Holmes said, is the scissor flycatcher. He said he also represents non-game genres which are also part of the agency’s mission.
“We are not just hunting and fishing,” he said. “We manage all the wildlife in the state. It was incomplete that there was no such kind.”
The colors of the new logo also have a more external feel than the previous logo.
“A lot of my favorite (outdoors) times of the year are in the fall,” Holmes said. “These are fall colors. And we wanted colors that were earthy, and a bit muted.”
Holmes said the new logo is part of a rebranding effort by the Department of Wildlife.
“It’s not just about the logo,” he said. “It’s just one piece of the many different things that represent the brand… The idea is to be unified in everything we do and show off to the public.”
It is recommended that bats be listed as an endangered species
The US Fish and Wildlife Service wants the northern long-eared bat reclassified as critically endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The bat, now listed as threatened, is facing extinction due to the spread of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that affects bats that live in caves across the continent.
Northern long-eared bats can be found in parts of the Ozark Highlands and Ouachita Mountain regions of eastern Oklahoma.
Reporter Ed Godfrey researches the stories that affect your life. Whether it’s in the news, outdoors, sports – you name it, he wants to report it. Do you have a story idea? Reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @EdGodfrey. Support his work and that of other Oklahoma journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.