The Oklahoma Director of Wildlife Conservation
is an appointed position in the Oklahoma
state government. The director
is responsible for "both long-range programs and day-to-day progress, making sure the Department functions within the Commission's policy guidelines and budget."
The current officeholder is Richard Hatcher. He was first appointed to the position in 2009.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is established in Article 26, Section 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution.
Article XXVI, Section 1:
| There is hereby created a Department of Wildlife Conservation of the State of Oklahoma and an Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. The Department of Wildlife Conservation shall be governed by the Wildlife Conservation Director, hereinafter created, under such rules, regulations and policies as may be prescribed from time to time by the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission. Such rules and regulations and amendments thereof shall be filed and recorded in the office of the Secretary of State, and shall become effective on the tenth (10th) day following such filing.
The director is appointed by a majority vote of the entire Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.
The specific duties of the office are outlined in Title 29 of the Oklahoma Statutes:
- To manage and control, under the supervision of the Commission, all wildlife refuges and real or personal properties which are held, operated or maintained by the Department.
- To appoint and employ such assistants, department heads, rangers, clerical help and other employees as the Commission may deem necessary, subject to the approval of the Commission. The Director shall fix and determine the salaries and wages to be paid under and subject to the rules and regulations as promulgated by the Commission; and the Director shall supervise and direct all employees of either the Commission or the Department and may suspend, discharge, station or transfer them at any time that, in his judgment, the Commission or the state will be best served thereby.
- To approve or disapprove and pay all legal claims for services rendered or expenses incurred by rangers and other employees of the Department in accordance with the schedules therefor and the rules and regulations previously adopted by the Commission.
- To establish and maintain a proper system of bookkeeping and accounting under the supervision of the State Auditor and Inspector.
- To promote and manage wildlife propagation by raising and distributing the same over the state at the direction of the Commission; to capture, propagate, transport, buy, sell or exchange any species of fish, game, furbearing animals and protected birds needed for stocking the lands or waters of the state; and to feed, provide and care for such fish, animals and birds.
- To make a complaint and cause proceedings to be commenced against any person for violation of any of the laws for the conservation of wildlife with the sanction of the district attorney of the county in which such proceedings are brought, and shall not be required to give security for costs. The Director may also appear in behalf of the people in any court of competent jurisdiction in any prosecution for a violation of any of the laws for the protection of wildlife, and may prosecute the same in the same manner and with the same authority as the district attorney of the county where such proceedings are pending in cases where such attorney is unable to be present or refuses to prosecute such case.
- To make emergency purchases of equipment, materials and supplies under rules and regulations prescribed by the Commission.
- Law enforcement
- Information & education
- Federal aid