Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Oklahoma
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Oklahoma History


Winter black bear den work: OSU cub from SE Oklahoma!

It has been mused that the Oklahoma Wildlife Research Unit was established in the heat of a Texan night and the cool of an Oklahoman dawn when Walter P. Taylor, the first Unit Leader, moved its mission (and equipment!) from College Station to Stillwater in 1948. The Texas Rangers failed to catch him before the Red River, or so the story goes! The Texas Unit remained only a paper agreement for the next 4 decades, while the Oklahoma Unit rose to state, regional, national, and international prominence due to its dedicated graduate students, field and laboratory technicians, cooperating faculty and agencies, and staff.

The national Cooperative Units Program began as a dream of Iowan Ding Darling - renowned cartoonist and conservationist of the early 1900s. The Okahoma Wildlife Unit was among the first and was established in cooperation with Oklahoma State University (in the Department of Zoology), the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, and the United States Department of Interior (aligned with the Fish and Wildlife Service for most of its history). The Oklahoma Cooperative Fishery Research Unit was established in 1965, and the two units were combined in 1984. The core mission of the Oklahoma Unit has remained unchanged since its establishment: education of graduate-level professionals in resource management - traditionally fisheries and wildlife - through research of vital interest to Cooperators.


Name Position Start Year End Year
Bissonette, John Assistant Unit Leader 1977 1981
Bissonette, John Unit Leader 1979 1980
Brewer, Shannon Assistant Unit Leader 2010 2020
Fisher, William Assistant Unit Leader 1991 2008
Leslie, David Unit Leader 1989 2016
Leslie, David Assistant Unit Leader 1985 1989
Long, James Unit Leader 2019 Current
Long, James Assistant Unit Leader 2009 2019
Winkelman, Dana Assistant Unit Leader 1999 2003