Tea Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation rolled out a new logo last week and, predictably, the reaction on social media was mixed.
Some people loved it. Some people hated it. Some hunters and anglers liked the images of the white-tailed deer and white bass on the new logo, but objected to the scissor-tailed flycatcher since the agency is largely funded through hunting and fishing license sales.
Others on social media assumed the department spent millions on the new logo and questioned why that money wasn’t used for wildlife projects like buying more trout for the winter fishing areas.
The Wildlife Department, which had operating expenditures of $55.7 million in the last fiscal year, didn’t spend millions on the rebranding.
The agency contracted with Idea Ranch of Tulsa to research and create the new logo for a cost of $94,800. The Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Foundation, a nonprofit organization that assists the agency on projects, donated $10,000 for 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 on such things as signs, uniforms and decals on agency vehicles.
An outdated logo
Micah Holmes, assistant chief of education and information for the Wildlife Department, said the old logo was swapped out immediately with the new one on the agency’s digital platforms, but replacing it elsewhere will be done over time.
Some of it will happen through attrition, such as updating wildlife management area signs only when they need to be replaced anyway, Holmes said. In other instances, the agency might just put a sticker of the new logo over an old one on an entrance sign to a property, for example, he said.
The old logo, which is basically the 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 the logo was dated, that it probably didn’t have the recognition that we thought it did,” Holmes said.
“We at the Wildlife Department have a lot of fidelity to that logo. That’s what we wear over our hearts, literally. So, we love it, but we wanted to have a company help us figure out does the public recognize our logo and identify with it the same way.”
It turned out the audience didn’t.
Idea Ranch, which has other outdoor companies for clients, learned through its surveys that few people recognized the Wildlife’s Department logo when the agency’s name was removed from it. The old logo also didn’t reflect wildlife conservation other than the agency’s name.
An outdoor feel
Idea Ranch created four logos for consideration, and the one selected was the overwhelming choice among public focus groups and a committee of Wildlife Department personnel.
The new logo is the shape of an arrowhead to represent the state’s Native American tradition and heritage. The white-tailed buck, the white bass (the state fish) and scissor-tailed flycatcher (the state bird) represent three of the most widely recognized wildlife species in Oklahoma.
Those images also represent the agency’s three areas of wildlife management: hunting, fishing and non-game species, wildlife that is not hunted for food or sport such as bats, butterflies and most birds.
The scissor-tailed flycatcher is one of the most iconic and easily recognizable images in the state, Holmes said. And it also represents non-game species that are also part of the agency’s mission, he said.
“We are not just hunting and fishing,” he said. “We manage all of the state’s wildlife. It would have been incomplete not to have a species like that.”
The colors of the new logo also have more of an outdoor feel than the previous logo.
“A lot of our (outdoorsmen) favorite time of year is in the fall,” Holmes said. “Those are fall colors. And we wanted colors that were earth-tone, a little bit subdued.”
The new logo is part of a rebranding effort by the Wildlife Department, Holmes said.
“It’s not just about the logo,” he said. “It’s just one piece of many different things that represent the brand… The idea is to be uniform in everything that we do that goes in front of the public.”
Bat recommended for listing as endangered species
The US Fish and Wildlife Service wants to reclassify the northern long-eared bat as endangered under the Endangered Species Act.
The bat, now listed as threatened, faces extinction due to the spread of white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease affecting cave-dwelling bats across the continent.
The northern long-eared bat can be found throughout portions of both the Ozark highlands and Ouachita Mountains regions in eastern Oklahoma.
Reporter Ed Godfrey looks for stories that impact your life. Be it news, outdoors, sports — you name it, he wants to report it. Have a story idea? Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @EdGodfrey. Support his work and that of other Oklahoman journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today.