Monarch butterflies will be tagged at Hackberry Flat WMA during their fall migration. (Jena Donnell/ODWC)
Annual Monarch Watch at Hackberry Flat Center
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation will host a Monarch Butterfly Watch the first week in October at the Hackberry Flat Center near Frederick.
“We’ll be tagging monarchs in the mornings and watching them go to roost in a stand of soapberry trees in the evenings,” said Melynda Hickman, biologist for the Wildlife Department. The Monarch Butterfly Watch is a free event and registration is not required.
Morning Tagging: October 1, 2, 3, and 7
After a brief discussion of butterfly basics, monarchs collected from the area will be tagged as a group. Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center by 9 a.m. for this hands-on activity.
Evening Roost Watch: October 1, 2, 3, and 6
An open air trailer will take visitors to a longtime monarch roost site within the management area. Meet at the Hackberry Flat Center by 6:30 p.m. Bring a collapsible chair and light jacket for your comfort; activity ends at 8 p.m.
“Hackberry Flat has so much to offer,” Hickman said. “We’re excited to be able to share this experience with butterfly and wildlife enthusiasts from across the state.”
Both morning and evening activities will be held regardless of weather conditions, but morning tagging activities will be limited to the number of butterflies available at the roost site.
“So many things can affect their migration,” Hickman said. “Changes in wind speeds, wind direction, weather fronts and potential storms can all affect how many butterflies will be at Hackberry Flat during the event.”
Participants can contact Hickman one to two days before their planned arrival to check on the progress of the migration at Hackberry Flat WMA.
To get to Hackberry Flat Center, from the south side of Frederick, take U.S. 183 south for one mile, then go east on Airport Road for three miles. Follow the blacktop road south and continue six miles. Watch for signs to the Center.
Hackberry Flat Wildlife Management Area offers 7,120-acres of wildlife recreational opportunities. The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, along with many conservation-minded partners, restored this legendary wetland, creating a vast mosaic of wetland habitats for prairie waterfowl, shorebirds and other wetland-dependent birds. Upland areas of native sunflowers and cultivated fields interspersed with mesquite have become one of the state’s premier dove-hunting destinations. Open for scheduled events, the Hackberry Flat Center offers interpretive guidance for wildlife enthusiasts, students and educators. For more information, log on to wildlifedepartment.com. Participants of these programs are exempt from needing a Wildlife Conservation Passport or valid hunting or fishing license while on Hackberry Flat WMA.
“Visitors and school groups tagged 476 monarchs as part of Hackberry Flat Center’s 2016 Monarch Watch,” Hickman said. “This March, three of those tags were found more than 1,200 miles away in the El Rosario Sanctuary in Michoacán, Mexico.”
“It’s amazing to know the butterflies we saw in southwestern Oklahoma made it all the way to Mexico,” Hickman said.
WHO WE ARE: The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC) with its 350 employees are responsible for managing Oklahoma's fish and wildlife resources and habitat. WHAT WE BELIEVE: The state's fish and wildlife belong to all Oklahomans and should be managed so their populations will be sustained forever.
HOW WE ARE FUNDED: ODWC does not receive general state tax appropriations. License sales and federal Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program grant revenues are the main funding sources. Every license dollar spent by sportsmen in Oklahoma is used to fund ODWC's user pay/public benefit conservation efforts.