For his outstanding efforts to enhance wildlife habitat on his property, Paul B. Odom, III was named 2000 Landowner of the Year by the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.
Russ Horton, central region senior biologist for the Wildlife Department, said Odom deserves the award in recognition of the extensive work he has done to his 640 acres in southwest Canadian County. "As a conscientious steward of his land and its resources, Mr. Odom is a prime example of how a landowner can successfully manage his property for the benefit of wildlife without compromising other interests for the land," Horton said. "What Mr. Odom has done with his place is a model for other landowners with the same goals. We're proud to be able to honor him in this way."
In the early 1990's, Odom started with a dream to find a piece of land near Oklahoma City to manage strictly for wildlife recreation.
"I spent two or three years searching for the perfect property to one day develop into my own personal wildlife management area," said Odom.
"I also hoped to turn it into a first-class hunting destination for sportsmen. And now, after years of hard work, that dream is a reality," said Odom.
In 1992, Odom began purchasing small plots of adjoining land and started down the road to his dream. Of the numerous projects on the property, the most monumentous was clearing many acres of invading eastern red cedars and other brush. Several ponds, including a beautiful canyon lake, were built and stocked with fish.
"One of my immediate concerns was to slow down the rapid erosion of the canyons. So within the first couple years we planted around 40-thousand black locust trees,"said Odom.
To attract and encourage wildlife use on the property, food plots are planted and Odom sets out feeders at certain times of the year.
"Throughout the winter, the deer and turkey go through about 500 pounds of corn in our feeders a week," said Odom.
As a result, the property is now home to an estimated 200-300 Rio Grande turkeys. "There wasn't a single turkey anywhere near the place when we bought it, and we didn't transplant any, either. I guess the old saying is true, 'If you build it, they will come'," smiles Odom.
Odom also practices a very strict self-imposed deer harvest plan.
"Biologists tell me that if I want big bucks, I should reduce the sex ratio as much as possible. We've only taken one buck out here since I purchased it, and we're seeing fantastic results," says Odom.
Odom encourages other landowners to consider the untapped potential their land holds.
To be considered for the prestigious award, landowners must demonstrate a committment to managing their property to provide benefits for wildlife.
For more information on the Department's Landowner of the Year program, contact private lands biologist John Hendrix at 405/742-1278.