Skip to main content

Selman Bat Watches on Hold for 2023 Season

People sitting on benches looking at the horizon waiting for bats to fly over at Selman Bat Caves.

After 26 seasons, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is pausing its popular Selman Bat Watches. 

“Over the next few months, we will be taking a detailed look at how we can best serve our outdoor constituents with outreach programs like these and how we can most effectively manage wildlife resources across the state,” said Kurt Kuklinski, Wildlife Diversity Supervisor. “We are so thankful for the incredible team of volunteers and conservation partners, and the leadership of recently retired Selman Bat Watch coordinator Melynda Hickman, that made each and every bat watch a success. Without their dedication and support, we wouldn’t have been able to share this experience with thousands of visitors.”

Though public visits to Selman Bat Cave Wildlife Management Area are on hold, the Wildlife Department will continue to conserve the area’s healthy population of Mexican free-tailed bats and their sensitive cave habitat. The migratory bats arrive in the state in spring, and pregnant females navigate to Selman Bat Cave or one of the state’s three other known maternity caves where they each give birth to one pup. The bats emerge at dusk to feed on flying insects and may forage up to 50 miles from the cave before returning at dawn. Due to the sensitive nature of the bat cave, unregistered visitors aren't allowed onsite to keep human disturbance of this important habitat to a minimum. The Wildlife Department bought Selman Bat Cave and the surrounding 340 acres of land in 1995 with funds donated to the Wildlife Diversity Program and from hunting and fishing license revenue.