Home |  PublicationsEncyclopedia |  Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge

The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

The Cumberland Pool, part of Lake Texoma
(P00000373, William A. McGalliard Historical Collection at Ardmore Public Library, gateway.okhistory.org, OHS).


On February 5, 1946, Harry Truman's presidential order established the area south of Tishomingo, Oklahoma, on the Washita leg of Lake Texoma, as a national wildlife refuge to be operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The name Tishomingo honors a Chickasaw chief. One of more than five hundred National Wildlife Refuges (NWR) in the nation, and originally consisting of 13,500 acres, by 2000 the preserve had expanded to 16,464 acres. Forty-five hundred acres are covered by the Cumberland Pool, a part of Lake Texoma.

The refuge's major focus is migratory waterfowl, but other animals can be seen, including deer, wild turkey, and raccoons. Every year the Cumberland Pool attracts nearly one hundred thousand ducks of various species and around forty-five thousand geese, mostly snow geese. A small number of bald eagles occasionally occur. The Tishomingo bird checklist, published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service, lists 275 species that have been observed in the area. Through a special permit at the appropriate season, sportsmen can hunt waterfowl, with steel shot from shotguns, and deer, with bow and arrow only. Fishing is also a popular pursuit, and the refuge's Cumberland Pool, ponds, and Washita River contain crappie, catfish, and various bass, including striped. Angling from a boat is only permitted between March and September.

A large portion of the sanctuary is hardwood forest with some grassland. Approximately nine hundred acres are seeded with corn, milo, and winter wheat to attract and feed wildlife. The Craven Nature Trail, named in honor of the sanctuary's first manager, Earl Craven, allows hikers and animal observers to enjoy the environment. Bird watchers may also enjoy the scenery from an observation tower and from Jemison's Lookout. In the mid-1990s a movement to transfer the wildlife area to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Department failed, and the refuge remains in the national system.

Larry O'Dell


Russell D. Butcher, America's National Wildlife Refuges: A Complete Guide (Lanham, Md.: Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 2003).

Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City), 7 February 1946.

Johnston County Capital-Democrat (Tishomingo), 14 February 1946, 11 April 1946, and 11 July 1946.

William Palmer, Audubon Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges: South Central (New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 2000).

Browse By Topic





The following (as per The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition) is the preferred citation for articles:
Larry O'Dell, “Tishomingo National Wildlife Refuge,” The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, https://www.okhistory.org/publications/enc/entry?entry=TI009.

Published January 15, 2010

Copyright and Terms of Use

No part of this site may be construed as in the public domain.

Copyright to all articles and other content in the online and print versions of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History is held by the Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS). This includes individual articles (copyright to OHS by author assignment) and corporately (as a complete body of work), including web design, graphics, searching functions, and listing/browsing methods. Copyright to all of these materials is protected under United States and International law.

Users agree not to download, copy, modify, sell, lease, rent, reprint, or otherwise distribute these materials, or to link to these materials on another web site, without authorization of the Oklahoma Historical Society. Individual users must determine if their use of the Materials falls under United States copyright law's "Fair Use" guidelines and does not infringe on the proprietary rights of the Oklahoma Historical Society as the legal copyright holder of The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and part or in whole.