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Cougars in Oklahoma?


Was that a mountain lion?

How many mountain lions live in Oklahoma?

I swear I saw a dead mountain lion a couple of weeks ago.

I was driving back from the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve on the road from Pawhuska to Ponca City and it was on the other side of the highway.

Of course, I was going at least 60 mph when I passed it so I can’t be certain. Maybe it was a big bobcat , but it sure looked like a cougar that coyotes had already started working on when I whizzed by.

For a second, I thought about turning around to go back and take a look, but I didn’t think it was that big of  a deal. I saw a dead one on the Indian Nations Turnpike several years ago.

But when visiting with Micah Holmes at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation about it, he said the agency would have sent out a biologist if it really had been a dead mountain lion.

If being the operative word. State wildlife officials are always skeptical about mountain lion sightings in the state.

They acknowledge mountain lions are in Oklahoma, or traveling through Oklahoma, but not nearly as many as people claim to see.

State agriculture officials are often called about mountains lions killing livestock, but only once have they been able to confirm that a mountain lion was indeed the culprit.

It used to be illegal to shoot a mountain lion. Two years ago it became lawful to kill a mountain lion in Oklahoma, but the carcass must be brought to the state Wildlife Department within 24 hours so biologists can collect data.

Two years later and there hasn’t been even one dead mountain lion brought to any state wildlife official. So I guess they have reason to be skeptical. But if anyone else saw that mountain lion carcass along the highway, please give me a call.

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