Lawton’s Mountain Lion May Still Be Lurking in Oklahoma
Last summer a mountain lion sighting in Lawton made headlines across the state. During a deep drought, it was spotted lounging next to a creek in the middle of town.
The pictures may now be gone from social media but we sent them off to dozens of wildlife professionals in the state looking for confirmation, not only out of curiosity but also because the State of Oklahoma tends to downplay cougar activity within our border.
Of the five biologists that responded to our requests for identification, they all separately and independently agreed it was a mountain lion.
I also emailed the same pictures and verbiage to several contacts at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation to which they all replied with identical word-for-word statements insisting it was a big bobcat.
Shenanigans were afoot.
The contradictions were more of the same from the state agency. They have a long history of denying cougars roam the Sooner State even though occasionally the evidence is so overwhelming, they have no choice but to confirm they visit Oklahoma, even as recent as January 3, 2023.
Recently the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge placed a small blurb on its Facebook page about the storied past of cougars roaming the wilds of Oklahoma, specifically the refuge.
With cataloged and documented mountain lion sightings as far back as 1852, there's no reason to believe they're as rare a sight in this state as the ODWC insists they are.