According to the Oklahoma Dept. of Wildlife Conservation, the cougar ranks among the most elusive and discussed of all of Oklahoma’s wildlife species. Sightings and evidence of cougars have been documented back to 1852, where two cougars were killed in southwest Oklahoma. Accounts continued into 1953 when an Oklahoma State University mammalogist documented tracks of a mountain lion southeast of Canton Lake in northwest Oklahoma. Further reportings continued into September of 1984, where the refuge manager observed a mountain lion on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

The best habitat and area for current day sightings pertaining to the cougar could be the Rolling Red Plains ecoregion, located in far western Oklahoma. This region is made up of 60 percent rangeland (large blocks of private land holdings with a low human population density), ideal for mountain lion habitat. They may move into and out of the state along major waterways from New Mexico, Colorado, and the Texas panhandle. Cougars may even have home ranges that cover 200 square miles, and most wild cougars entering Oklahoma are young males searching out new territories.

In 1957, the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation listed the mountain lion as a game species with a closed season. Agency personnel have not conducted population surveys or assessed habitat availability, making it impossible to issue clear statements about the abundance of wild mountain lions. ODWC has never stocked, relocated or released any mountain lions in the state of Oklahoma. Furthermore the agency has no plans to do so.

  • Proceedings of the 11th Mountain Lion Workshop

     • The Cougar Fund

    Proceedings of the 11th Mountain Lion Workshop
    Integrating Scientific Findings into Management
    Hunter Conference Center, Southern Utah University
    Cedar City, Utah
    May 12‐15, 2014

  • Integrating Values and Ethics into Wildlife Policy and Management—Lessons from North America

     • The Cougar Fund

    Fox and Bekoff (2011)

    Abstract: Few animals provoke as wide a range of emotions as wolves. Some see wolves as icons of a lost wilderness; others see them as intruders. As the battle continues between wolf proponents and opponents, finding solutions that resolve conflicts while supporting the integrity of nature is challenging. In this essay we argue that we need to make room for wolves and other native carnivores who are re-colonizing areas from which they were extirpated. Strategies that foster coexistence are necessary and wildlife agencies must consider all stakeholders and invest adequate resources to inform the public about how to mitigate conflicts between people/domestic animals, and predators. Values and ethics must be woven into wildlife policy and management and we must be willing to ask difficult ethical questions and learn from past mistakes.