Skip to comments.Trail camera near Atoka snaps a mountain lion[Oklahoma]
Posted on 01/09/2010 7:55:02 AM PST by Palter
I am a believer now, Atoka man says about mountain lions being in Oklahoma
This mountain lion was captured on Ryan Ritters trail camera near Atoka in southeastern Oklahoma.
Ryan Ritter of Atoka couldnt believe what he was seeing on New Years Day when he looked at the photos from his new trail camera.
Not only were there pictures of numerous deer and turkey, but the trail camera also had captured five photos of a mountain lion on two consecutive mornings.
"I was very shocked to see that on my camera, said Ritter, who admits he always has been skeptical about mountain lion sightings in the past.
"You hear a lot of stories all the time, said Ritter, owner of Ritter Express Pharmacy in Atoka.
"I am a believer now. Until those pictures I would have argued with anybody we didnt have any resident mountain lions, but obviously we do.
The mountain lion photographs were taken between 5 and 6 a.m. on Dec. 22 and 23. State wildlife officials say its one of the rare instances of a confirmed sighting of a mountain lion in Oklahoma.
"We know weve got them, but we dont know where they are at or how many, said Alan Peoples, chief of the wildlife division for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. "Its kind of hard to monitor something so secretive and so rare as a mountain lion.
Ritter, who is an avid outdoorsman, manages 2,500 acres of family-owned land in southeastern Atoka County near the Muddy Boggy River for hunting and trapping.
He speculates the mountain lion must have been traveling the river bottom and followed deer and turkey scent to his corn feeder, where the trail camera was located.
Ritter, whose father was a state wildlife commissioner in the 1990s, said his family has owned that secluded piece of property since 1993 and never before detected any signs of a mountain lion.
The subject of mountain lions in Oklahoma is a hotly debated topic. The Wildlife Department receives two or three reports of mountain lion sightings every month, but rarely can they be confirmed, Peoples said.
Each year, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestrys wildlife services division investigates between 100 and 150 reported cases of mountain lions killing livestock, said Jack Carson, agency spokesman.
Only one time could it be confirmed that a mountain lion was indeed the culprit. That was in 2006 when a mountain lion killed a goat in Cimarron County.
Never has there been a reported mountain lion attack on a person in Oklahoma, Peoples said.
But there have been documented cases of mountain lions in Oklahoma in recent years, he said.
A Dewey County rancher once found the remains of a dead mountain lion, and a cougar was killed by a motorist at the Purcell exit on Interstate 35 several years ago, Peoples said.
Many years ago, a mountain lion was killed on the Black Kettle National Grasslands. That cat is on display in a museum in Roger Mills County, Peoples said. In 2004, a mountain lion was struck by a train in Noble County near Red Rock.
That mountain lion had a radio collar around its neck that had been attached by researchers in the Black Hills of South Dakota. The cougar had traveled 661 miles. State wildlife officials think most mountain lions in Oklahoma are transients.
It used to be illegal to kill a mountain lion in Oklahoma, but 2½ years ago that law was changed. It is now legal to shoot a mountain lion in Oklahoma if the animal is deemed to be a threat to humans or livestock.
The law requires the carcass to be brought to the Wildlife Department, but no one has checked in a dead cougar yet. Peoples said he thinks if mountain lions were common in Oklahoma, a hunter would have shot one by now.
Meanwhile, Ritters trail camera photos are the talk of Atoka. After capturing a rare photo of a mountain lion in southeastern Oklahoma, could the legendary Bigfoot be next?
"I dont think so, Ritter said. "I am a realist.
But Ritter said he will be more cautious now when he takes his 6-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter to the woods with him.
"I am already looking for a dog with a good sense of smell, he said.
Mountain lion is a poor name for the critters. They appear to exist in about 3/4 of the nation.
I’d love to have one of those.
I hear they like soft squishy liberals.
We’ve got LOTS of coyotes here in central suburban NC - and, I would bet, there are some mountain lions around and about, especially over in the mountains....but I don’t recall reports or photos of any - but easily could have missed these.
I’ve bee told the coyotes found their way across the Mississippi River - so would imagine the Mountain Lions could do the same....
Camper missing no sign of foul play.
This is all very exciting to me as I love wild animals. I was po'd when they had to shoot the poor thing.
Ought to introduce some onto the national maul in DC.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation says it’s hard to monitor something so secretive.
But average citizen picks it up on a trail camera.
Your bureacracy at work.
Wow - a Mountain Lion made it to Chicago? A shame it didn’t make a meal of some of the famous residents there then BEFORE it was shot.....
That is hysterical!
I bought them for my sons for Christmas.
One of my neighbors here in LeFlore County, OK also got one on his trail camera.
Live in Colorado Springs close by Cheyenne Mtn. State Park & Pike National Forest. Back around Thanksgiving spotted a mountain lion just before sunup trotting along a trail behind my home. The area has a lot of scrub oak that provides cover for deer which in turn attract the occasional mountain lion. Bobcat are also seen from time to time. Not to mention large coyotes. This area is not a friendly environment for domestic cats & smaller dogs left unattended outdoors. Many go missing.
Methinks he doesn't quite get it. Shoot. Shovel. Shutup.
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