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OK – HUNTING – Oklahoma lawmaker hopes to legalize mountain lion hunting. Wildlife Department is discussing possibility

An Oklahoma lawmaker is calling for the state to open its first hunting season on mountain lions. State Sen. Casey Murdock, R-Felt, has introduced a bill that proposes a lottery or draw for mountain lion hunting with a limit of five cougars that could be taken. Murdock runs a cow-calf operation in Cimarron County, the westernmost county in Oklahoma which has the second-most number of confirmed sightings of mountain lions in the state, only behind Osage County. The bill passed last week out of the Senate Agricultural and Wildlife Committee, which Murdock chairs. But does Oklahoma have a sustainable population of mountain lions to support hunting? No one seems sure. “They are a very elusive cat, but we know they exist (in Oklahoma),” said Corey Jager, legislative liaison for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation. Jager said there are apparently some in Murdock’s district who are interested in guiding hunters for mountain lions, although the bill doesn’t contain specific language about guiding.  [full article]

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