Photos of the mountain lions were caught on two trail cameras, one in Pawnee County and one in Mayes County, both in late October.
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation often receives reports and even photos of mountain lions in the state, but most of the time they are proven to be false or cannot be substantiated.
In these two cases, state wildlife officials investigated and determined the photos were authentic.
The last time before these photos that state wildlife officials confirmed a mountain lion sighting in Oklahoma was in 2011, when there were five [sightings].
State wildlife officials acknowledge there are mountain lions in the state but don’t know how many.
“We know they are uncommon,” said Micah Holmes, spokesman for the Wildlife Department.
Most cougars in the state are young males just passing through, Holmes said. There has been no documented reproduction of mountain lions in Oklahoma in decades, he said.
It is illegal to hunt mountain lions in Oklahoma, and it once was illegal to shoot the animal for any reason. In 2007, state law was changed where it became legal to kill a mountain lion if a person feared his or her life was in danger from a cat or that livestock was is in danger.
The law requires the cougar’s carcass be taken to the Wildlife Department for examination, but no one has ever submitted a dead mountain lion to state wildlife officials in the seven years since the law changed.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation: Confirmed on October 24, 2014 in Pawnee County. Trail cam photo of a mountain lion, sex unknown.
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation: Confirmed on October 31, 2014 in Mayes County. Trail cam video, picture shown is a screen capture from the video of a mountain lion, sex unknown.
For more information on confirmed mountain lion sightings in Oklahoma, click here.