Oklahomans may soon be going after mountain lions.
A new bill is proposing that Oklahoma hold its first-ever mountain lion hunt. While the bill has support, some are questioning whether the Sooner State has a population large enough to support it.
State Sen. Casey Murdock recently introduced the bill, which has already been passed out of the state’s Senate Agricultural and Wildlife Committee, The Oklahoman reports. The bill, if passed, would create a lottery or draw for mountain lion hunting permits, limiting hunters to five cougars.
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The bill comes as sightings of mountain lions in the state are apparently on the rise. According to KFOR News 4, more mountain lions were spotted in Oklahoma in 2020 than in any previous year.
Despite the report, it remains unclear if there is, indeed, enough mountain lions in the state to support such a hunt. While last year saw more sightings than ever before, there were reportedly only seven confirmed sightings, topping a previous record was five confirmed sightings in one year.
“They are a very elusive cat, but we know they exist (in Oklahoma),” Corey Jager, a legislative liaison for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, told the Oklahoman.
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“A bill is one way to bring (state wildlife officials) to the table and have a discussion,” Jager continued. “We are talking about it internally. Is it something we can and would do? I don’t know the answer to that. One purpose of a bill is to get that conversation going and keep it going.”
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