A Mountain Lion Showed Up In The Middle Of Lawton
You've got to learn to drive with the fear. There ain't nothing more frightening than driving with a live cougar in the car. If you're calm, that wonderous big cat will be calm too. But if you're scared, that beautiful death machine will do what God made it to do, namely, eat you with a smile on its face.
In what might be the most shocking turn of events to hit Lawton since the city council swindled roads money for the mall project, a bonafide mountain lion was spotted in a creek running along the Timbers and Pecan Creek Apartments in Mid-Town Lawton.
Look closely, zoom in if you have to. That is a legit murder-cat chilling in Wolf Creek.
"Why is there a cougar in Lawton?"
Well, there are many theories on why these big cats show in cities, but none of them really fit a concrete narrative.
If you do enough searching on the web, you'll run across a dozen different theories about how big cats travel into urban areas seeking one thing or another. The general consensus is this. In times of heat and drought, cougars will seek out areas of lush greens and plenty of water. It's a theory that makes sense, but not in Southwest Oklahoma.
This explanation is far more common in places where mountain lions and people regularly interact, mainly the arid climates across California, Nevada, and Utah. Oklahoma is flush with steadily flowing rivers and manmade lakes where green underbrush thrives, even in the depths of the worst droughts.
If you look at any map, Wolf Creek runs from a watershed in the downrange hills of Fort Sill all the way to East Cache Creek southeast of Lawton. You've likely crossed over it at Rogers Lane and 38th, Cache Road between Lowe's and Home Depot, or at 38th and Lee. It may not always flow, but it almost always has water in it. The further south you go, the more water there is.
Logical thought would suggest this furry death machine has ended up in Lawton for a very different reason.
Like most living things, a cougar only needs three things to survive. We all need oxygen to breathe, water to drink, and food to provide energy. Could it be this cougar discovered a hidden oasis of fast food in our neighborhoods?
You're likely aware that almost the whole of Oklahoma has entered drought status. Most of the state is unseasonably dry, some parts are much worse off. When the state dries out, it affects everything down the food chain.
The last time I went deer hunting with my cousin a little west of Lawton, the state was in a similar state of dryness. We had a brutal summer that lingered into fall. By the time Thanksgiving rolled around, we could not find the deer. For years we'd grown used to sitting on the edge of a wheat field on cool nights and having our pick of prey in a herd that numbered in the dozens. At the beginning of the last drought, there were nearly none. Coincidentally, this was also the first time we had seen a mountain lion on the prowl.
It was early in the afternoon and we were making our way back out to the family farm to hunt. This is way out west in Oklahoma's canyon lands. The county roads roll on like a lulling roller coaster. Up, down, up, down, up, big down, etc... We came up one of those hills that afternoon to a huge golden fluff in the middle of the road. We were overcome with silence.
I asked Matt "Did you see something?" to which he replied, "I saw it too." It was a huge mountain lion.
We relayed that story to the OWDC game warden later that weekend and she told us sightings usually go up when these creatures have to venture farther through their territory to find food. In this case, the drought affected crops earlier that year. When the prey has to travel to find food, the predators are forced to follow. Perhaps this is why this mountain lion is venturing so far inside city limits.
Then again, Lawton just could be an obstacle in the way of this cat's natural territorial range. Perhaps it's been walking our city waterways for years and nobody has spotted it before.
In the very unlikely event that you do run across a mountain lion, don't panic. If you run, it might think you're their prey and chase you down. Instead, make eye contact and shout at it while slowly backing away. They're scared of us, and we'd like to keep it that way... Can't risk getting my Crystal Gayle shirt all messed up.