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CHOCTAW, Okla. (KFOR) – What would you do if you thought you had a mountain lion in your backyard?  That’s the situation one Choctaw family was faced with recently. A trail camera got a shot of a large feline trying to get into a backyard chicken coop.

“We’ve had all kinds of excitement since we got the chickens,” said Cheryl Johnson.

Johnson has been raising chickens for years on her land close to Choctaw in far eastern Oklahoma County.

She has seen bobcats, skunks and squirrels around her backyard coops, but she recently saw that the tarp on the back of the coops had been shredded. 

So she and her husband set up a trail camera to see if they could see why.

At 2:20 a.m. on Monday, they heard commotion.

“The chickens were cutting up. We just didn’t know what they were singing about,” said Johnson.

The next morning they found a eerie picture the trail cam. A large cat was hanging on to the side of the coop trying to get in and get its paws on a chicken.

big cat caught on trail camera

“My husband was like ‘Oh look at the bobcat picture I got’ and we were like ‘Oh that aint no bobcat. That’s a cougar,” said Johnson.

Johnson says they have had mountain lions on their land before in the spring and fall. 

She says her niece saw one a couple of weeks ago.

“You could hear them scream. You know they make that bone-chilling scream and its worse if you are walking around at night and hear it,” said Johnson. “It’s a little creepy, I don’t want to come out here at night alone.”

KFOR asked the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation for their opinion on the sighting.

“There is nowhere in Oklahoma where we can say there is definitely not going to be a mountain lion there,” said Micah Holmes of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

Officials say they have confirmed at least four sightings of cougars this year in Oklahoma and 7 in 2020.

So we showed them the coops and the trail cam picture.

“This is a case of bobcat trying to get in a chicken coop,” said Holmes.

Holmes says a team of biologist confirms the black markings on its paws and tail are consistent with a bobcats. He says the lack of a visible white underbelly also means it’s not a puma.

But the biggest piece of evidence is the cinder block in the foreground of the photo.

“This cinder block is going to be about 16 inches, 16 inches tall, two cinder blocks is max. A full grown mountain lion that is fully extended is going to be well over my head. This picture today, it’s a bobcat, it’s definitely not a mountain lion,“ said Holmes.

Johnson says she disagrees, she thinks it’s a mountain lion.

But she knows bobcats can be dangerous. She says they have recently taken two of her four chihuahua dogs.