Wichita Mountains Longhorn Auction Enters 66th Year
By Darren Brown, News9.com
LAWTON, Oklahoma -- Where can you buy a piece of Oklahoma history for a few bucks a pound? At the annual Longhorn Auction at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, of course.
The refuge is also home to bison, elk, whitetail deer and many other smaller species that share the refuge's natural resources.
Walter Munsterman with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the Supervisory Biologist at the refuge. He claims the auction is necessary for successful management of the refuge's residents.
"We have limited land space," said Munsterman. "We have to maintain the carrying capacity of the land, and take care of it."
The auction draws its regulars, including farmers, ranchers and collectors. It also draws out Ron Smith's algebra class. Smith has been bringing his students out to the auction for decades.
And they don't just observe.
"They have to keep all the data down, all the prices of the animals," said Smith. "Then I give 'em an average weight of each group of animals, and then they have to figure me an average cost per pound."
Smith says his biggest reward, however, is watching his students interact with a culture that they may not be all that familiar with.
"This is part of our history," Smith said. "This may be the closest they'll ever be to any of these animals."
Smith plans on buying a longhorn himself someday. And when he does, he'll probably have a lot of help on getting the best price.