SD Commission proposes second mountain lion season
PIERRE, S.D. - After hearing that the Black Hills has a thriving mountain lion population, the state Game, Fish and Parks Commission on Thursday proposed that South Dakota hold its second mountain lion hunting season this fall.
George Vandel, assistant state wildlife director, said the
"The bottom line is our mountain lion population is strong," Vandel told the commission.
The season proposed by the commission Thursday would be changed slightly from last year to mesh more closely with the deer hunting season and to reduce the chances that hunters will shoot mothers with kittens.
The commission will make a final decision on the season after holding a public hearing during its May 4-5 meeting in
Last year's season allowed for 25 mountain lions to be shot, but the season was closed early when the quota of five breeding-age females was reached. Thirteen cats were shot - six males, five breeding-age females and two sub-adult females.
This year's proposed season would start a month later on Nov. 1 and run through Dec. 31. A total of 25 lions could be shot, but the season would end early if eight females of any age are killed.
An unlimited number of mountain lion licenses would be available for the Black Hills, but only to
The later season would give
Vandel said the later season also would mean more cubs are older and have left the den. Hunters then could see that a mother had cubs and avoid shooting her, and hunters would encounter fewer females defending den sites, he said.
Hunters could use all guns and archery equipment that are allowed for deer hunting. Dogs, traps and bait are not allowed for mountain lion hunting in
Wildlife officials said earlier information indicated the
The commission on Thursday briefly discussed a policy the Game, Fish and Parks Department has developed for dealing with orphaned wildlife. The department rescued six kittens after two female lions were killed during the
Gov. Mike Rounds encouraged wildlife officials to find the kittens. One litter of three kittens went to a zoo in
The rescue broke from general wildlife management principles and traditional state policy to focus on managing wildlife populations and not individual animals.
The protocol says orphaned young animals can be transferred for permanent placement in captive facilities, such as zoos, if certain conditions are met.
Those conditions include requirements that a facility has requested the available animal, the facility is accredited and its primary mission is public viewing and education. Wildlife officers also must have sufficient evidence the young animal's parent has been killed, the baby would not survive alone in the wild, it could be successfully converted to captive life, and it could be recovered from the wild with a minimum risk to the animal and a reasonable effort by department staff.
For the cats,
Carole Baskin, CEO of Big Cat Rescue
an Educational Sanctuary home
to more than 100 big cats
12802 Easy Street
813.493.4564 fax 885.4457
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