Mountain lion season changes designed to protect female cats.
The mountain lion season will start slightly later this year in an effort by state officials to make it easier for deer hunters to get a shot at the cats.
Black Hills deer and mountain lion seasons will start simultaneously Nov. 1, according to a news release from the South Dakota Department of Game, Fish & Parks.
As a result of the change, not only will deer hunters have a better chance at getting a lion, but females will be better protected, according to GF&P officials.
“The later season means more cubs will be old enough to be traveling with their mother cats since the peak time for birthing is late summer,” Tony Leif, game program administrator for the GF&P, said. “The accompanying cubs will render the mother cats off limits to hunters.”
Hunters may not harvest lions accompanied by any other mountain lion and may not shoot spotted mountain lions.
The harvest limit remains the same as last year n 25. However, the subquota of has changed from five breeding-age female lions to eight females, which Leif said “removes the vagueness in the rules about when a female is of breeding age.”
The Black Hills season ends immediately if the harvest limit or the female limit is reached. If neither limit is reached, the season ends Dec. 31. Hunters are responsible for staying informed on the status of the season.
Similar to last year’s season, hunters must report mountain lion kills to GF&P officials within 24 hours.
Kills made in the Black Hills Unit must be reported to the GF&P regional office in Rapid City. Hunters that take lions in the Prairie Unit must contact GF&P personnel within 24 hours.
Licenses are available at the licensing office in Pierre until the end of the season.