Oct 19 2006 7:33PM
Video clip of news story available at: http://www.kxmb.com/video.asp?ArticleId=56739&VideoId=2441
North Dakota Game and Fish biologists examined the lion this morning.
They want to find out everything they can about these animals.
That's a reason for the experimental mountain lion hunting season.
Donnell Preskey reports on what biologists learn about this cat.
It's Dorothy Fecske's job to examine mountain lions taken in North Dakota from head to toe.
(Dorothy Fecske / ND Game & Fish) "Feeling for porcupine quills... that's one of the things they feed on."
Fecske's determined this cat killed near Lansford is a female between three and four years old.
(Fecske) "Age determined on combination of tooth wear and fur color characteristics."
(Donnell Preskey / KX News) "So what happens next to the Mountain Lion? It goes back to the hunter. A taxidermist will remove the hide and send the carcass to game and fish for more examination."
(Fecske) "We're going to determine what the animal ate, the nutritional condition or how healthy she was but again based on her weight I'd say she's a healthy girl."
(Randy Kreil / ND Game & Fish) "You need to understand them and the habitats they like and what they eat and how they distribute themselves in the landscape as you develop a long term plan for dealing with lions in ND."
And that's the purpose of the experimental hunting season.
They know more cats are showing up in North Dakota they're moving out of South Dakota and Montana because it's getting overcrowded.
Five cats last year were killed in the badlands area,
All were about 40 miles from Grassy Butte.
This cat taken near Lansford - almost 200 miles away.
(Kreil) "We've had reports over the last year or so of people sighting mountain lions in the Lansford area having this animal taken confirms those reports."
After several mountain lion seasons biologists may be able to tell if this was a random cat that moved into the Lansford area or, if it's the habitat that attracts them.
The mountain lion hunting season opened September first and goes through March 11th or until the fifth cat has been taken.
Last year the limit was filled by mid January.
There are some changes to this years season.
Hunters are not allowed to pursue or kill lions with kittens.
Also hunters can't use dogs until January first.