Saturday, June 02, 2007

2 cougars killed, one illegally, N.D. officials say

The Associated Press - Friday, June 01, 2007

BISMARCK, N.D.

Two mountain lions were shot this week in North Dakota, one illegally, officials say.

A 46-pound female lion, about 8 months old, was killed Sunday near Mandaree in McKenzie County, said Fred Poitra, director of the Three Affiliated Tribes Game and Fish Division. A citation was issued to Walter Deville for shooting the lion, Poitra said.

"He thought the tribal mountain lion season was still in effect," Poitra said. "With all the sightings and trying to locate one around the New Town Marina, he thought this one was that guy."

The mountain lion season on the Fort Berthold reservation closed March 11, Poitra said.

"He (Deville) saw its tail flicker as it stood on a hill. He didn't realize the season was done with. He wasn't hiding anything. He was straightforward," Poitra said.

A 112-pound male lion, about 2 years old, was shot Wednesday on a farm yard near Alkabo in Divide County, said Daryl Kleyer, Williston district game warden supervisor for the North Dakota Game and Fish Department.

Farmer Jerry Stromstad killed the lion within 25 yards of his mother's farm house, Kleyer said Thursday.

"He was within his rights," Kleyer added. "We don't want lions interacting that close to people."

Stromstad got a call from his mother and drove to the farm where she had spotted the cougar.

"I went in and got a gun and drove around in the pasture. I didn't see it, but one dog kept barking. I walked through the trees, and it was crouched down in the trees right behind the house, probably 25 yards from the house," Stromstad said.

Kleyer said he found a dead house cat near where the lion was first spotted.

Stromstad notified the state Game and Fish Department as required, but he won't get to keep the cougar, officials said.

"We'll use it for educational purposes," said Randy Kreil, the state wildlife division chief.

The Three Affiliated Tribes took the hide and skull of the lion killed near Mandaree. Poitra said the hide will be tanned.

"Then we will decide what to do with it. It was the first one taken on the reservation since the land was flooded in the '50s," he said.

http://www.in-forum.com/ap/index.cfm? page=view&id=D8PFMGBO2

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