The Daily Republic
Published Tuesday, February 10, 2009
A proposal in the state Legislature last week would have made it legal to hunt mountain lions with the aid of dogs.
We’re glad the bill met a timely death in the Senate, where it was voted down 27-6.
Sponsored by Sen. Gordon Howie, the Senate Bill 75 would have allowed dogs to be used in tracking lions, although the number of lions bagged by that method would have been limited to 10 per season.
Mountain lion hunting is a delicate issue in South Dakota. We back it, since it appears there is a sizeable population of the wild cats in the state, and especially within the borders of the Black Hills. Lions are being spotted with increasing frequency; some are winding up on private property and in towns, and others are being hit by motorists.
The state’s current rules are restrictive and we feel appeal to the sensibilities of both those for and against lion hunting. At present, only 35 lions can be bagged in a season, and the season ends any time 15 females are reported killed.
But whereas we do support the hunting of mountain lions in its current format, adding dogs to the mix gives hunters an unfair advantage and one we feel is entirely unnecessary. Too, we worry that using dogs will mean more lion kittens will be killed.
And there doesn’t seem to be any problems filling the annual harvest numbers. The quota has been achieved each season the state has allowed mountain lion hunting.
The state shouldn’t make mountain lion hunting any easier than it is. SB 75 would have done that.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org