By Bob Mercer, American News Correspondent
Published on Wednesday, February 04, 2009
The state Senate strongly refused Wednesday to allow mountain-lion hunters to use dogs in South Dakota.
The vote was 27-6 against the bill sponsored by Sen. Gordon Howie, an avid big-game hunter.
"I have been contacted by numerous people who love to hunt with hounds," Howie, R-Rapid City, said.
He argued that using dogs to tree lions would lead to fewer mistakes by hunters killing immature lions.
The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission had prohibited the use of dogs, in part because commissioners didn't want dogs chasing lions across the properties of private homeowners and businesses throughout the Black Hills.
Howie said there are many areas where the dogs could be used. He noted that hunters use hounds to pursue bobcats in South Dakota.
He said he has hunted lions by tracking but hasn't been on a lion hunt using dogs elsewhere.
Sen. Jim Bradford, R-Pine Ridge, said he used dogs to hunt bobcats and they sometimes tore apart the bobcats if he didn't get there in time. He said a dog trained to pursue a lion has also been trained to defend itself. He warned immature lions could be in greater danger if dogs are allowed.
"You think these dogs are going to know the difference between a kit and a mountain lion? I don't think so," Bradford said.
Bradford said he hunted bobcats because they were predators. "We didn't hunt them just for trophies," he said. He said the lion quota has been filled every season so far by South Dakota hunters.
The legislation, SB 75, would have limited the number of lions that could be taken by dog-using hunters to 10.
Learn more about big cats and Big Cat Rescue at http://www.bigcatrescue.org