South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Gets an Earful

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The Black Hills area of South Dakota has two main big game animal populations, elk and mountain lion. They were the key topics discussed at a public meeting. About 40 people came to speak out to the upper management of the South Dakota GF&P, because they believe the GF&P is lying to them. Lying about the actual depredation of elk by the mountain lions. The public believes that the GF&P gives out too many cow elk tags and not enough mountain lion tags. The elk herds seem to be dwindling, and the number of mountain lions grows.

Some people said that the elk are still there. The GF&P is in charge of a lot, and they do maintain a pretty good balance, but there are so many components to wildlife management, that it's hard to get them all right.

Another issue was the recent firing of GF&P big-game biologist Lowell Schmitz. Some believe the firing was over a mountain lion that Schmitz waited a day to check in, his would've been the 70th, filling the quota and ending the season, but he waited his allotted 24 hours and during that time 3 more mountain lions were killed. GF&P say that is not the reason and Schmitz did not comment on it, but was shocked by the amount of supporters he has.

GF&P Commission Chairman Jeff Olson of Rapid City said the input Thursday night was essential to making informed management decisions. “You guys are the stakeholders in this issue,” he said. “You’re a valuable part of the process.’ From Rapid City Journal.