South Dakota Wants to Increase Mountain Lion Limit
State Biologists have sent in their proposal to increase the limit for mountain lions next year in South Dakota. The numbers of elk and deer have been declining, and they think the cause is directly related to the mountain lion population.
This year the quota was 45 mountain lions, with no more than 30 of those being female. The proposal for next year would be 60 with no more than 40 being female. The season would run from January 1st- March 31st, and this year Custer State Park would be included in the total number of lions instead of having an additional quota. Also Custer Park would allow more hunters at a time.
There is opposition to the increased limit. Custer veterinarian Sharon Seneczko, president of the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation agrees with some parts of the proposal. She does not believe that increasing the quota is a good idea though. As the state has increased the number for the past years, and the mountain lion population may already be declining. She believes the state is using the mountain lion population as a scapegoat for the deer/elk decline. The mountain lion is a natural predator and helps keep the populations moving, it is part of a natural ecosystem. There were 30 elk collared, 14 of those have been killed by predators and 13 of those are confirmed lion kills.
"We have individuals who believe every mountain lion should be shot on sight," Leif said. "On the other end of the spectrum are those individuals who believe we should never hunt or kill any mountain lion in the state. Both those extremes can get fairly emotional in advocating for their positions." The Game, Fish and Parks Commission will finalize the mountain lion season after a public hearing October 6th. From The Republic.