Mountain Lion Season Proposed

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A proposal from the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission would give Black Hills deer hunters a chance to harvest a mountain lion.

Although the 2005 mountain lion season was set to run through the deer season, the season’s sub-quota of five breeding age females was met within 13 days of the start of the lion season, effectively closing down the season for the rest of the year.

“The proposal would push back the start of the mountain lion season to November 1,” said Tony Leif, biologist for the Game, Fish and Parks Division of Wildlife. “This was done because our information says that the peak birthing time for lions is mid summer. A later season will allow the kittens to be of an age where they are mature enough to travel and hunt with their mother. Since it is illegal to shoot a cat that has kittens with her, we are hoping this will reduce the chance those cats with kittens are harvested. This will give deer hunters and opportunity to participate in the lion season.”

The quota of lions will remain at 25 total cats, but a change from five “breeding age” females to eight females of any age has been proposed.

“The change to eliminate “breeding age” from the season sub-quota was to remove any questions on whether a cat counted towards the quota or not. The increase to eight females reflects our study information that we have a larger cat population than we anticipated. We feel very confident that this proposal is on the conservative side of the harvest and this will allow our mountain lion population to remain healthy,” said Leif.

To comment on the proposals, people can attend the public hearing at 2 p.m., Thursday May 4, at Rapid City Ramada Inn, or write Game, Fish and Parks, 523 East Capitol, Pierre, S.D. 57501. E-mail comments can be sent to wildinfo@state.sd.us. Comments must include full name and address.