North Dakota Hunter Takes First Lion of Season

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A mountain lion taken by coyote hunters Jan. 1 near Cogswell in southeastern North Dakota is the first cat taken in Zone 2 during the 2007-08 hunting season. Zone 2, which covers the majority of the state (north of N.D. Highway 1804 and east of N.D. Highway 8) outside the western badlands, has an unlimited quota.

Preliminary reports based on photos submitted to the Game and Fish Department indicate the lion was a young male weighing approximately 100 pounds. Department biologists are in the process of obtaining the carcass, and a full examination will be conducted early next week.

A lion in eastern North Dakota is uncommon but not unique, according to Dorothy Fecske, department furbearer biologist. "Younger, more transitory animals, especially males, are what we would expect to see in these portions of the state, farther away from traditional lion habitat found in the western Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana," Fecske said. "But where these prairie cats originate and where they are headed, what influences their course of travel, what they eat, and other day-to-day habits, are all questions we are keenly interested in and are striving to answer."

The mountain lion season in Zone 2 is open through March 9. The season in Zone 1 closed Nov. 10 after the five-cat quota was reached.

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