Data, input determine lion limit
Published: Thursday, August 30th, 2012
When John Cooper first became secretary of the S.D. Department of Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P), he traveled around the state to gather input from the department’s employees.
“They saw the management of large predators in the Black Hills as a problem biologically,” Cooper said at a noon Custer Rotary Club meeting Aug. 20.
Cooper served 12 years as department secretary under Govs. Bill Janklow and Mike Rounds and is now retired and serving on the GF&P commission. He thinks the state is going in the right direction in trying to manage lion numbers.
The commission recently set the next mountain lion season limit at 100, up considerably from 70 this past season. Estimates put the number of mountain lions in the Black Hills at 300.
Although the limit was set at 100 lions, Cooper believes a more realistic number of lions killed next season will be around 85. “We’ll probably get close to 100 with other kills, like from cars and removals,” he said.
“I think we’re on the right track from the standpoint of our protocol of going slowly,” Cooper said.
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