No lion: cat harvest behind 2012 pace
Published: Thursday, February 7th, 2013
With all of the recent snowfall, weather conditions are seemingly perfect for mountain lion hunting in the Black Hills. However, the numbers of lions harvested this season don’t reflect those conditions.
As of Tuesday morning, there had been a total of 33 lions killed since the season began Dec. 26, 19 of which were female. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks (GF&P) Commission set this year’s quota of lions at 100, or 70 females, whichever comes first.
Mountain lion season closes March 31 regardless of whether or not the quota has been met—something that seems unlikely at the pace the lions are being harvested.
“We are behind the harvest rate from last year,” said Mike Kintigh, regional supervisor for GF&P. “Hunting conditions are very good throughout the Hills. We have good snow cover, which seems pretty important to the hunters’ success. I don’t know if we will reach the quota. That’s yet to be determined.”
A year ago, 73 lions were harvested during the season, with the smaller quota being met before the end of the season. After listening to input from both the public and their own biologists, GF&P raised that number to 100, confident there were enough lions to support such a season.
Now some are questioning whether the estimate of 300 lions in the Hills, about 100 more than it estimated before the 2012 lion season, was accurate.
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