GF&P commission sets mountain lion quota at 100DEADWOOD (AP) — South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks Commission announced Friday that it will allow up to 100 mountain lions to be killed during the upcoming hunting season, 30 more than last year.
DEADWOOD (AP) — South Dakota's Game, Fish and Parks Commission announced Friday that it will allow up to 100 mountain lions to be killed during the upcoming hunting season, 30 more than last year.
The season begins Dec. 26 and runs through next March 31 unless either of two quotas is reached — the 100 total lions or 70 females. Last year's quota was 70 lions or 50 females.
The matter has been hotly debated since 2005, when the commission first OK'd hunting mountain lions. Proponents say that mountain lions are devastating deer and elk populations, while opponents argue that too many lions are being shot, putting the state's lion population at risk.
"Definitely not easy decisions," commission chairman Jeff Olson of Rapid City said, according to the Black Hills Pioneer.
The commission has increased the number of lions that may be killed during the hunting season each year since the first year in 2005. That first season closed when the fifth breeding-age female was killed; 13 lions were killed.
The next year, 16 lions were killed, followed by 19 in 2007. The number jumped to 73 in 2012.
"Changing quotas yearly does not allow enough time to assess the changes," said Sharon Seneczko, president of the Black Hills Lion Foundation.
"We've watched the management over the years, and we are sorry to say that there's no assurance that a stable population of lions will remain in South Dakota," Seneczko said.
Tim Goodwin, an avid lion hunter who said the animals taste like pork, told the commission that it should eliminate the quota altogether.
"I propose that instead of having a number, just have a season," Goodwin said, according to the Pioneer.
"There's no way we are going to kill 100 if there are only 300 of them," he added. "It's hard to hunt lions. It's not an easy deal."