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GF&P sticking with bigger lion harvest, state season for '13

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MADISON -- The state Game, Fish and Parks Commission didn't budge Friday from the decisions made last month when commissioners set regulations for hunting mountain lions during 2013.

Three people requested a statement from the commissioners about why they allowed more lions to be harvested in the Black Hills, let hounds to be used on select hunts in Custer State Park, and opened lion hunting year-round throughout the rest of South Dakota without limiting the harvest outside the Black Hills.

One of the requesters, Tom Huhnerkoch, of Lead, also asked in writing for the commission to repeal the open season for mountain lions outside of the Black Hills zone.

Chris Hesla, executive director for the South Dakota Wildlife Federation, spoke to the commission Thursday in support of Huhnerkoch and the repeal.

State law allows citizens to request statements from the commission.

The commission Friday turned down Hunherkoch's request for the repeal and agreed on a written explanation for the overall rules package.

For the Black Hills, the commission increased the overall harvest that will be allowed in 2013.

The Black Hills season will start Dec. 26 and run until hunters report a total of 100 lions taken or a sub-quota of 70 females killed.

Those are increases from the 2012 Black Hills harvest limits of 70 lions total and 50 females. Hunters killed 73 lions in the Black Hills during 2012. The 70th lion was one reported a day after it was killed, leaving the season open a 51st day. Three lions were taken on that final day.