Former SD senator charged in illegal hunting case
RAPID CITY (AP) — A former state senator is facing a misdemeanor charge after illegally killing a mountain lion that was caught in a bobcat trap in western South Dakota.
The charge against Gordon Howie, who served in the Legislature between 2005 and 2010, stems from a Jan. 31 incident near Hill City, the Rapid City Journal reported.
Howie told the newspaper he is deeply remorseful about his actions.
"I knew that was not the appropriate choice to make," he said. "It seemed like it at the moment, but in retrospect, what can you say, I had a legitimate tag, I was a legitimate hunter, but it was a game violation."
State law prohibits killing big game including deer, elk and lions that are caught in traps. The violation goes against the concept of "fair chase," in which animals have a reasonable chance to evade hunters.
Authorities discovered Howie's violation when he took the carcass to a Game, Fish and Parks office, and a biologist noticed it had marks around its leg, a sign that it had been trapped. The violation carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $2,000 fine.
Howie served two terms in the state House from 2005 to 2008 and the state Senate from 2009 to 2010. He gave up his spot as president of the tea party group when he ran for governor in 2010. He finished fourth in a field of five Republican candidates in the primary.