Stop Killing South Dakota's Mountain Lions
To the Honorable Michael Rounds, Governor; and Jeff Vonk, Secretary, Game, Fish and Parks Department: As mountain lion advocates, we do not want to see an increase in the female kill quota. An increase is proposed that will almost double the kill quota. Knowing that a decrease in the overall number of females is harmful to the general population of mountain lions, we request that the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department retain the current quota or reduce it. In 2005, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department made hunting mountain lions legal. Though the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department supports their decision to offer permits to hunt mountain lions based on seven years of extensive research in conjunction with South Dakota State University, the department has neglected to offer any public documentation of this research. We do not know why the Department of Game, Fish and Parks wishes to escalate mountain lion kills. South Dakota mountain lions do not attack people. Only one mountain lion attack has ever been reported in South Dakota, and this mountain lion involvement in the incident was never confirmed. No trace of mountain lion scent was ever found. Mountain lions make for healthy game populations. As opposed to human hunting, which targets and removes the largest and most robust of the species, mountain lions produce natural vigor in deer stock by culling only the weak, ill, and old from the herd. In this way, mountain lions keep the deer population healthy and vigorous. It should be noted that mountain lions' main diet consists of small prey such as rabbits and rodents, each cat consuming a maximum of one large kill (usually deer) per week. The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks reports that approximately 90,000 deer, 15,000 antelope and 1,300 elk were killed by hunters in South Dakota in 2007 alone. Please help us preserve these mysterious and vital members of a healthy and productive Black Hills plant and animal community.