More about what's going on in South Dakota:
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is currently in process of revising its 2010-2015 Mountain Lion Management Plan. SDGFP expects to have a new management plan adopted by the SDGFP Commission before setting the 2019/2020 hunting seasons. Tentatively, the draft plan is expected to be released at the end of July 2019 for public review and comment.
The draft management plan will include current management practices, including the season setting practice, structure, and strategies, population survey information for South Dakota's mountain lions, mountain lion research conducted throughout the state, and more. In September 2019, SDGFP will submit the final draft of the management plan to the Commission.
Check back soon for more information on how you can get involved in the comment process.
Here's what you can do:
- Build a coalition to learn from and educate people on how to peacefully coexist with the mountain lion population.
- Contribute a positive voice. Write a letter to your local newspaper expressing your excitement about local mountain lions and your views on the importance of protecting them.
- Distribute educational information on how residents can protect their pets and livestock. Consider animal shelters, veterinary clinics, 4H clubs, Scouting organizations, FFA, shooting clubs, and any other pertinent public locations as potential outlets.
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org and suggest local officials friendly to mountain lion conservation in South Dakota.
- Become familiar with the Department of Game, Fish and Parks section of Article 41 of the Administrative Rules of South Dakota. Reach out to MLF and wildlife experts. Then attend public meetings with the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission and ask them to:
- Require certain steps be taken by owners to protect their pets or livestock before they are permitted to acquire a depredation permit
- Put an end to the unfair practice of using dogs to hunt cougars.
- Offer information and training for landowners on non-consumptive techniques for dealing with potential depredation issues.
- Develop and implement a rancher outreach and education strategy
- Create a government-funded compensation program for losses of domestic animals to mountain lions.
- Do you know of a state official that may understand the importance of protecting mountain lions in South Dakota? Write to them:
- Tell them why you and so many others want consistently reliable population estimates and severely limited hunting quotas until all mountain lion losses are accounted for in the development and enforcement of quotas.
- Request a shortened hunting season in consideration of mating and birthing seasons.
- Implore them to begin an effort to establish depredation regulations that require the exhaustive use non-lethal strategies.
- Explain the need to conduct a habitat impact assessment prior to expanding human development.
Long term Steps:
- Request to meet with your state legislators to talk about
- The potential management benefits that could stem from accurately recording all annual mountain lion losses.
- The importance of a reliable population estimate and the effect it will have on hunting seasons and quotas.