UPDATE – HB 1296 Defeated:
On February 17th, 2022, the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted to move HB 1296 to the 41st day with (7 yeas and 4 nays). The South Dakota Legislature meets for 40 days this session, so by moving a bill to the fictitious 41st day, it is essentially dead without an official “no.” The bill was broadly opposed by supporters of SDGFP, mountain lion hunters, and conservation advocates in South Dakota.
HB 1296, if passed by the South Dakota Legislature, would amend § 41-6-2
9.2 to state: “Any person, licensed or unlicensed, may kill a mountain lion if the mountain lion is outside of the Black Hills Forest Fire Protection District.”
In addition to the Black Hills Fire Protection District harvest limit of 60 mountain lions or 40 female mountain lions, this bill will allow for the unlimited killing of any mountain lion found outside of the Black Hill Forest Fire Protection District.
HB 1296 was introduced in the South Dakota House of Representatives on February 1st, 2022 and referred to the House Agricultural and Natural Resources committee.
Can we count on you to reach out to the representatives of the South Dakota House Agricultural and Natural Resources committee, calling on them to oppose this bill? Together we have an opportunity to stop this bill, and prevent the unnecessary killing of mountain lions in South Dakota.
Mountain lions are essential parts of the ecosystems they are a part of. Mountain lion help herds stay healthier by removing sick members. They can also increase biodiversity through by limiting overgrazing, and providing food sources to many other species. The presence of large carnivores can even stabilize waterways, by reducing overgrazing that can trigger excessive erosion. The Black Hills mountain lions are one of the eastern-most sources of dispersing mountain lions.
Public opinion surveys conducted by SDGFP, indicated a diverse range of perspectives regarding mountain lions and deer. In a survey regarding wildlife, 77% of respondents believed that as much wildlife should be conserved as possible in South Dakota. In a survey regarding mountain lion hunting, many respondents believed mountain lion populations shouldn’t decrease and advocated for coexistence, and others believed that mountain lions would help manage conflict with deer populations. Some respondents feared mountain lions conflict with humans and livestock, and wanted their population numbers to decrease. Studies have indicated that the lethal removal of mountain lions has minimal effect on reducing conflict in humans, and can even increase conflict. The most effective way to prevent conflict between people and mountain lions is through education and non-lethal deterrents. Allowing for any mountain lion to be killed outside of the Black Hills does not meet the safety concerns of the public in South Dakota, and works in direct conflict with the public’s value of wildlife in South Dakota.
Please submit comments to the South Dakota House of Agriculture and Natural Resources, calling on them to oppose HB 1296. Feel free to use our action alert form to easily submit your comments to your South Dakota legislators
Thank you for taking action to oppose this legislation to expand the killing of mountain lions in South Dakota.