Photo of dog noses close up in the back of hunter's pickup truck. Text: Smells like a bad idea, Tell South Dakota No to hound hunts! Photo by Kim Salmons, creative commons.


On January 15th, the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission approved a petition to allow dogs to be used to hunt mountain lions year round in all areas of the state located outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District. Hounding is a cruel, outdated blood sport that unfortunately will now be allowed to further decimate South Dakota's small, fragile mountain lion population.

FINAL OUTCOME: LOST — Hounds Approved
REVIEW THE ORIGINAL ALERT: Tell South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission to Vote NO!

A public hearing will be held at the RedRossa Conference Center in Pierre, South Dakota, on Thursday, January 15 at 2:00 to consider amending the state's mountain lion hunting rules.

Specifically, ARSD 41:06:61:06 — Mountain Lion Hunting Season — would allow dogs to be used to hunt mountain lions year round in all areas of the state located outside of the Black Hills Fire Protection District.

Photo of lion in a snowy pine tree.

This is being considered by the commission because a hound hunting group submitted a petition requesting the proposed amendment. The primary reason given was to enable houndsmen to locate and remove mountain lions believed to pose a threat to people or property. The proponents also believe the new hound policy would improve relationships between hunters and landowners... presumably because it would open more lands for hunters to recreationally hound hunt, and ranchers would be mislead to believe killing lions on their property would reduce conflicts.

The truth is hunters simply want to kill lions for fun, and making dogs do all the work means more opportunities to shoot cats out of trees. Randomly killing lions actually increases conflicts for ranchers and pet owners, as it disrupts the natural lion population and opens the landscape to younger mountain lions more likely to come into conflict with people.

Veteran ranchers know the best protection from predators is to have an older, established male lion on the property. Local sport hunting only increases resident lion turnover and problems with younger transient cats.

Please contact the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks Commission by Wednesday night to voice your opposition to the petition.

Here's How to Help!

If you live outside South Dakota, please forward this page to your South Dakota friends and consider sharing it on Facebook.

Attend the Hearing or Send a Letter to the Commission by January 14th

If you are able to attend, the meeting will take place on Thursday, January 15 at 2:00 in the:

RedRossa Conference Center
808 W. Sioux Avenue
Pierre, South Dakota

Briefly tell the Commission why you oppose hound hunting of mountain lions. A few minutes of your time could make a big difference for South Dakota's lions.

Send an email by 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 14th to both:

Remember, to be included in the public record and considered by the Commission, comments must include your full name and city of residence.

Please also send MLF a copy of your letter. PO Box 1896, Sacramento CA 95812 or email it to Thank you!

In your letter, please point out:

  • Hunting lions only increases conflicts.
  • Ranchers already have the legal ability to kill lions threatening their property.
  • Loose domestic dogs (like those used in hound hunting) cause more damage to livestock than wild predators.
  • Hounding has been banned in two-thirds of the United States. This is an archaic and cruel practice for both wild animals and domestic dogs that should be banned in our state. But until that time, hunters wishing to use dogs to tree lions are still permitted to do so in Custer State Park.

More Info: Why Lions Should Not be Hunted with Hounds

Hounding is an inhumane and outdated blood sport. Shooting an exhausted and frightened animal out of a tree is unethical hunting and it has no place in modern wildlife management or recreation. Hounding has been banned in two-thirds of the United States. It is a waste of time for South Dakota to even consider instating the practice statewide.

Using hounds violates all claims of "fair chase" and ultimately does not protect cubs.

Through our efforts to protect mountain lions from sport hunting in the United States, the Foundation has conducted extensive research on the statement that allowing the use of hounds makes hunters more selective: letting females and juveniles go and only shooting depredating cats or trophy-sized adult males. However, a review of 30 years of records from game managers throughout the western United States found that although technically feasible, most hunters could not tell the size and sex of an animal up a tree.

Furthermore, of the hunters who claimed to be selective and said they would let smaller and female animals go free, less than 30 percent actually did so. Hounding an animal is sometimes an all day event: following the hounds for hours on end, over rugged terrain, until they finally wear out the lion and it seeks refuge up a tree. After the excitement and exhaustion (and hefty expense if a professional guide was used), more than 70 percent of hunters shoot the first animal they tree, regardless of age, size, or sex.

Hound hunting guides make good money and are a very vocal group. But make no mistake, this is an archaic and cruel practice for both wild animals and domestic dogs that should be banned in our state.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to help protect South Dakota's mountain lions!

About the Mountain Lion Foundation

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat. The mountain lion is also known as cougar, puma, panther, and catamount.

We believe that mountain lions are in peril. Our nation is on the verge of destroying this apex species upon which whole ecosystems depend. Hunting mountain lions is morally unjustified, and killing lions to prevent conflicts is ineffective and dangerous. There is a critical need to know more about the biology, behavior, and ecology of mountain lions, and governments should base decisions upon truthful science, valid data, and the highest common good. Conserving critical lion habitat is essential.

Together, we can save America's lion.

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