February 8, 2023

South Dakota Proposes Second Mountain Lion Hunting Season

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After South Dakota wildlife officials examined new data about the population of mountain lions in and around the Black Hills area, a second hunting season for the big cat has been proposed with a couple of changes from last year’s.

The season will come later, November 1 and last until December 31. This is one month later. It would allow deer hunters to also hunt the lion and kittens would be out of the dens by then and traveling with their mothers. Hunters can more easily recognize a female cat with kittens.

A total of 25 cats will be taken and the season will end as soon as 8 females are killed. This is a slight change from last year. Last season as soon as 5 breeding-age females was harvested, the hunt ended with a total of only 13 cougars killed. If the 8 female quota isn’t met, the hunt will end once 25 cats are taken.

New studies have shown that the mountain lion does not require as much territory for survival, thus a slightly larger population can live in a smaller area. Initially it was believed that the Black Hills area could support 145 cats. With the new data, it is now thought that the same area can comfortably support 165-210 lions. This is the same as the estimated population in that zone.

As the population is growing, cats are being forced out of the Black Hills to find suitable habitat. Officials want the cat population to remain near the Black Hills and this is one reason they want to maintain the cougar population at its present level.

Permits for cougar hunting will only be issued to South Dakota residents. An unlimited number of licenses will be sold to hunters for the Black Hills area and an unlimited number of licenses will be sold to landowners for hunting outside the Black Hills.

*Previous posts on the South Dakota mountain lion*

More Mountain Lions in South Dakota Than Thought

South Dakota Ends Its First Mountain Lion Hunt

Tom Remington