Speak up for South Dakota's lions today!

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks is accepting public comments on their proposed mountain lion 2019/20, 2020/21 hunting seasons and resident/ non-resident criteria prior to the Commission meeting on October 3-4, 2019. They will continue to accept comments on the draft mountain lion management plan until the October meeting.

SDGFP guesses that there are 111 to 970 mountain lions statewide, and the breadth of that estimate shows that they have very little understanding about the vitality of the small population. If the actual mountain lion population is close to 111, then a quota of 60 hunting permits (as in the past few years) would represent a loss of more than half the population annually, and rapid extirpation of lions in South Dakota.

In early August of 2019, dozens of our members wrote to the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks (SDGFP) and requested that the Department end trophy hunting of lions as part of the Draft South Dakota Mountain Lion Management Plan (2019-2029). Later in August, we then asked you to submit comments to the SDGFP Commission, imploring that the Commission not approve the Plan.

The draft Plan establishes a population objective of 200-300 mountain lions in the Black Hills region. However, this objective is not scientifically sound and falsely reinforces the idea that mountain lion populations need to be managed with lethal force. The draft Plan was presented at the September 5-6 SDGFP Commission meeting in Spearfish.

At the September Commission meeting in Spearfish, SDGFP proposed a new Administrative Action Proposal and, if approved, would make it possible for out of state trophy hunters to kill mountain lions in South Dakota. SDGFP also proposed their 2019/20, 2020/21 hunting seasons quotas.

There's just too little habitat, too much human-caused mortality, and too few mountain lions to justify a hunt. Remember, South Dakota's wildlife belongs to everyone, not only to hunters.

Photo of lion in a snowy pine tree.


Mountain Lion Foundation Comment Letter to the Department

Mountain Lion Foundation Comment Letter to the Commission

September 5-6, 2019 Commission meeting agenda

Proposal for 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 seasons

Proposal for Resident/ Non-Resident Criteria

Draft Management Plan 2019-2029

Prior Management Plan 2010-2015

Proposed Management Plan Schedule

Does hunting regulate cougar populations? A test of the compensatory mortality hypothesis.

Aligning mountain lion hunting seasons to mitigate orphaning dependent kittens.

Here's How to Help:

Public comments on their proposed mountain lion 2019/20, 2020/21 hunting seasons and resident/ non-resident criteria will be accepted 72 hours prior to the October 3, 2019 Commission meeting online via SDGFP's online portal: https://gfp.sd.gov/forms/positions/

Comments can be mailed to:

South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks
523 E Capitol
Pierre SD 57501

To be included in the public record, comments must include a full name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of seventy-two hours before the public hearing (not including the day of public hearing).

Able to Attend in Person?

Speaking to the Game Agency face-to-face is much more effective than sending an email. So if you are able to attend the next meeting, please do so.

WHEN: October 3, 2019 at 2:00 PM CT

WHERE: AmericInn 1981 E King Street, Chamberlain, South Dakota 57325

Here's What to Say

    • This draft plan is designed to manage mountain lions for maximum trophy hunting opportunity, not for conservation.
    • Mountain lions regulate their own numbers and do not require intense management to limit their populations.
    • Hunting is a bad tool, killing the lions least likely to come into conflict with people, pets and livestock, and creating more space for young dispersing lions that are most likely to come into conflict.
    • Non-lethal methods are more effective and last longer.
    • Killing female mountain lions results in the orphaning of their kittens. Hunting leaves kittens to die from starvation, dehydration, and exposure.
    • Mountain lions are a keystone species in their ecosystems, maintaining biological diversity and other benefits to people.
    • Don't allow up to 250 out-of-state trophy hunters to hunt South Dakota's mountain lions.
    • Don't extend South Dakota's hunting season in the Black Hills Fire Protection district from March 31 to April 30.

Please also send MLF a copy of your letter and cc emails to info@mountainlion.org.

Pass It On

Please share this action alert with your friends and family through email and social media. Forward this page to your South Dakota friends and consider sharing it on Facebook.

with everyone you know on Facebook.

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

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However you choose to contribute, you help to give mountain lions a voice. Thank you!

About the Mountain Lion Foundation

The Mountain Lion Foundation, founded in 1986, is a national nonprofit organization protecting mountain lions and their habitat.

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.



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