PIERRE, S.D. n A total of 56 mountain lions were known to have died in South Dakota in 2006, according to the S.D. Game, Fish and Parks Department's annual report on mountain lion status in the state.
Causes of mortality included mountain lions harvested by hunters as well as those killed in vehicle collisions, incidental snaring or trapping, and removal by GFP personnel as "problem lions."
Reports of mountain lion sightings declined from 2005 to 2006. There were 359 reports in 2005 compared to 302 sightings in 2006. Reports came from all across South Dakota, but were most prevalent in the Black Hills. There were 174 sightings in the Black Hills in 2006, 41 in the West River prairie region, 80 in the East River region and seven in state parks.
Of the 302 sightings in 2006, 17.5 percent were verified as highly probable lion sightings and another 38 percent were rated as probable but could not be completely verified. There were 66 cases classified as mistaken identity with domestic dogs, bobcats, fox, coyotes, raccoons, domestic cats and deer among the animals mistaken for mountain lions.
The complete 2006 annual report, along with the 2004 and 2005 annual reports, can be viewed at the GFP Web site at www.sdgfp.info. From the homepage, highlight "Outdoor Education," and then click on "Mountain Lions." The reports are presented in PDF format.