Thursday, South Dakota's Senators voted 18-14 to kill House Bill 1068, even though it had already been approved by the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and the House of Representative. House Bill 1068 was a legislative measure to allow the use of hounds in mountain lion hunts outside of the Black Hills.
Even though the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission already allows a limited use of hounds while hunting mountain lions in Custer State Park, proponents of HB 1068 wanted this practice codified and presented all the old, worn out excuses that have been bandied about over the years by hound-hunters to justify their position on this outdated blood-sport.
One dejected proponent of HB 1068, who posted his comments on the Rapid City Journal's website, accused out-of-state anti-hunting groups and the Mountain Lion Foundation in particular, of having "more influence and have more say in the management of South Dakota's wildlife than the People's Representatives themselves."
That same commenter also accused "these same groups getting Senator Ernie Chambers to introduce legislation to end lion hunting in Nebraska. Once again, the squeaky wheel gets greased."
Again, not true.
Obviously, as far as one hound-hunter is concerned, the only way the pro-lion hunting, special interest groups can be defeated is when pushy, know-it-all "outsiders" use nefarious and unscrupulous means to upset the natural order of "proper wildlife management" and good old hunting fun.
The truth is that most people, including the majority of residents in South Dakota, support mountain lion conservation. Science has shown us the importance of protecting this top carnivore and that sport hunting only increases human-wildlife conflicts. But it's always easier to blame MLF than to find a new, less-cruel pastime.