SDGF&P regional wildlife manager John Kanta has told the Rapid City Journal that mountain lion harvest in the Black Hills in 2015 is on roughly the same trajectory as last year. Kanta also stated that decreasing harvest limits – and the failure of hunters to reach these limits – reflect a declining cat population.
There are somehunters who disagree with this assertion, claiming that lion activity is on the up. However, Kanta’s statements echo what many others have been saying all along: the small, isolated population of cougars in the Black Hills is under extreme pressure and is highly susceptible to declines in the face of sport hunting.
The investigation into whether a cougar that was killed by Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife last month in Bourbon County was wild or domestic is still ongoing, according to the Courier Journal. DNA was sent out-of-state for testing and should shed light on the origins of Kentucky’s first cougar since the Civil War.
Kentucky officials believe, in all likelihood, that the cat was a released or escaped pet. However, if it turned out to be a wild cougar dispersing from western or mid-western populations, it would be another incredible example of the animal’s capacity to roam and recolonize habitat it has been extirpated from. Many have raised the question of whether Kentucky officials were too “trigger happy” in their handling of the situation. It would be particularly tragic if this lion did turn out to be a wild cat, and would raise further questions over whether eastern states are prepared for cougar recolonization.
According to the Aspen Daily News, a sick mountain lion was put down by police officers in Carbondale, Colorado on Saturday. The animal was found under a bridge and was apparently showing signs of mange, malnourishment, and an inability to move. Police did contact Colorado Parks and Wildlife to receive permission to put the animal down.
Full article: http://www.aspendailynews.com/section/home/165457
Seventeen cougars have been killed thus far in South Dakota’s 2015 Black Hills hunting season. Nine of the cats have been females. The quota for the Black Hills season is 75 cougars, or 50 females (whichever comes first). The season opened on December 26th, 2014 and runs through March 31st, 2015.
Quotas have remained relatively high in the Black Hills in recent years, as managers try to limit the numbers and distribution of the population. In response to fearsfrom livestock producers and houndsmen that the cats are spreading across the state, the Game, Fish and Parks Commission voted to allow hound hunting in the Prairie. We strongly opposed this rule change.
Click here to see our comment on South Dakota’s rule to expand hound hunting to the Prairie.