With less than two weeks left in the season, South Dakota hunters appear increasingly unlikely to fill the cougar quota for the 2015 season. Thus far, 39 cougars have been killed by hunters, 19 of which have been females. The quota is 75 cougars or 50 females; the season closes on March 31.
The relatively low harvest may support what a number of conservationists and SDGFP biologists have suspected: the Black Hills population could be declining. With South Dakota set to update their mountain lion management plan this year, 2015’s low harvest could have ramifications for future management.