Two men baiting mountain lions were being baited themselves.
Two men from western South Dakota are facing charges for illegally baiting mountain lions. Court records indicate the two men, Mason Hamm and William Colson, are facing eight counts of illegally using dead deer to bait and hunt mountain lions.
South Dakota Game, Fish, And Parks first caught wind of the operation when they came across a blood trail in Spring Creek Canyon. Agents followed the blood trail to find a young mule deer buck that had been cut open in the belly. The canyon is near Colson’s residence.
Suspecting that the deer was being used as bait, GF&P agents set a trap. A roadkill doe was placed aside the road near Colson’s home. Unknown to the two men, the deer had been outfitted with a radio transmitter. A week later, the doe was tracked and found lying near the dead buck. Unsatisfied with their evidence, agents set another trap the following day. Surveillance footage showed a vehicle owned by Hamm picking up another roadkill deer. This deer was also later found in the canyon.
A few short weeks later, Hamm called GF&P agents to report a mountain lion he had killed. This report solidified the case against the men. South Dakota requires all harvested cats be documented with GF&P officials.
The two men are being charged with multiple counts of illegal possession of a big game animal and aiding and abetting prohibited hunting. South Dakota has two different mountain lion hunting seasons. One runs year-round and covers the majority of the state. The other covers the Black Hills region and runs from the beginning of the year to mid spring, or when a certain quota of female cats are taken, whichever comes first.