Panel approves the use of dogs for mountain lion hunting in South Dakota across much of the state.
Mountain lion hunting in South Dakota was expanded on Thursday, when a panel voted 5-3 to allow dogs to be in the field and assist the hunters. Advocates of the legislation argue this will help landowners protect their pets and livestock and make mountain lion hunting in South Dakota more efficient.
The Game, Fish, and Parks Department Commission voted to allow dogs to be used on private land and some areas of public land when mountain lion hunting. Brought to the panel via a citizen petition, the legislation goes into effect 20 days after it’s filed with the Secretary of State.
The change to mountain lion hunting in South Dakota is a “huge step nationwide in the hound world,” according to South Dakota Houndsmen Association President Brad Tisdall.
Reed Vandervoot of Piedmont has hunted extensively in Custer State Park and sees this legislation as a way to help hunters identify the sex of a mountain lion.
He argued it helps them to find the dominant male; “Without hounds, the hunters in the Black Hills, if they see a cat in the trees, they might have a few seconds to decide whether to shoot it or not.”
Opponents to the new legislation argue mountain lions are part of the ecosystem and their damage is not significant enough to warrant the use of dogs on hunts.
John Hauge said hunting with dogs is not ethical; “It’s assassination.”
The state legislature rejected a bill to allow dogs for mountain lion hunting in South Dakota last year. Senator Betty Olson, who sponsored the current legislation said mountain lions make her neighbors wary about letting their pets outside.
Although the South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks Department has only four documented incidents of mountain lions attacking livestock or pets since 1999, Travis Theel feels they’re still a problem.
He told reporters, “You talk to pretty much any landowner and they’ve had them wreak havoc.”