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GFP commission denies expanding mountain lion hunting for hound hunters

Patrick Weimer
Patrick Weimer

Game, Fish, and Parks commissioners have denied a proposal by hound hunters to make changes to the state’s mountain lion hunting laws.

Although denied, GFP commissioners agree that changes need to be made.

The use of hounds when hunting mountain lions in the state has become a subject of contention. Hound hunters said they are too limited on mountain lion hunting opportunity in the state. Opponents argue hound hunters make it harder for regular mountain lion hunters, and already have enough access.

Patrick Weimer is the Vice President of South Dakota Houndsmen Association. He said a majority of houndsmen end up taking their business to other states.

“We’re just looking for opportunity for the houndsmen of South Dakota. Nothing more than that," Weimer said. "We’re not looking to harvest more lions. The quota is not going up. We’d just like a little chunk of it, we’d like to be able to work our dogs in our own state without having to pay high fees to go to other places."

Andrew Norton is a Wildlife Program Administrator for South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks. He presented mountain lion management data to the commission.

“As you can imagine, success is much higher with hounds. We see on average about twenty times as high success when hounds are used compared to boot hunting in South Dakota,” said Norton.  

Norton said when the state mountain lion management plan was made in 2019, GFP staff did their best to incorporate all perspectives, but that there is no one right answer.

The petition gained a lot of public attention with hundreds of public comments filed ahead of the commission meeting. Staff said there was more public support for expanding mountain lion hunting than against.

The GFP commission ultimately voted to deny the petition.

GFP representatives said they have plans to revise the state’s mountain lion management plan in 2024 and present it to the commission in 2025.

Evan Walton is an SDPB reporter based in Sioux Falls. Evan holds a Master’s in English Literature from Southern New Hampshire University and was honorably discharged from the United States Army in 2015, where he served for five years as an infantryman.