Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Black Hills hunting season begins despite decline in cougar population

This killing round is set at 60 cougars total or 40 females, whichever comes first.

Last year’s donnybrook ended after killing 32 total 17 of which were girl cats. More snow usually means more carnage. The derby is scheduled to end March 31st provided there isn't adequate killing before then.

During one season a white christian trophy hunter illegally slew a three-month old, fourteen pound cougar kitten in the Black Hills. The idiot was cited for a class one misdemeanor improper tagging, which carries a penalty of fines to $1,000, one year in jail and loss of hunting privileges for a year.

The incident is par for the course in Lawrence County where firearms and alcohol with meth chasers are as common as sibling marriages.

South Dakota's Republican-owned wildlife killing arm reports the cougar population peaked sometime in 2011 at about 400 but declined to maybe 300 now after sanctioned hunting began.

Under pressure from the Humane Society of the United States Game, Fish and Plunder has reversed itself on hunting with weaponized dogs.
“We are very pleased to see the Commission vote in favor of protecting South Dakota’s rare and iconic mountain lions. Only a handful of these cats exist in South Dakota and very few ever make it out of the Black Hills and onto the Prairie. Allowing hound hunting on public lands in the Prairie would harm the species’ ability to survive in our state."
Read that here.

Cougars in the Black Hills had enjoyed and thrived in a habitat free of wolves for a little over a hundred years; but that's all over now.

Robust aspen habitats on the Black Hills and a healthy cougar population are relative and critical to ruffed grouse survival. Humans tampering with the ecosystem has resulted in a trophic cascade where the slaughter of cougars allowed mesopredators like coyotes and bobcats to flourish only to depress grouse numbers.

As the eradication of cougars in the Black Hills continues some of the big cats are defending their territory against domestic invaders.

GF&P may have been interested in science at some point in its past but like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine and as revenues collapse the eventual extirpation of mountain lions from the Black Hills looks like a given.

The reasoning is hardly mysterious: it's all about the money hunting and public lands grazing funnel into a region smothering under single-party rule.


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