Action Alert: Your comments needed for South Dakota cats! January 15th 2015

SOUTH DAKOTA

The South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Commission is considering whether to expand hound hunting to the Prairie Region. Currently, hound hunting is only permitted in Custer State Park. This comes in response to a petition put forward by members of the South Dakota Houndsmen Association, who claim mountain lions are becoming a nuisance for landowners and livestock producers. A formal rule change proposal will be presented and given a public hearing at the next GF&P Commission meeting on January 15 in Fort Pierre.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

We want to keep this simple! Please help cougars to avoid the horror of the scenario below (see: What does hound hunting really look like?).

Click here to express your opposition to hound hunting in the Prairie Region in South Dakota. The link will open a pre-addressed blank email where you can either:

Just write that you are against the rule change that would allow hound hunting, then type your name and send the email

OR

If you would like to send a more informed comment, use these talking points to convey your message:

There is no justification for this expansion of hound hunting, as there have been no confirmed depredations by mountain lions of pets or livestock outside of the Black Hills area.

-Expanding the rule to include hound hunting is redundant as there is an existing policy of aggressive response to potential conflict by SDGFP. Recreational hound hunting is not conflict management.

Departmental Policies MUST be based on fact, not fear if the integrity of the Commission is to be maintained.

SDGFP has always denied the presence of breeding populations in the Prairie Region because of marginal or inhospitable habitat. Lions naturally disperse from their source populations and spend little time in territory that cannot support them.  SDGFP’s must conduct further research to support their position that there is no possibility of resident lions and breeding on the prairie.

Fear of conflict should be addressed proactively by non-lethal deterrents and other conflict prevention measures.

Please remember to be polite in your communications with all public servants. Comments should be submitted by January 15th.

WHAT DOES HOUND HUNTING REALLY LOOK LIKE?

 

Cougars are chased by dogs until, totally exhausted – and perhaps far from their kittens – they take refuge in a tree or a cave or are driven to the edge of a cliff. Their tentative safe haven is soon undermined when the baying, snarling dogs besiege the base of the tree and the hunter strolls in to finish the ‘game’. Most cougars are shot from as little as ten feet away as they stare, helpless and unable to escape, into the dark eye of the barrel of a gun.