Mountain lion shot in Hitchcock area considered an ‘anomaly’
By Shiloh Appel
On January 8th, an approximately 2.5 year old male mountain lion weighing 120 pounds was shot just south of Hitchcock. According to GFP wildlife biologist, Steve Griffin, the lion was more than likely traveling alone.
“It is a young male. Young males travel,” said Griffin. He said he does not suspect that there are any other lions in the vicinity.
“This is kind of an anomaly,” he said.
Griffin said it is very rare for mountain lions to be harvested out on the prairie. Most mountain lions in South Dakota are harvested in the Black Hills Fire Protection District, and even those numbers aren’t very big. Since the December 26th, 2019 start of mountain lion season in the Black Hills Fire Protection District, 16 mountain lions have been harvested. Since last April, only 10 lions have been harvested on the South Dakota prairie, most of them just outside of the BHFPD.
The harvest limit for mountain lions in the BHFPD is 60 total lions or 40 female lions per hunting season, whichever is reached first. On the prairie, there is no limit.
Currently, the mountain lion population goal in the Black Hills is 200 to 300 total mountain lions. The actual total population, however, is unknown.
Mountain lions, also referred to as cougars or pumas, are native to the hilly regions of South Dakota. The males can weigh up to 220 pounds and the females can weigh up to 140. When running, they can reach speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour.
Due to conservation efforts, mountain lion populations in the United States are currently stable.