Lots of lions means aggressive harvest - KOTA Territory News

Lots of lions means aggressive harvest


 Maria May and her husband Matt live about three miles outside of Custer, and mountain lions aren't exactly strangers in their neighborhood. "I've lost a total of ten chickens and ten turkeys," said May. "We only have like two or three chickens left."

But their scariest encounter was when Maria was carrying their young son to the car, and spotted a lion killing a deer just 15 feet from their house. "The lion population is growing, they're kind of not getting scared of humans and stuff like that, [and] we have more and more lions walking into town," said May

Their dog Gavin is one of the May's protectors, but even a big fierce dog like him can't always keep the mountain lions away.

"There's too many lions right now," said Game Fish and Parks Wildlife Manager John Kanta. He says that's why Game Fish and Parks is pursuing such an aggressive harvest. "You can argue the numbers all day long, but setting the numbers aside we agree that there's too many lions and we're out to reduce the population."

But not everyone agrees killing them is the best way to manage the lions. "Some people worry about it's becoming not viable which means that there aren't enough lions to keep sustaining the population," said Prairie Hills Audubon Society President Nancy Hilding.

And both sides agree there's a pretty small chance you would be attacked by a mountain lion. "In 113 years in Canada and the United States there would be an average of one point four attacks my mountain lions for every ten years," said Hilding.

But the Mays still have their concerns.

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