Recent lion kills raise questions about SDGF&P kitten policy - KOTA Territory News

Recent lion kills raise questions about SDGF&P kitten policy

While the mountain lion hunting season was off to a slow start, the total number of harvested lions is now up to 40.
Of those, 25 are females. The last two big cats were killed a week ago. Both were male lions and both were hunted in Lawrence County.
One was five-years-old, the other was four-months-old. The five-month-old was determined to be a legal kill by the South Dakota State Game, Fish and Parks Department.


The recent kill of a young lion, as well as three others under six months of age, is raising questions about South Dakota Game, Fish and Park's Department policy concerning kittens.
Steve Griffin, wildlife biologist, says there is no age limit to classify a kitten as an illegal kill. But it is illegal to kill cats with spots. The gray area: kittens lose their spots at different times.

Griffin says the kittens that were recently killed during the lion hunt had faded spots and were classified as legal kills.

He adds that the environment, weather, and distance can make it hard for hunters to judge a lion's age.

"Dark timber makes a difference. If it's in the sunshine spots, might be more evident, but if it's in the shaded areas - like most lions are - they're just not that evident, said Griffin. "So we have to make a judgment call when we look at the lions that get called in."

Thomas Mangelsan, co-founder of The Cougar Fund, calls the recent kitten kills unethical and un-sportsmanlike. 


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