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Mountain lions

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Liberty Belle

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South Dakota just opened it's first mountain lion hunting season because we are being over run with them. So far three of them have been killed and the PETA type folks are going nuts.

Here is a story from today's Rapid City Journal:

State team finds lion cubs
By Kevin Woster, Journal Staff Writer
An elk hunter from Highmore killed the third mountain lion of the state's most controversial hunting season Tuesday morning near Spearfish, a few hours before biologists rescued a litter of lion kittens that had been orphaned Sunday near Custer State Park when their mother was shot.
GF&P officials confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the third lion of the season was shot earlier in the day by a hunter using an elk call about seven miles southwest of Spearfish. The lion was a 121-pound male estimated to be 3 years old.

GF&P officials in Rapid City declined to release the name of the hunter. One official said hunters who killed lions last weekend and were identified in Journal stories had received critical telephone calls.

One of those hunters, Cade Cradduck of Volga, helped two GF&P biologists and a South Dakota State University lion researcher locate the litter of lions that he unknowingly orphaned Sunday when he shot their mother as the cat moved toward him aggressively.

George Vandel, assistant Wildlife Division director for GF&P in Pierre, said Cradduck led the team to the exact spot where he shot the lion. The GF&P crew had failed to find the kittens during a search of the general area the day before.

With Cradduck's help, GF&P biologists John Kanta and Lowell Schmitz and lion researcher Dan Thompson found the kittens in a den about 50 yards from the spot where they found Cradduck's shell casing.

"They found three 2½-month old kittens, about 10 pounds each, one male and two females," Vandel said. "We had them examined by a local veterinarian. They were a little dehydrated but otherwise healthy."

Vandel said the lions were being cared for in relative isolation with little human contact until officials decide what to do with them. He admitted that the decision to search for the kittens — a departure from normal GF&P policy — was more about public perception than wildlife management.

"We agonized over this. We tried to weigh the right thing to do and the wrong thing to do and the biological side of it, which was minimal," Vandel said. "And we decided this was the proper thing to do."

Critics of the mountain lion season said they were happy the kittens were found but still upset that a lactating lion was killed while caring for her kittens.

"I think it's better than having them die a slow, miserable death from starvation, but I hate that they're going to have to live a life in captivity," Lynn Sadler, president of the California-based Mountain Lion Foundation, said. "It's a bittersweet victory, that's for sure."

Sadler said the incident shows that a GF&P regulation aimed at protecting lions with kittens was ineffective. The regulation prohibits hunters from shooting spotted kittens or lions accompanying spotted kittens.

"Here, we had a mother trying to defend her kittens, which were just 50 yards away, and she gets killed," Sadler said. "This just proves that the law has no force."

Cradduck reported that he was walking through the woods hunting elk when the lion appeared about 20 feet away, growled and came at him. He said he fired immediately and killed the cat when it was about 15 feet away.

Vandel said that in that situation, Cradduck had the right to defend himself whether there was a lion season or not.

"I put myself in that situation, and I would have shot that animal," Vandel said.

Dr. Sharon Seneczko of Custer, founder of the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation, said the killing of the lactating female was the fault of the lion season, not the lion hunter.

"He didn't want to do that. What hunter does?" Seneczko said. "And I really hope the public doesn't really get angry with these hunters. It's not their fault. It's the design of the season. Nobody should badger the hunters."

The two organizations headed by Seneczko and Sadler unsuccessfully challenged the season in court. And the Mountain Lion Foundation still has a petition pending before the state GF&P Commission, which set the season, to rescind that rule.

The commission is scheduled to deal with that issue during its meeting Thursday and Friday in Yankton.

Gov. Mike Rounds said late Tuesday afternoon that he called GF&P officials Monday to discuss whether to search for the kittens.

"They thought it might be possible to find them," Rounds said. "They decided that if we could somehow save them, we should. I agreed with that analysis. I think it makes everybody happy."

Vandel said GF&P was not allowing reporters, the public or even many GF&P staffers to see the kittens. He said seclusion was best for the kittens.

Sadler said it also avoided publicity that would hurt support for the lion season.

"They don't want you to take a picture of those lions because, at that age, they are cuter than a bug's ear, and they don't want you to see what that hunter orphaned," she said. "And they can try to hide it, but I promise you we're going to keep telling the story."

Rounds said it's a complicated story that includes intense emotions but also the real need to trim the Black Hills mountain lion population. He said the death of the lactating female was an unfortunate effect of a season that he nevertheless supports.

The season will run through Dec. 15 unless hunters kill 25 lions overall or five breeding-age females before that date. In the first four days, hunters killed two breeding-age females and an adult male.

Rounds said he was comfortable that the sub-quota for adult females imposed by the GF&P Commission would protect the breeding population.

"I'm going to stick with them on this," Round said of the commission and its season. "I personally have a soft spot for the mountain lion. But at the same time, I know we have more here than we have space for, and we're going to have some encounters that may not end without an injury to a person. It's important to manage the population."

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or [email protected]
October 5, 2005
http://rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/10/05/news/top/news01.txt
 

Liberty Belle

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Here are two letters to the editor from a couple of the local flakes who would rather kill babies than large predators:

Crocodile tears

Sept. 28 must have been right-wing Wednesday in the Journal's op-ed. Letter after letter in a plethora of printed crocodile tears for the unborn.

Liberals are constantly being referred to as bleeding hearts, but it seems to me that it's conservatives who are immersed in emotion when it comes to the poor little zygotes (an ovum that has just been fertilized).

Mary Mitchell, you and others like yourself are continually expressing how we must respect all life because it is sacred and precious. Gov. Rounds has even designated Oct. 2 as "Respect for Life Sunday."

Isn't it interesting that we have a day dedicated to life just hours after the mountain lion slaughter kicks off! I'd be willing to bet that 95 percent of the conservative pro-life crowd supports this unspeakable disrespect for innocent life.

The pro-life movement needs to change its title to something which better reflects what the organization really stands for. How about, "The Human Adoration Society."

DONALD R. BAKER

Sturgis

People problem

I would like to thank all those who have/will write/speak as friends/advocates of the South Dakota mountain lions. I have lost the battle but the war will continue.

The truth is we have people problems (increased population, rapid development, lack of education/knowledge about cougars) and not a lion problem!

There are good reasons why God placed the predators on top of the animal kingdom. They truly benefit our environment and us.

If I had money/consul (sadly I don't) I would subpoena anyone who ever spoke the words "mountain lion/season." In court we would finally find the truth!

Now, however, we must accept this awful situation, pick up the pieces and move forward, changing the way this precious cat is perceived.

Finally, an alert must go out! I predict the commission will "extend" the season so lions can be killed "legally" to fulfill the limits/quotas. This will be done to prevent wounded egos and save political careers having nothing to do with the welfare/longevity of the puma or science.

Please do not let this happen! The silent majority must stand and speak for this mute but invaluable creation.

TOM HUHNERKOCH
 

Red Robin

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Speaking of overpopulation I read an interesting article the other day. I'll link it. Could it be this is more liberal media/communist propaganda?
http://www.enterstageright.com/archive/articles/0500overpopulation.htm
 

DJL

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Funny how these same cougar/wolf lovers sing a different tune when their pets disappear off their doorsteps. Suddenly they want action, and they want it yesterday. They want 'wilderness' as long as it doesn't affect them in the slightest. This business of equating human life with animal life needs to stop. They seem to forget that man is the top of the heap on the predator list.
 

Liberty Belle

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Here are a couple more letters to the editor from local loonies. I get the impression that these women think there should be a season on people!

Genius has it's limits, too bad stupidity doesn't.

Too many people

When I first heard about the proposed mountain lion hunting season it made me sick, but I thought: Surely it won't happen, surely people have more sense then to set a hunting season for an animal that it took me 35 years of living and playing in the Hills to finally catch a glimpse of.

I am from a very active hunting family and understand the importance of hunting "overpopulated" animals, but come on, 35 years to see just one? Overpopulated ... I don't think so.

What we are overpopulated with is all the people that want to build in "nature" and then freak out when "nature" comes to their door. They choose to build in the midst of these animals' habitats, forcing them to move out of their seclusion and looking for someplace to go.

Taking care of the few problem lions is sad, but I know it has to be done from time to time, but we do not need to hunt down the few that are here and are trying to remain out of sight.

I have a few words for the people who think we need this season: New York City's that way, see ya!

MARNIE COLHOFF

Piedmont


Disaster for lions

Surprise! Surprise! Someone has already killed a female lion on the first day of this stupid hunt. She may have had a young lion with her and may have possibly been teaching him/her to hunt.

The stupid judge could have delayed his decision, but seemed to have been in a big hurry. Why, could he possibly be a hunter? You will never convince me that the judge didn't already have his mind made up before the hearing.

With the killing of the ones deemed to be "problem" lions and others that may die because they are sick or because they are hit by a car, this may prove to be a disaster for the mountain lion population.

Will the GF&P Department admit to making a mistake and stop the hunt? Heck no, government agencies rarely admit mistakes.

I don't know the gestation period of a female lion, but is it possible they might also kill pregnant females?

My only wish is that these stupid hunters shoot themselves in the foot.

KATHRYN A. HESS

Nemo
October 7, 2005
 

Liberty Belle

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The lion-loving loonies are getting nastier. This story is from today's Rapid City Journal:

Angry callers berate hunters
By Kevin Woster, Journal Staff Writer

State Game, Fish & Parks Department biologist John Kanta got a little bit of everything when he answered the phone in his Rapid City office last week.
Some people screamed. Others swore. A few wept.

Almost all were angry. Most were, as my mom liked to say, madder than a wet hen — and just as noisy.

It was all about mountain lions and the hunting season that began eight days ago. As one of the key GF&P research staffers on the lion season, Kanta took some complimentary calls but also caught the dickens from people who hate the hunt.

“I took a lot of calls this week,” he said Friday afternoon after checking in the fifth mountain lion — a young male weighing 108 pounds — of the new season. “About 90 percent of the people I talked to said they didn’t approve of the season.”

That’s a polite way to put it. But then, Kanta’s a polite guy. And he tried to stay that way on the phone last week, even when callers were quite the opposite.

Accepting public comment is one thing. That’s part of his job. Being verbally abused is not.

“I tried to tell people that yelling at me and swearing at me, and even crying, wasn’t a good way to get their point across,” Kanta said. “I’m there to listen and to take those comments, and I’ll report them to our commission. I promise people that. If people have strong opinions they want to express, I’ll see that the commission hears about that.

“But I’m not going to sit there and have people swear at me.”

That’s my rule as a reporter, too. Got a complaint about my story? I’ll listen, especially if you give me your name, and especially if you use mine — Woster, that is, rather than those lively titles that question my parentage or defame my ancestors.

I’ve been yelled at a bit myself for coverage of this lion season. I’ve had the biblical implications of lion hunting explained to me. I’ve had the probability of lion extinction detailed. I’ve had my many weaknesses as a reporter pointed out.

That’s fine. It comes with the job, for me and for Kanta.

But Brad Dana and Cade Cradduck don’t get paid to take what they’ve been taking. And they shouldn’t have to.

Dana and Cradduck are the two guys who shot the first two lions of South Dakota’s first lion-hunting season. I used their names in stories for the Journal. And they’ve been paying for it ever since.

Dana has been called a murderer. The receptionist at his office has been screamed at time after time.

Pretty classy, huh?

Cradduck has suffered the same abuse, and then some. In fact, his wife has taken so many abusive telephone calls that they’ll probably have to get an unlisted number.

Here are some truths that the harassers choose to disregard:

It was the state Legislature, not these two hunters, who passed the bill allowing lions to be hunted. It was the GF&P Commission that tailored and approved the season. And, despite the controversy, it was Gov. Mike Rounds — who sits atop that entire process — who endorsed the idea initially and restated his support for the lion season last week.

Yet, two hunters who simply took part in the season are taking the bulk of the abuse. And their staff and families are suffering, too.

That’s shameful.

I’ll say this much for the anonymous big-mouths: They’ve had an impact. Through their campaign of harassment, they seem to have ended my ability — probably for the remainder of the season — to report the names of the hunters who kill lions.

Dana and Cradduck readily gave me their names, and they’re now understandably sorry they did. Subsequent hunters have shown little interest in being identified.

“With all the controversy, we just decided it’s better not to,” said the wife of a Rapid City man who bagged a lion west of town on Wednesday.

GF&P won’t release the names. And Kanta said he advises hunters against doing it themselves.

“With all the emotion out there, and the way some people are expressing it, publishing their names would just open them up to harassment.” Kanta said. “If the hunters ask, I tell them it’s up to them, but I also tell them that I wouldn’t.”

At the risk of being labeled a murderer and having my family harassed, I probably wouldn’t, either.

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or [email protected]
October 9, 2005
 

Liberty Belle

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These letters to the editor were all in today's RCJ. Gives you an idea about the problem Woster is describing in the above article.

Relocate to Florida
(wish this guy would follow his own advice!)

The mountain lion hunting season in South Dakota is about as well-conceived to game management as what war is to population control.

GF&P claims there is no alternative, including relocation, because they will just come back to their previous territory (notice they said the lion's territory). But why doesn't GF&P consider more remote territory?

The swamps of southern Florida have a population of lions that is so territory-restricted that it has resulted in a population that has become inbred to the point where they are now restricted in size and are showing abnormalities like a kink in the end of their tails.

Moving some of our excess population there would enhance both populations. But that would require the cooperation of two governmental agencies. Heaven forbid!

The Winchester method is easier. One bullet, or several shotgun shells in the case of a moose, and the problem is gone.

When I went through wildlife biology at SDSU, we did so through a love of animals. Now that appears to be gone. GF&P (Guns, Fees & Politics) seems to follow the same path as Washington does in Iraq. Sacrifice lions and soldiers.

It proves that the most dangerous predator on earth is man!

DEAN FLAGE

Sturgis

That was fun
(Real fun is finding this lion eating on your livestock. What a hoot!)

Man! Killing that lion was fun! And fair, too. My 30-06 against her ... well, against her.

It was sooo much fun I think we'll just go back out there and shoot her kittens. Heck, GF&P says they're for sure gonna die anyhow.

Lemmie see ... as for this one - I can't eat her, I can't afford to mount her, and she'd make a lousy rug.

Hey hon! How much room you got in the trash bin?

ROGER KLINE

Custer

Shoot with camera
(I wonder how he'd feel after being stalked by this "beautiful, majestic animal?)

I just don't get it. How can anybody feel pride and elation at "harvesting" such a beautiful and majestic animal? That female mountain lion just wanted to live its life - like we all do. How can a person feel good about destroying a life?

I wish the hunter had shot that wonderful animal with a camera instead and shared the prints, so many more people could have enjoyed his experience of seeing that elusive creature in the wild of our Black Hills.

JACK H. WEAVER

Rapid City

Crossed the line
(The only letter in today's paper that made sense)

The Rapid City Journal crossed the line with its story titled "Hunter shoots mother." Male lions regularly cannibalize cubs, but I doubt the Journal will ever run a front page headline claiming "Father eats children" to describe such an event.

On the same day, you run an opinion poll on your Web site that might as well have read, "Vote against lion season here."

The state allows the shooting of "mother" coyotes year-long, actually promotes a youth "mother" deer season, and allows anglers/hunters to harvest "mother" fish and birds. Rapid City actually pays sharpshooters to kill "mother" deer and their "children."

Every state that has an active lion season today has more lions now than when the quota-managed hunts were reinstated. Allow our wildlife professionals to do the jobs we pay them for and you will have a stable, huntable lion population that slowly develops a reasonable fear of people, their homes and communities.

The people of South Dakota have already voiced their opinion of lion hunting in South Dakota.

The Rapid City Journal's editorializing of early kills shows disrespect for its own citizens' opinions and is now acting as a front for Californian activists.

ROBERT SPEIRS

Spearfish

Forgive our greed
(Greed?)

I believe that there is a difference between a hunter and a killer. I believe that those who would allow and those who would act on the killing of mountain lions in the wild are killers only.

Since mankind's arrival in North America, we have exterminated over 90 percent of our large mammal brethren on this continent. Lack of wisdom is clearly not alien to our species!

At one time, I believed that agencies like Game, Fish & Parks were created to be a voice for wildlife. I now believe that their interest is in selling more hunting licenses by throwing the mountain lion, one of our last great predators, onto the alter of sacrifice to the killers among us.

When questioned, GF&P staff told me that it was a "great expense in time and money" to use staff to handle "troublesome" lions, but it apparently is not too expensive to send staff searching for the starving cubs whose young mother was murdered as the result of their misguided policies and a killer's need to kill.

May God forgive us for our greed, lack of stewardship and absence of wisdom in our overseeing of his creation.

KENNETH BOWE

Hot Springs
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
The choice is really simple:

Either hunters harvest the surplus above the carrying capacity of the land or they will die by:

1. Territorial battles
2. Road pizza
3. Start killing livestock and need to be removed
4. Move into urban areas, pose a threat, and need to be removed.
5. Move into Wyoming to a void created by Wyoming's hunting season.

It's not a question of whether the surplus lions will be killed without a hunting season, it's a matter of how they will be killed.

These Bambi mentality animal rights fanatics actually believe that the Black Hills can continue to produce mountain lions and these large cats will just join paws and live happily ever after. After all, that's what Disney has taught them.

These animal rights zealots show their intelligence not only in their warped views of proper wildlife management but they also show it in how they call our office or RCJ reporters and chew them out.

Everyone should have caller ID and report the names and numbers of these idiots so sportsmans groups can return these phone calls.

I have less tolerance for animal rights wackos than I do for packer blamers.


~SH~
 

Liberty Belle

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Here’s the latest letter to the editor from one of the lion loonies.

Do you suppose she would re-think her "live in harmony with nature" philosophy if she were being stalked by one of these lactating female lions intent on teaching her kittens to hunt?

You will note that Ms. Martens lives in Rapid City. Why should she care about the well-being of country folks and the very real danger from mountain lions they face? I'd call her to discuss the subject, but I'm too cheap to waste a long distance call on someone this ignorant.


Live in harmony

I have been keeping up with the lion situation, even before there was a season. First of all, I think it is terribly wrong. Over the past two days, I have been reading about the season and already there are two female lions that have fallen victim to this ridiculous season, one of which was traveling with her nearly grown daughter. So the younger lion was probably relying on its mother still to help it hunt. So right there that is going to be considered a problem lion.

Now today there has been another victim. This one is younger and was still lactating, which means she still had kittens. The "hunter" said that she ran towards him snarling, probably protecting her cubs.

My biggest fear is this: The problem will never be over until the lions are nearly extinct again. The GF&P is so worried about problem lions, but lions that have been killed so far are not the problem ones.

People who live in the Hills need to live in harmony with nature. If you can't do that, then you need to move back to the city.

SARAH MARTENS

Rapid City
 

Faster horses

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So much of this starts with kids movies. Bambi, etc. Our daughter told us she was appalled at what comes through to the kids on these movies. The animal rights people are innuinating these kids at a very early age.

Someone pointed out to me that the first environmental movies were Walt Disney's "The Living Desert", "The Vanishing Pairie", etc. Those were movies when I was just a kid and I loved 'em.

Oh, yeah, they make it REAL easy to be politically correct...
 

Red Robin

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Faster horses said:
So much of this starts with kids movies. Bambi, etc. Our daughter told us she was appalled at what comes through to the kids on these movies. The animal rights people are innuinating these kids at a very early age.

Someone pointed out to me that the first environmental movies were Walt Disney's "The Living Desert", "The Vanishing Pairie", etc. Those were movies when I was just a kid and I loved 'em.

Oh, yeah, they make it REAL easy to be politically correct...
My wife and I have noticed that the pecking order for intelligence in Hollywood is as follows.
Animals (the smartest , they always save the day)
Children (the smartest human)
Women (not as smart as kids but when it comes to knowing what is best for the family they are always ahead of the Dad)
Men ( Not one smart one in a hundred unless they are a homosexual.)

With propaganda being forced on our children through the media, what do you expect the majority of the people to think?
 

Liberty Belle

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South Dakota Game Fish & Parks is getting pretty sick of the lion lovers:

GF&P rebuts lion season foe
By Kevin Woster, Journal Staff Writer


The loudest voice crying out against the state mountain lion season represents a hatred for hunting that is more suited to California than South Dakota, a state Game, Fish & Parks Department spokesman said Tuesday.
George Vandel, assistant Wildlife Division director for GF&P in Pierre, said the California-based Mountain Lion Foundation, which sued unsuccessfully to stop the lion season, has attacked the season simply because the group opposes hunting. Vandel said the foundation failed in court and in its public statements to substantiate claims that the season was a threat to the overall lion population.

“It’s very clear to me that the Mountain Lion Foundation is an anti-hunting organization that simply doesn’t believe in hunting, which is an important wildlife management tool and a big part of the high quality of life in South Dakota,” Vandel said. “There’s no amount of research we could put together that would satisfy this California group.”

Mountain Lion Foundation president Lynn Sadler rejected Vandel’s criticism. She said the state lion season was based on insufficient data and clearly threatened the long-term viability of the existing lion population in the Hills. Sadler said that although the foundation does not fight hunting seasons for elk, deer and most other popular big-game species, it does oppose general hunting seasons on lions anywhere, including South Dakota.

“We’ve certainly taken no position on hunting prey species. We have taken a position on hunting mountain lions,” Sadler said. “We certainly oppose sport hunting of mountain lions, the random shooting of mountain lions just for fun.”

Sadler said it’s a fallacy that such hunts are valuable in managing a lion population or in decreasing conflicts with humans or livestock and eliminating problem lions. The state’s current system of killing individual cats that have caused problems is a legitimate management tool, but a general hunting season is simply sport, she said.

“This is random shooting of mountain lions for fun. This is not management,” Sadler said. “He (Vandel) has every right to have a recreational hunt, but he should quit calling it management when it’s not.”

Sadler said the foundation, which is based in Sacramento, Calif., has 10,000 members, with membership in every state. It currently has 39 members in South Dakota, she said. The foundation took the lead in the lawsuit and other actions against the season, which Sadler said was likely to cost the group about $50,000.

But other groups also opposed the season, including the Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation and local chapters of the Sierra Club and Audubon Society, Sadler said.

The Black Hills Mountain Lion Foundation is a separate foundation founded two years ago by Sharon Seneczko, a veterinarian in Custer. Seneczko said Tuesday that the foundation has 140 members and is growing.

Seneczko’s group was one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the lion season. And some of its members have been vocal and active in their opposition.

Critics of the season, including Sadler, have said it could destroy the lion population. Sadler said earlier that it had the potential to kill hundreds of lions. And a September news release by the foundation said the season could “trigger the extinction of the Black Hills mountain lion population.”

Vandel said those are examples of the kind of emotional fact distortion the foundation used to oppose the hunting season. The current lion population estimate for the Black Hills in South Dakota is 140 to 150, a number Vandel believes is conservative.

The maximum number of lions that can be killed this season in the Black Hills is 25, which the population could easily handle, he said. And although there is another season allowed for landowners in the rest of the state, there are few lions outside the Black Hills, Vandel said.

“To say this will cause the lions to become extinct or to use that to claim that we could kill hundreds of mountain lions in this season is just ridiculous,” Vandel said. “Hunters have taken seven lions in the Black Hills so far and not one out on the prairie. We might kill one or two out there, but I’d be really surprised if we killed five.”

Sadler said the fact that there are thousands of landowners in the state meant there was certainly the potential to kill hundreds of lions. Based on GF&P’s own population estimate, “therefore, it allows the killing of all of them.”

It doesn’t make sense to base the season on the presumption that hunters won’t be able to kill that many, Sadler said.

“Counting on failure is a hell of a way to manage mountain lions,” she said.

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or [email protected]
October 12, 2005
http://rapidcityjournal.com/articles/2005/10/11/news/local/news01.txt
 

Liberty Belle

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Finally, some letters to the editor of the Rapid City Journal about mountain lion hunting that make sense:

Guess and shoot

Well, here we are a couple of weeks into the lion season and the results are starting to come in. Our GF&P has accomplished the first of their two goals, topping their coffers off, and are well on their way to the second, taking a number of lions out of the system.

I find it interesting that people are talking about the killing of female cats. The highest mortality in any wildcat population is caused by the male cat. They kill each other for breeding dominance, they kill kittens so that the female will come into heat sooner, and they will kill a female when their food supply is threatened. Therefore, every female cat that you kill will reduce the population; every male you kill will increase that population.

Wouldn't it be a good idea for the Journal to have a week dedicated to printing parts of the lion study that the GF&P already have?

The only way to tell if a cat is a male or a female is to get up close and have time to study the animal. The only way of doing this is over dogs at a tree. Anything else is just guess and shoot.

BILL DITHMER

Wanblee

What's next?

The letter on Oct. 9 stating: "Isn't it interesting that we have a day dedicated to life just hours after the mountain lion slaughter kicks off! I'd be willing to bet that 95 percent of the conservative pro-life crowd supports this unspeakable disrespect for innocent life."

You must be referring to the disrespect for innocent "humane" life. It is hard to believe that some people put animal life above human life. I don't even own a gun, so I won't be shooting any mountain lions in the near future. I'm waiting for knife season to open.

The whole game is survival of the fittest. We may have "invaded" the wild animal kingdom, but I sure don't want some wild animal attacking a member of my family.

I'd trust a "crowd" of pro-(abortion)choice around a pregnant woman about as much as I'd trust a mountain lion locked up in a cage with a pregnant woman.

What's the next thing? Get rid of capital punishment because we should never take a human life. That is unless it is still in the womb?

JIM SNOW

Rapid City

Stirring the pot

I am wondering about this whole back and forth on the lion season in South Dakota. First, why does the Journal print the number of cats killed, but not deer, elk or antelope? Are we stirring the pot?

Second, after following this for a few days, I noticed that there are approximately three anti-hunting letters to every one that is pro-hunting. Hmm, I am not sure that is fair.

Third, when people can take photos of lions on their decks in Spearfish Canyon, then there are too many of them. Maybe we should just let the cats have no fear of man and then eat someone that is hiking on the trail.

Would you just call that one a problem cat, or would all of you anti-hunting types then scream about the GF&P not doing their jobs?

We have a lion season in Wyoming, not many are taken and the lions do not eat poodles on anyone's deck.

Just my thoughts on the whole thing.

RICHARD NIELSEN

Upton, Wyo.
 

Liberty Belle

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From today's lion loonies:

Lion hunt a mistake

God forbid that the state government officials of S.D. would admit that they made a mistake in allowing indiscriminate hunting of mountain lions. A wise politician would immediately retract this ignorant decision and prevent further problems that a general hunting season is going to cause politically and environmentally.

Their goal of removing a supposed expanded number and range of threatening lions is not supported by any scientific evidence to create a safer environment for humans, their pets, or livestock. Recreational killing is indiscriminate and has been proven by the first two kills of this season by killing two non-threatening breeding age females and leaving three orphaned kittens to now be raised in captivity if they survive. These animals did not pose a direct threat and should not have been targeted in a general hunting season. Their lives were destroyed merely to increase the value of a hunter's trophy case.

The problem is not with lions themselves, but in the ever-increasing encroachment of the human population into their territory and their ignorance or failure to take precautions to cohabitate with all wildlife in the Black Hills. A general hunting season is a mistake.

SUE HAYES
Nemo

Change leadership

The top layers of our S.D. GF&P management need to be replaced for the demonstrated lack of leadership against special interest groups, less than innovative problem solving and not being representative of the people at large.

Anchorage, Alaska, has moose in the city and they handle the situation. Rapid City has a moose - kill it. Florida loses pets to alligators and they handle it. Black Hills has a few mountain lions - kill at any excuse. Got coyotes - kill using airplanes if requested. Got prairie dogs - kill any way you can. Got deer - let autos and starvation manage the population.

In our subdivision, my wife and I counted 19 deer (all does with many thin and small) and 31 turkeys. The deer have eaten almost everything including, get this, the plastic flowers a neighbor put around his pond. I would like to have many more predators and fewer but healthy deer.

GF&P caters to the ranchers, trophy hunters and taxidermists with an inability to take a stand for the rest of us. I am tired of reading questionable public safety issues and the pseudo-scientific reasons to kill and supposedly manage the game. Change leadership.

DEL M. ZAMBON
Whitewood
(I've met this guy - he is one strange fellow. LB)
 

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