Lions, Hunters Face Off

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors

April 14, 2010

Lions, Hunters Face Off
New data from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department indicates
that mountain lions in the Black Hills region
of the state killed as many deer last year as did hunters, raising concern
among hunters and biologist alike. You’ll also read about the passage of a law
in Alabama that protects hunting lands, and
about the benevolent deer hunters of Ohio.

Mountain Lions Match S.D. Deer Hunters
South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department biologists estimate that mountain
lions kill about 5,500 deer in the Black Hills region annually, which is about the same
number of animals taken by deer hunters there in the most recent season.

“It’s absolutely true that lions are one of the main causes of deer
mortality in the Black Hills,” said GF&P
Regional Game Specialist John Kanta.

The Rapid City Journal reports that lion predation of deer is currently a
point of serious discussion in South Dakota, as a series of public meetings on
mountain lion management kicks off. The first of those meetings was held in
Spearfish last week, with more than 60 people attending to listen and comment.

J.R. Absher

Kanta told those in attendance
that while lions feed on both elk and deer, they target deer in particular,
making the impact on deer numbers more pronounced.

He estimated that each year Black Hills
lions kill about 6,300 “large ungulates,” which include elk, deer, bighorn
sheep, and mountain goats. But the vast majority of those large mammal kills,
about 5,500, are deer, followed by elk and a lesser number of bighorn sheep and
mountain goats.

In recent years, the Black Hills deer
harvest by hunters has declined from 7,800 in 2007, to 7,000 in 2008, and down
to 5,500 in 2009.

No Net Loss Becomes Law In Alabama
Alabama Gov. Bob Riley has signed legislation into law requiring the state
maintain no net loss of hunting lands by “expeditiously” replacing acreage it
owns or manages that may be closed to hunting, where feasible.

The legislation passed unanimously in the House and Senate with the backing
of the National Rifle Association and the state conservation department.

During negotiations with the conservation department, the bill’s House
sponsor and avid hunter, Rep. Craig Ford (D-Etowah), said “expeditiously” was
understood to be within a six-month period. He added that exceptions could be

“If we were to lose say 30,000 acres in one block, we’re not going to
handcuff them with a six-month requirement, but I don’t want replacing that
acreage put on the back burner either,” Ford said.

In order to track hunting lands, the law requires all state agencies and
water management districts to annually report acreage closed to hunting to the
legislature and conservation department.

The “No Net Loss” law also mandates that every effort be made to find
replacement hunting lands in the district where they were lost.

Ohio Hunters Donate Record Amount Of Venison
In the third year of a collaborative effort teaming the Ohio DNR Division of
Wildlife and the organization “Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH),” a
record number of deer were donated by hunters to help feed the needy in the
Buckeye State.

For the 2009-10 deer season, 116,750 pounds of venison was donated and
processed, translating into nearly a half-million meals for Ohioans. This
year’s amount more than doubled the 2008-09 mark of 54,800 pounds.

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