RAPID CITY, SD – The South Dakota Game Fish and Parks Commission has voted to raise the harvest limit for the upcoming 2012 Mountain Lion Hunting Season.

The initial proposal by the commission was for a harvest limit of 60 lions, with a sub-quota limit of 40 female lions. After receiving two months’ of written testimony, followed by oral testimony during a public hearing, the commissioners voted to raise the limits to 70 total lions, or a sub quota of 50 females.

The commission also voted to incorporate Custer State Park into the statewide Mountain Lion Hunting Season, which will run from Jan. 1-March 31, unless the overall quota or sub quota is reached sooner.

Last year, Custer State Park (CSP) had its own limit of lions and was restricted to 10 hunters. For the 2012 season, lions harvested in Custer State Park will count toward the statewide season limits. The change will allow more hunters access to the park, under certain rules.

Custer State Park rules:

A limited number of mountain lion license holders will have the opportunity to hunt in the park. Individual interested in hunting mountain lions in CSP must enter their names into a random drawing to obtain a free Special Access Permit to hunt mountain lions in the park. Those hunters will also be able to hunt outside CSP as part of the regular season. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email. To maximize lion hunter participation in CSP, successful applicants will be required to respond within four days of the email notification that they plan to participate in order to receive a Special Access Permit. If no response is received, an applicant’s name will be removed from the list to get the special permit. In such instances, a random alternate from the list of unsuccessful applicants will be contacted to receive the vacated Special Access Permit. There will be six time periods to hunt mountain lions in CSP; 15 Special Access Permits will be issued for each of those hunting periods. Each period includes two weekends. License holders may submit their names for each hunting period, but will only be drawn for one.

The tentative deadline dates, tentative drawing dates, and CSP hunting periods:

Deadline Date Drawing Date Hunting Period
Dec. 6 Dec. 7 Jan. 1-15
Dec. 20 Dec. 21 Jan. 16-30
Jan. 8 Jan. 9 Jan. 31-Feb. 14
Jan. 22 Jan. 23 Feb. 15-29
Feb. 8 Feb. 9 Mar. 1-15
Feb. 22 Feb. 23 Mar. 16-31

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