A strangely worded bill signed by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard is making hunters scratch their heads, and possibly fall afoul of the law. According to the Rapid City Journal, the bill signed on Wednesday is titled, “An act to allow the use of dogs to hunt mountain lions and leashed dogs to track and retrieve wounded or presumed dead big game animals.”
Sounds fairly straight-forward right? Wrong, says Game, Fish and Parks (GF&P) Assistant Wildlife Director Emmett Keyser.
“The existing language in statute on that was reconfigured a bit, and unfortunately, that was misunderstood,” Keyser told the Rapid City Journal. “There’s no change in that authorization [to hunt cougars with dogs]. The commission can, of course, already allow the use of dogs in certain situations.”
The bill will allow leashed dogs to find wounded or presumed dead big game such as mountain lions, not to actively hunt them.
“I’ve heard people say, ‘OK, now we can go out anywhere and hunt lions with dogs.’ It doesn’t do that at all,” said GF&P regional supervisor Mike Kintigh. “It actually started out to allow the use of leashed dogs to retrieve wounded big game, and then that lions stuff got confusing.”
The use of dogs to hunt lions in the state is only allowed within Custer State Park.