SPEARFISH, South Dakota — A proposal to allow nonresidents to hunt mountain lions in South Dakota is drawing opposition.
The Game, Fish and Parks Commission plan would allow nonresidents to go after lions for $121, the same fee as a nonresident pheasant license, the Rapid City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/1KQECUU ).
The South Dakota Wildlife Federation and the Prairie Hills Audubon Society during a public hearing in Spearfish on Thursday testified against allowing nonresidents to hunt lions in the state, where the lion population has decreased to an estimated 240 animals.
The drop has led to a proposed decrease in the number of cats that can be killed during the upcoming season, from last year's limit of 75 total lions or 50 females to 60 animals or 40 females.
"It's far too early to open up the season to nonresidents," Wildlife Federation Executive Director Chris Hesla said.
Game, Fish and Parks as of Thursday also had received 21 written comments opposed to allowing nonresidents to hunt lions, and only three in favor.
"It's an emotional issue and we recognize that," Commission Chairman John Cooper said.
A final decision on the matter will be made later.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com