State of South Dakota  


Introduced by:    Representatives Olson (Betty), Brunner, Cronin, Dennert, Fargen, Greenfield, Hansen (Jon), Hubbel, Jensen, Jones, Kirkeby, Kloucek, Kopp, Liss, Miller, Russell, Schaefer, Schrempp, Steele, Stricherz, Van Gerpen, Vanneman, Verchio, and Wink and Senators Maher, Begalka, Bradford, Brown, Frerichs, Juhnke, Rampelberg, Rhoden, and Sutton

        A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Directing the Department of Game, Fish and Parks to return a mountain lion carcass or pelt to a certain Harding County resident and to reconsider its policy with respect to possession of mountain lion carcasses and pelts.
    WHEREAS, based on state law recognizing wildlife as the property of the public and allowing licensed hunters to possess wildlife animals taken according to the terms of the license, the Department of Game, Fish and Parks will confiscate the carcasses and pelts of mountain lions that are taken outside the terms of a hunting license, regardless of any extenuating circumstances in individual situations; and
    WHEREAS, SDCL 41-6-29.1 authorizes a person, licensed or unlicensed, to kill a mountain lion if reasonably necessary to protect the life of any person or if the mountain lion poses an imminent threat to the person's livestock or pets; and
    WHEREAS, on November 19, 2011, a rancher from Harding County who possessed a license to hunt mountain lions was feeding his sheep when his cattle dogs disappeared. After

he finished feeding, he searched for the dogs and found them barking at a mountain lion in a tree. He immediately took his .22 magnum rifle, which he keeps with him at all times, and shot the lion. He then called Game, Fish and Parks to report his kill as instructed on the license. The game warden came to the ranch and confiscated the mountain lion, even though the rancher had a valid license to hunt mountain lions. The rancher not only shot the mountain lion with a too small caliber rifle, but he also told the warden about his dogs finding the mountain lion, and state law prohibits the use of dogs in hunting mountain lions. The rancher has purchased a license to hunt mountain lions for several years because he wanted to keep the lion if he ever shot one; and

    WHEREAS, in this case, the immediate circumstances of the situation made it impossible, or extremely imprudent and potentially threatening to life or property, to follow all of the requirements of the mountain lion hunting license with respect to caliber of the weapon and the presence of dogs. The person in question held a valid mountain lion hunting license, acted in a prudent manner to address what could have been an emergency situation, and reported his actions promptly and honestly to the Department of Game, Fish and Parks; and
    WHEREAS, the interpretation of state statute resulting in the confiscation of the mountain lion in this instance is unfair and falls outside the spirit of the statute:
    NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, by the House of Representatives of the Eighty-seventh Legislature of the State of South Dakota, the Senate concurring therein, that the South Dakota Legislature requests the Department of Game, Fish and Parks, in the case described in this resolution, to return the mountain lion carcass or pelt to the licensed hunter who shot the mountain lion; and
    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Legislature urges the Department of Game, Fish and Parks to reconsider its policies relating to the confiscation of mountain lions taken by

licensed hunters in situations in which circumstances require immediate action to protect the safety of persons and property.