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What happens to the cougars of the Black Hills is highly relevant to cougar restoration in the East and Midwest because most documented young cougars in the Midwest were born in the Black Hills.

Note the last comments on the bottom of Woster’s blog post.  It matters when the sporting public (<10% of the population) expresses their concerns but obviously not the general public.  Wildlife belong to ALL citizens and commissioners should be listening to ALL of them.  Not just ranchers and hunters.  Until they do, we will continue to see abuses to the system as we are seeing in the Black Hills.

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“And it was public input that persuaded the commissioners to set a lion-kill quota higher than their biological staff recommended for the last three years. I have little doubt the lion quota will go up for next year, likely with more permits issued for the Custer Park part of the season. Might we overshoot lions, too? It’s possible, but it doesn’t seem likely given how quickly the season quota was filled and exceeded this year.”

“Yes, it was tacky that some booed and hissed Nancy Hilding, an environmental advocate with the courage to speak out in defense of lions at a meeting where she was outnumbered more than 100-to-one.”

http://www.rapidcityjournal.com/app/blogs/outdoors/

Rapid City Journal

Kevin Woster – Take It Outside

After a good GF&P, uh, policy chewin’, what’s next?

March 31st, 2012

By KW

Great meeting.

The packed house at the Outdoor Campus West on Thursday night was a thing of beauty in many ways.

Yes, it was tacky that some booed and hissed Nancy Hilding, an environmental advocate with the courage to speak out in defense of lions at a meeting where she was outnumbered more than 100-to-one.

Read more…

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Statement by Nancy Hilding, President of the Prairie Hills Audubon Society, Black Hawk, South Dakota

Dear Commission,

 

Comments on Black Hills , Custer State Park, Archery Elk Hunting Seasons.

I realize that the concern today (April 4th, 2012) is the elk harvest levels.  However decisions today, may effect decisions in the fall about the mountain lion season. We ask that SD Game, Fish and Parks not plan to increase the quota on Mt. Lions, in order to maximize elk populations, but rather limit  your cure for the elk population issues, to reducing elk hunting by humans. We also ask that you use the power of the state to get the Black Hills National Forest to manage the forest for more elk and better elk habitat.

Of the deaths/mortality of Elk in SD, 11% are from mt. lions, 80% from hunters (either ones taken or that die later of hunting wounds) and 9% from other causes such as vehicle collisions.  We believe that the predators other than  humans should be allowed their natural function in the ecosystem and to hunt their normal prey.  We believe the human predators need to share the “prey” with wildlife predators.

There is a 80% overlap in diet between elk and cattle. We also express concern about the BHNF management of elk habitat and ask the GFP Commission to pressure the FS to improve elk habitat across the forest, to reduce the annual numbers of livestock on the forest so more elk can be grown on the forest (instead of livestock) and to improve monitoring of cattle grazing to insure  the required residual grass is actually left after cows leave. Cattle are a human “prey”. and thus all the grass consumed by cows, ends up supporting human predators (All of us who eat beef).. Besides forage, elks need low road densities, and hiding and thermal cover (trees/bushes to hide behind or live under in winter).  The management of the BHs influences the elk numbers.

Folks wanting more elk, should not be blaming the non-human predators, who only seek to live, We  need to share some of the “prey” with other predators. Predators serve ecological purposes in the forest.

We support reductions in the harvest of elks by humans, not increased quotas on lions.

Thanks,

 

Nancy Hilding

For self and Society

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