Pierre, SD, United States (4E Sports) – South Dakota’s Department of Game, Fish and Park (DFGP) is anticipating that Black Hills mountain lion hunting will become the state’s next big income generating recreation.
Last season, 4,351 mountain lion licenses were purchased in South Dakota. No other species has seen the explosive growth in license sales in comparison to the growing popularity of mountain lion hunting.
Compared to deer hunting, only 3,300 Black Hills rifle deer licenses were sold, more than double the number of mountain lion hunting licenses sold in 2010.
The state said mountain lion expansionists have enjoyed seeing mountain lion populations expand to surrounding states, including Nebraska, North Dakota and Wyoming.
Iowa, which has no protected status on mountain lions, has even had a legal harvest for the first time in over 100 years. Prior to 2001, the last reported mountain lion taken in Iowa was in 1867.
The DFGP said mountain lion hunters appear to enjoy the hunt more than other sportsmen, spending twice as much time compared to deer hunters.
According to a survey, Black Hills deer hunters average a little over four days afield per season, 4,500 spring turkey hunters spent just over three days while mountain lion hunters spend twice as much time hunting despite the fact that only about 1.2 percent of 2013 mountain lion hunters were successful.
With pheasant numbers and license sales declining in South Dakota, mountain lion hunting is an economic engine for South Dakota and other new mountain lion hunting states.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation said hunters spend billions of dollars each year on hunting equipment and ammunition.
They spend additional billions contributing to local economies on their hunts and to environmental protection organizations to ensure the survival of their quarry.