If you are interested in how South Dakota manages big game, including mountain lions,  comment sessions will be held May 14-16 across the state.

Governor Daugaard hired independent contractor,  Wildlife Management Institute to gather insight and information from the public as they review big game management policies and practices of South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks. The review will include recommendations to improve the policies and practices.

Here are the dates, times, and locations. The agenda is listed further below. The closest one to Sioux Falls, is in Brookings next Tuesday, May 14th:

Tuesday, May 14: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. CDT
Northern Plains Biostress Lab Building, Room 103; North Campus Drive, South Dakota State University, Brookings

Wednesday, May 15: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. CDT
Joe Foss Building, Matthews Training Center (first floor); 523 East Capitol Ave., Pierre

Thursday, May 16: 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. MDT
City School Administration Center Community Room; 300 Sixth Street, Rapid City

Each  session will follow the following format:

  • Introduction to WMI and the review process
  • Explanation of meeting structure and purpose
  • Public input on: Deer Management Program, Elk Management Program, Antelope Management Program, Mountain Lion Management Program, Additional Public Comments

From my perspective, another wild animal should be a part of this review, the wolf.

Currently, our state, by law, considers the wolf a varmint, to be shot on sight. Most folks acknowledge there are too many deer, elk, and antelope in the state. Hunters usually only take the trophy animals, taking away the best genes, so we end up with more, but poorer animals.

Not good for them, and not good for us.

Citizens are encouraged to submit comments at the meetings, although written comments may be emailed to: SDcomments@wildlifemgt.org or sent by standard mail to: Wildlife Management Institute, 1440 Upper Bermudian Road, Gardners, PA 17324.

The big-game management review should be completed by October 2013.