Amidst all the very serious events which are occurring in the world, I thought I’d post an item which has nothing to do with prophecy or ancient history. This post is written “just for fun” and to appeal to the interests and sense of adventure of readers of my blog. I think many non-American readers will be intrigued and surprised to know that the USA has at least two states which have lion-hunting seasons to cull what has become a growing number of lions (called mountain lions, puma or panthers). One of the states with surplus lions and a lion-hunting season is my home state of South Dakota.
The first link reports that lion-hunting has become so popular in South Dakota that 4,351 permits were issued to hunt lions in just one year. This is more than the number of permits issued to hunt deer in the western counties of South Dakota that include the Black Hills–mountainous and forested region which provides excellent lion habitat. The second link reports that up to 75 lions can legally be shot in South Dakota this year (the season ends when certain bench-marks of harvested lions are reached). It is interesting that a lot of hunters would like the thrill of hunting a wild animal which could potentially kill the hunter, unlike pheasants, ducks, deer, etc. which are passively shot as they seek to flee or when spotted in the wild. The mountain lions in South Dakota are generally living in the western Black Hills region of our state, but are occasionally sighted in other locations in my state as well.
South Dakota’s lions have been so prolific that young males have been known to leave South Dakota and seek hunting ranges and mates in far-distant locations. The third link and fourth link report that lions originating in South Dakota have been confirmed to wander as far as other states such as Oklahoma, Wisconsin, and even as far as Connecticut! Wyoming and Montana are so close to South Dakota’s lion range that I’m sure some lions have migrated into those states as well. I recall one media report that a South Dakota lion was found in Missouri. Who knows where else our indigenous lions have ventured without being spotted and confirmed by local officials?
This post begs the question: Have I ever seen a mountain lion? Yes, I have. While South Dakota now gains revenue from the interest in lion-hunting, there was a time years ago when South Dakota’s officials disregarded reports of mountain lions in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Maybe they were afraid it would keep tourists away. People who said they saw mountain lions living in our Black hills region felt as if they had reported they saw a UFO when government officials assured them that lions didn’t exist here. It was during the time when state officials did not want to hear reports of mountain lions in the Black Hills of South Dakota that I had my one and only sighting of a lion. While on vacation with my family in the Black Hills, I saw a mountain lion not far away on the north side of a road just behind Mt. Rushmore, the premier tourist attraction in South Dakota. Knowing the government officials then were not keen on receiving such reports, I kept it to myself. Eventually, so many lions were seen and confirmed that the state not only admitted they were real, but that they also were present in such large numbers that it justified an annual hunting season to cull them. There is a potential danger that too many lions could be culled. The final link examines that possibility.
I hope readers enjoyed this little bit of trivia from my home state of South Dakota. In some non-American nations, it will likely be unfathomable to readers that there are lion-hunting seasons in America and that American citizens can grab their guns, get a hunting license and go try to kill one.