red and gray metal stand

Various Alerts - RAWA, Cougars, Beavers

RAWA - Recovering America's Wildlife Act

Contact SD Senators about Recovering America’s Wildlife Act

Recovering America’s wildlife Act would appropriate  almost 1.4 billion per year to states and tribes to spend on “at risk wildlife and plants”.

This is a very important bill for “at risk” wildlife and plants in America. Please contact our senators about it.

There are senate and house bills that have both passed out of committee in 2022.  We don’t know when Senate floor votes will happen,

RAWA passed House on June 14th, 2022 –

As of 5/20/22 SD Representative Dusty Johnson was not committed to oppose or support.   – Dusty’sphone: 202-225-2801.  He voted against it.  

We have no suggested schedule yet for senate action. The senate goes on recess on August 8th and senators will likely be in SD till early September (9/6/22).  Our Senators (as of late May) had not committed to support or oppose, just express concerns about funding sources.  Rounds – he wanted a sunset clause. Senators:Thune (202) 224-2321, Rounds (202) 224-5842

Here is a National Wildlife Federation Alert on this matter:

Here is the National Audubon Society (NAS) on the matter:

NAS’s on-line (pre-fab) comment letter on RAWA –

The need for this bill was discussed at our 2022 Endangered Species Day Celebration by Eileen Dowd Stukel of SDGFP:    Her discussion starts at about 6:15 and runs for 55 minutes.

SDGFP Budget Information

Link to SD GFP Wildlife Action Plan (See appendix C for profiles of Species of Greatest Conservation Need):

Link to SDGFP list of Threatened and Endangered Species


Mountain Lions

Wyoming Mt Lion Alert July 2022

Nebraska lion Alert June 2022

ND Mt Lion Alert 2022



Petition for rule change on SD Mountain lion hunting season rule up before the SDGFP Commission on Nov 3rd. There is a petition to allow year long hunting of cougars on private land in the Black Hills hunting unit – link to cougar petition

SD is supposed to engage in rule proposal/rule change on the mountain lion season every two years with 2023 as the normal recycle date – likely to see proposal maybe July 2023.

However SD law allows petition for rule change. In SD any person can petition for a rule change. The agency/commission must consider such petitions within 30 days.  If the Commission approves the petition, it is moved forward into formal rule-making for public review.  Then it eventually becomes a rule proposal & formal public comment and has a finalization hearing (This process may take 60-90 more days). Conversely they can reject it right away and it dies on Thursday.

Prairie Hills Audubon Society opposes this petition and we urge others to do so. As written it would exempt the Black Hills Unit private land from the harvest cap and remove protections from overhunting of lions. 


SD Game Fish & Parks Commission November Meeting (hybrid format)
Thursday, November 3rd @ 12:00 pm MT –  4 pm MT
At Heartland Energy, Madison | Livestream link
 or join via conference call Dial 1 669 900 9128 – Meeting ID: 939 1291 5359 – Passcode: 9502333
You can testify in person or by zoom or teleconference on Friday probably at 2 pm CT – an “Open Forum” where you can testify on any topic – you normally get 3 minutes to testify. 
‪Public Input: To provide comments, join the meeting in person, via zoom, or via conference call per the info above. To conduct the public hearing and/or open forum as efficiently as possible, GFP asks those wishing to testify to register by 1:00 pm CST the day of the meeting by email to Testifiers should provide their full names, whom they represent, their city of residence, and which proposed topic(s) they will address. (this is a suggestion but normally not a requirement – but it is a courtesy to help them run the meeting.)‬
‪Written comments can be submitted at To be included in the public record, comments must include your complete name and city of residence and meet the submission deadline of seventy-two hours before the meeting (not including the day of the meeting) (Sunday night before midnight CT)  Unless you want to send directly to each Commissioner  – ‬
Find their contact info at: 
PHAS has been following cougar issue in SD since 2005. Here is a video of 2021 PHAS meeting on this topic: . An old 2021 alert on this topic can be found at
If this petition moves forward to formal rule making we will update the alert – this would be a very bad rule-change if approved.
‬Next Commission meeting (after November) is December 8th-9th

 SD MOUNTAIN LION ALERT SD Fall 2021 –  OLD  (see update at the bottom)

Wednesday September 1st (afternoon) 2021c- Thursday September 2nd  (morning) was a past SD Game, Fish & Parks Commission Meeting in Rapid City at Outdoor Campus West with virtual & teleconference options

As the proposed rule was adopted,  you need to go to SD Administrative Rules list for mountain lions to see the rule as amended in 2021:

2021 Alert On Mountain Lion Seasons Rule Changes (these rules were adopted)

Here is a link to the letter that Prairie Hills Audubon Society submitted to SD GFP:

If you go to these two links you can see what other individuals and NGOs – such as HSUS, MLF, Cougar Fund, SD-FACT wrote. The long formal letters are at the end of the PDF files, the shorter letters at the beginning. :

In the mean time, we suggest folks oppose both proposed rules changes for mountain lion hunting.

SD Mt. lion hunting is divided into the Black Hills Fire Protection District and every where else (Prairie unit). In the Prairie Unit there is 365 day hunting with no  harvest limit and hound hunting is allowed on private land (with land owner/lessor permission) and moving from private land to BLM and State School Lands. Hound hunting is allowed in Custer State Park in two week time segments alternating with two weeks of “boot hunting” (boot = no hounds used). The first two week session is given to hound hunting and thus for many years the boot hunters are out-competed and  have not gotten any lions.

The hunting season on the Black Hills Unit is too aggressive and will result in decreasing populations, perhaps dropping below the population below the population goals that SDGFP wants. We suggest  at least lowering the female lion harvest limit in the Black Hills unit.

We suggest people object to hound hunting of lions, which occurs on Custer State Park (a sub-set of Black Hills unit) and in the Prairie unit. You can object due to 1. animal cruelty to both  dogs and lions, 2. not fair chase, 3. provides huge advantage of success for hound hunters vs boot hunters  4. creates trespass risk, 5. disturbs non-target wildlife, livestock and other human users.  However they are making a specific change to increase hound increasing the area of public land in the Prairie Unit where hound hunters can travel from private land to hunt on public land, to  include all of public lands unless public land manager specifically objects. Previously public land hound hunting in the Prairie unit was limited to expanding onto BLM and State School lands. . You can object specifically to that proposed increase in hound hunting area on the Prairie Unit.

We suggest allowing the boot hunters the first two week session in Custer State Park, for sake of boot hunters, lions & dogs.

Written comments were to  be submitted at or at

The rule change to allow hound hunting on the prairie unit on public land unless the land management agency specifically objects passed the Commission. We thus need to contact public land managers and ask them to object to hound hunting of lions on their property.

UPDATE ON LIONS – SD Legislature has HB 1296 – would treat cougars  (which by statute are a big game species in SD ) as if they were a “predator/varmint in the prairie unit and allow hunting without a license 365 days of a year.  This would take away from the GFP Commission the option to reduce the days in the hunting season for the prairie. Cougar advocates wanting  to reduce prairie unit hunting from year round would have to go lobby the legislature. Folks would not pay the license fee, which is $28 dollars . This bill was killed in committee (dead).


Update, in Sept 2021, the  SDGFP Commission passed both proposed rules on mountain lions with no changes from proposals. The Commission passed the rule on spring turkey with no changes from proposal. The only rule to which there was a change, was on blow guns used for fishing; they decided not to allow blow guns for fishing. Future action to protect mountain lions will be to contact federal and state land management agencies and ask them to prohibit hound hunting of mountain lions on their properties. Please watch for updates on that future campaign

Mountain lion hunting season was among the rule proposals


BEAVER – They planned to have a report or proposal on beaver trapping/hunting in the Black Hills at the November 2021 meeting.  They actually had it at December 2021 Commission meeting & no rule change was suggested. They claim they need $30,000 to fund study to inventory the Black Hills beaver.  TNC has suggested it can be done for less money. Commissioners failed to bring the Black Hills beaver issue up again in June or July, which was needed (due to time flow charts in rule making) to create a moratorium on the private land side of the Black Hills Fire Protection district for start of season on Nov 2022. .         

         People should  write or contact SDGFP staff or commissioners, asking for a moratorium on beaver hunting/trapping in the Black Hills Fire Protection District and also ask SDGFP to reduce or eliminate the months of  beaver hunting/trapping from all other public land in SD, when the public land has a multiple use or wildlife management objective.  Currently trapping/hunting is allowed 365 days of the year statewide  on private and public land except on Black Hills National Forest land and a subset of private land in the Black Hills. Folks should ask for 5 months of beaver trapping statewide (reduced from current 12 months) on private & some public land. and ask for moratorium on some public lands w/ multiple use or wildlife objectives.   SD  has a law that allows folks with “conflict beaver” to call up SDGFP who will then allow them to kill the beaver – staff will also come and kill beaver on request.  . SDGFP 

      Folks should ask SDGFP to create a beaver management plan, so SDGFP can address the importance of beavers as creators of habitat, and protectors of surface and ground water values and provide options  for non-lethal management of conflict beaver. The legislature was considering a bill (SB 73) that would allow night hunting of beaver using night vision glasses (it passed).

We provide information about contacting the SDGFP Commission and the next Commission meeting in this web site’s section on – Calendar events and deadlines