Mountain Lions in South Dakota
Yes, the Black Hills and much of western South Dakota is home to mountain lions. These large, powerful predators, who prey on deer and elk, have an estimated population of 175 within the state. Recently there has been lion activity observed in public use areas at Wind Cave National Park. Generally lions are calm, quiet, and elusive, but people must remember that they are wild creatures, and precautions should be taken.
What to do if you encounter a mountain lion
Although the chance of meeting a mountain lion is extremely small, it is possible. Lions are most active from dusk to dawn, although they will travel and hunt in daylight. Closely supervise children whenever they play outdoors. Keep pets under control and attended at all times. Hike in groups and do not approach lions. If one is encountered, do not run, stay calm, and back away slowly only if you can do so safely. Try to scare the lion by making yourself appear bigger and creating a lot of noise.
Did You Know?
Lewis and Clark, while on their journey up the Missouri River in 1804, noted that this "wild dog of the prairie...appears here in infinite numbers." More...