MOUNT VERNON, S.D. — An 80-pound female mountain lion was killed earlier this week when it was hit by a vehicle on Interstate 90, which confirms a rare sighting of the predator in Davison County in southeast South Dakota.
Officials with the Davison County Sheriff's Office and the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department responded to the scene between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 7, near mile marker 319, the Mount Vernon exit. Officers with the sheriff's office first arrived on scene following a report of a deer carcass in the interstate.
When the deputy looked at the animal, he recognized it was a mountain lion and then he called GF&P.
"It is rare, but it's becoming more common East River," said GF&P Conservation Officer Andy Petersen. "The last time I can think of one was awhile ago, at least 10 years, we had one on a trail cam southeast of Mount Vernon."
Deputy Steve Harr said this is the first time he can think of in which officers could positively identify a mountain lion in the county, "but we've had pretty good intel of others."
Petersen said the lion carcass was brought to Sioux Falls for further testing.
He said it's good for the public to report sightings or traces of mountain lions in the county. People can call or text Petersen at 770-0340.
GF&P allows statewide hunting of mountain lions with prior licensing. According to the GF&P website, 21 mountain lions have been harvested this year, eight females and 13 males.