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County landowner shoots mountain lion near Nunda

Posted: Tuesday, Nov 16th, 2010

A Moody County landowner last week killed on his property a large male mountain lion that he considered to be a threat, according to a South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks official.

GF&P Regional Supervisor Arden Petersen said a resident of northwest Moody County shot and killed a male estimated at 130 pounds at about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Although GF&P declined to reveal the name of the individual involved, a separate source indicated that the landowner is Chad Strenge, and the location of the kill was near Nunda.

The man's dog had treed the mountain lion, according to Petersen, who works out of Sioux Falls. He said the man decided to kill the animal with a shotgun because he was concerned for the safety of himself and the dog.

Landowners in South Dakota have the right to defend their property against mountain lions that they feel are a threat to themselves or their livestock or pets.

Justified shooting

"He made a decision there, and we chose, based on what we found from the evidence of the scene and the interviews, that we believe the story and understand his concerns, and there's not going to be any charges filed against him," Petersen said.

Petersen said the GF&P typically prefers to be called when citizens spot mountain lions on their property, but said he wouldn't "second guess" the man's decision to kill the animal.

Lake County Conservation Officer Brandon Gust responded to the scene and investigated the incident.

Petersen guessed that the lion probably came from the Black Hills. The lion's carcass was in the Sioux Falls GF&P Regional Office evidence cooler as of Wednesday morning. It will eventually be transported to South Dakota State University, where a necropsy will be performed to determine more details.

Petersen said the cat "bottomed out" the GF&P's 120-pound scale, and he estimated its weight at 130 pounds.

Petersen declined to release the man's name or the exact location of the kill.

"My concern is that the landowner would get a number of people contacting him, and I don't prefer to put that on him at this time," he said.

Facebook posting

However, the Facebook page of Kyndal Strenge detailed a mountain lion kill on her property on the Nunda/Ward road 5 miles west of Interstate 29. On her page, she details a lion kill by her husband Chad Tuesday morning. The Strenge residence described on the Facebook page is in northwest Moody County, but Petersen wouldn't confirm whether the kill described there was the same one his department responded to.

He did say he was aware of only one mountain lion kill Tuesday in his region.

According to details on Strenge's Facebook page, a mountain lion had made his way 30 feet up a cottonwood tree about 200 yards from the Strenge's house.

"My husband proceeded to kill the mountain lion after he shot it out of a huge cottonwood tree, and my dog tracked it through a slough on two sides of our highway where my husband had to go into the slough and shoot the lion from 5 feet away with a 12-gauge shotgun," she said.

She said her husband's kill was considered justified.

"The GFP officer was very nice and said these situations are a case-by-case decision," said Kyndal. "But he felt that Chad was justified in killing the lion being it was on our farm, close to our house, and our dog was after it."

While GF&P felt the animal may have been from the Black Hills, several lion sightings have been reported in the Sinai area in recent years.

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