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South Dakota Lion Attack "Probable but Unconfirmed"

April 3, 2008.

From South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks:

The Department of Game, Fish and Parks has completed a month-long investigation into a reported mountain lion attack on the shoreline of Sheridan Lake in the Black Hills and concluded that the attack probably occurred but did not find enough evidence to confirm it.

The mountain lion attack reportedly occurred around 2:30 p.m. MST on March 1 at Sheridan Lake. Upon learning of the attack, GFP dispatched staff and tracking dogs to the lake to search for evidence. The tracking dogs were unable to pick up a mountain lion scent after approximately four hours of searching. Other sources of evidence failed to provide confirmation of an attack.

In absence of enough substantiating evidence, the report of the attack will be listed as "probable but unconfirmed."

"It was very important to our agency that we go over every avenue for evidence that would firmly substantiate this as a confirmed mountain lion attack," GFP Regional Supervisor Mike Kintigh said. "I know there has been a great deal of public interest, and this is important information for the work that we do."

Kintigh said that he found no evidence to dispute the claim by Ryan Hughes, Rapid City, that he had been attacked by a mountain lion on March 1.

"Ryan certainly has wounds to back up his story, and in several visits with him I have no reason to doubt his story," Kintigh said. "There needs to be a chain of evidence to confirm a mountain lion attack report, and we were not able to put that evidence together."

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