2016 Black Hills Conservation Project Recap

Peter Muennich

2016 Black Hills Conservation Project Recap

Our third annual trip to the Black Hills was another big win for mountain goat conservation in South Dakota. With over thirty volunteers participating over the course of the weekend, we once again blanketed the Black Hills with RMGA volunteers armed with optics and data sheets. The The final numbers were as follows: 58 individual goats with 10 mature billies, 26 nannies, 8 kids, 1 yearling billy, 5 yearling nannies, and 8 unknown.

Last fall was the first time in nine years that South Dakota has implemented a mountain goat hunting season with two available permits for the fall of 2015. This opportunity was a direct result of conservative management practiced by South Dakota Game Fish & Parks. The robust population is currently estimated around 100 animals, making the target harvest percentage of 2% a very conservative goal. We are excited for and applaud South Dakota in this revived hunting endeavor.

We look forward to returning to the Black Hills in the years ahead to continue to assist with the collection of this important mountain goat population data. The impressive amount of total hours spent surveying is achievable only by the generous assistance of our volunteers. We want to thank each and every person who took the time to lend a helping hand. We would like to extend a special thanks to RMGA Life-Member, Mark Miller, who was generous enough to not only volunteer, but also to cover the costs of all groceries for our daily volunteer breakfasts and evening BBQs.

The RMGA wants to sincerely thank all of our members for helping make this trip financially possible. Your commitment to the Alliance put boots on the trails and eyes on the hills. We also would like to thank all of the volunteers who donated their time and great attitudes to this fantastic study. Our findings will become the baseline of data South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks will use in the year ahead to manage these elusive creatures as they see fit. We hope you join us on our next adventure and help us play a vital role in mountain goat conservation.

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