RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — Two men in western South Dakota have been charged with illegally baiting mountain lions with deer carcasses.
Mason Hamm, 20, and William Colson VI, 38, both of Rapid City, are facing eight misdemeanor charges after allegedly placing several road-killed deer in Spring Creek Canyon, in southwestern Rapid City, to lure mountain lions.
According to a statement from South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks, the men placed five dead deer in the canyon near Colson's house over the course of several weeks between December 2015 and January 2016. By the end of January, Hamm had killed a mountain lion and officers matched its DNA to blood found near the pile of deer.
The men have been charged with conspiracy to unlawfully possess big-game animal, aiding and abetting prohibited hunting and six counts of aiding and abetting unlawful possession of big-game animal. Each misdemeanor charge has a maximum penalty of a year in the county jail, a fine of $2,000 or both.
The Rapid City Journal reported (http://bit.ly/2mbznLW ) that law enforcement started watching the canyon after finding a gutted buck that looked like it was being used as mountain lion bait.
Officers planted a road-killed deer on the road leading to Colson's home that had been fitted with a radio-collar. A few days later they placed another dead deer by the road. Both deer ended up next to the original buck in the canyon.
Several weeks later, after officers had watched their planted deer move into the pile, Hamm called South Dakota's Game, Fish & Parks to report a mountain lion he had killed.
The men were detained but are now free on bond. Their first court appearances were in early February and more are scheduled for next month.
Colson didn't immediately return a phone call requesting comment Thursday and Hamm didn't have a current phone listing.
Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com
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