While other children hunted for Easter eggs last Sunday, 13-year-old Carah Tisdall was hunting for a mountain lion. Carah had been out hunting with her parents and family friends in Custer State Park for over a week, and she was still looking for her first-ever shot.
The seventh grader at Douglas Middle School, the youngest of three daughters, started hunting only half a year ago. She tried shooting pheasants during her first hunt last fall, but missed. So since December, when Carah drew one of the 12 mountain lion hunting licenses for Custer State Park this season, her father Brad had been giving her hunting lessons.
At around 2 p.m. on Easter Sunday, the family’s two hound dogs, which have been trained to hunt, found mountain lion tracks. Two and a half hours later, Cara and her party found the mountain lion up a tree, trying to get away from the dogs.
“When we got to the tree and the dogs were working, she was very calm,” Brad Tisdall, a hunter of 40 years, said in a phone interview. “She made one perfect shot, and it was over.”
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The mountain lion was a 3-1/2-year-old female that weighed 95 pounds.
“I was super excited,” Carah said by phone. “It was just amazing because it was my first time mountain lion hunting.”
Hers was the 39th mountain lion – and female No. 23 – harvested in the Black Hills this season, according to the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks. The limit in the area this season, which ends today, is 60 mountain lions or 40 females.
The Tisdall family can now talk about having successfully hunted two mountain lions: one by Brad and another by Cara.