NEB MOUNTAIN LION SEASON PLAN UNVEILED

Posted 2 years ago

By John Axtell

Mountain lion mapNebraska Game and Parks staff is proposing a mountain lion hunting season that would issue permits to take up to 3 big cats…only 1 a female…over 2 short periods in the Panhandle.

One hundred permits would be issued by lottery to Nebraska residents and one through an auction also open to nonresidents, with proceeds from the auction going toward mountain lion management and research. The Game and Parks Commission will consider the plan at its next regular meeting May 24.

Agency mountain lion expert Sam Wilson says the proposal draws on Nebraska’s experience in other species such as bighorn sheep and elk, and from South Dakota’s mountain lion season…which was changed from the fall to start in January.

Wilson says the proposed Nebraska mountain lion season would run January 1- February 9 and February 15-March 31 in Dawes, Sioux,  Sheridan, and Box Butte counties north of the Niobrara River and west of Nebraska Highway 27.

Hunters could use firearms or archery equipment, but would have to check daily to see if the season was still open since it would end when a female cougar was killed…even if it was the only one taken.

Mountain lions were native to Nebraska, but had died out by 1900. Their first confirmed reappearance was in the Panhandle a little over 20 years ago, and sightings have since been confirmed as far east as Omaha.

State law allows people to kill big cats that are stalking, attacking or showing unprovoked aggression. Wilson says 36 mountain lions have been killed in Nebraska since 1991…some shot by landowners, Game and Parks officers, or law enforcement but many as the result of being hit by vehicles or even a train.