Nebraska Game and Parks says a mountain lion was shot and killed by a private landowner late Friday afternoon about 5 miles south of Whiteclay in northern Sheridan County, and that the man is not expected to face any charges.
Game and Parks district wildlife manager Todd Nordeen says that although mountain lions are protected year-round in Nebraska, they may be killed if threatening people or attacking livestock and investigators determined the physical evidence at the scene was consistent with threatening behavior.
While the man didn’t talk to a Game and Parks officer before killing the mountain lion, he called a left the local conservation officer a message before acting…which Nordeen says met both the spirit and letter of the law.
Nordeen says the landowner told officials his children had noticed a partially eaten white-tailed deer in the grass near some outbuildings, and that he spotted the mountain lion on the kill a short time later.
The man said the family tried to scare or shoo the big cat away, but instead it moved 40-to50-yards closer to the house. He was unable to contact officials, and shot it from about 100-yards away.
The cougar was an 88-pound female, estimated to be 2 years old and with no evidence it had any kittens. Most, if not all, of the mountain lions killed in the Panhandle in recent years were believed to have come into the region from the Black Hills, but Nordeen says it’s “a good bet” this one was born in the Pine Ridge.
A new Nebraska law passed last year gives Game and Parks authority to hold a mountain lion season, and agency staffers are working out the details of a proposal to send to the commission for a season…most likely to be held early next year.