When the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission meets Friday morning in Lincoln, one of the top items will be whether to establish the state’s first mountain lion hunting. In May, the commission took 90 minutes of testimony in Chadron, then postponed action to review what had been presented.
Agency Deputy Director Tim McCoy says the result of the review is a proposal with some major changes from the one offered in Chadron, including a bag limit of up to 4 lions with as many as 2 females.
The May plan had a season only in the Pine Ridge with 100 permits awarded by lottery. The season was proposed to run from January through March with a 6-day break in mid-January.
The new plan has 102 permits and while the season still has 2 sections starting January 1st, there’s no gap between them and the first half, ending Valentine’s Day, would be limited to just 2 hunters…1 resident lottery winner and 1 permit sold at an open auction…and those hunters could use dogs.
The second half-season would be open to the other 100 resident lottery winners, who could not use dogs, and each half-season would have a limit of 2 lions or one female.
McCoy says that means if the first lion killed in the first half-season was a female, that portion would end then but the second would go on a scheduled with another limit of 2 lions.
While the only confirmed breeding population of mountain lions in Nebraska is in the Pine Ridge, several witnesses and commission member Kent Forney at the May hearing asked for a statewide season because individual males have been confirmed as wandering to all parts of the state.
Because of that input, the new plan has both the limited-permit Pine Ridge season and Plains season running the same time with an unlimited number of permits available as little as 24 hours in advance. McCoy says the Plains season is aimed at those individual males in areas where mountain lions aren’t wanted.
Anyone wanting more information about the revised mountain lion hunting season proposal should go to the Game and Parks website at outdoornebraska.ne.gov/wildlife/wildlife_species_guide/mountainlion
Friday’s Game and Parks Commission meeting will also see Governor Dave Heineman visit to draw the winning entry in the Nebraska Super Tag Lottery. More than 2,000 people paid $25 to enter the lottery for the special permit covering the state’s 4 big game species: deer, elk, antelope and turkey.