In a unanimous vote, 49 Nebraska lawmakers passed a bill last week that would allow for mountain lion hunting. The bill was combined with another measure that will allow hunters to donate deer meat to the hungry.
Senator LeRoy Louden (R – Ellsworth) introduced Bill LB928 after there were a number of increased sightings in Nebraska. Currently, state law only allows people to kill a mountain lion if they are endangering human life or livestock.
The number of mountain lions is still estimated to be at 60 statewide, but state officials say the population is increasing. Biologists have confirmed a small population of about 20 breeding mountain lions in far northwest Nebraska. There have also been 50 confirmed sightings outside of Pine Ridge, as far east as South Sioux City and Omaha.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission may now create a limited hunting season where up to four lions could be taken per year. Nebraska residents would pay $25 for a chance to win a permit in a random drawing. Nonresidents may attempt to purchase a permit at an auction.
The other measure on the bill would require Game and Parks to establish a program that funds the processing of deer meat for food kitchens through donations.