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Nebraska Mountain Lion Season Hangs in the Balance

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After the inaugural Nebraska mountain lion season in in 2014, the 2015 season is still in debate. 

Too many mountain lions may have been harvested during the first Nebraska mountain lion hunting season to take place in the state during 2014. Now the future of the hunting season is dependent on several factors, none of which are easy to understand and answer.

How many Nebraska mountain lions where taken this year? Five by hunters and 11 by other means, such as illegal trapping and vehicle collisions, bringing the total to 16.

Those numbers seem a little shocking to hang an entire mountain lion season on the cusp of taking place. However, Nebraska mountain lions have been making a strong resurgence to the state since they were first hunted to extinction in the area in 1890.

A total of 100 lottery permits were sold for $15 to hunt a specific area of Nebraska, known as Pine Ridge, during the 2014 season. The rest of the state handed out 2,250 other mountain lion permits, which resulted in the five total mountain lion tags being claimed by successful hunters. Most of these permits went to auction, which brought in nearly $40,000 from hunters bidding on the opportunity to claim a mountain lion in the state’s first authorized hunt.

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The main problem facing the 2015 Nebraska mountain lion season is that too many female lions were taken during 2014, which greatly effects the reproduction of big cats in the Pine Ridge area.

Some locals are against opening a season back up. According to reports, a common objection to the season from most non-hunters is their disagreement that “we need to kill mountain lions in order to save them.”

As a counter, legislative actions feel that having a season to keep the number of mountain lions in the area relatively low will help prevent ranchers and poachers from illegally killing mountain lions out of fear of them attacking livestock, or even people.

As of now, the debate to open the season back up will start in the state legislature in early January of this year.

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Nebraska Mountain Lion Season Hangs in the Balance