Nebraska mountain lion season, the first of its kind in the state, was successful for two hunters.
Tom Ferry of Ponca, Nebraska, and Holden Bruce, a Franklin High School sophomore, each killed a mountain lion in the Pine Ridge Unit, located in the northwest region of the state and one of two regions open for mountain lion hunting, reported the Star Herald.
Ferry coughed up $13,500 at an auction held by the Nebraska Big Game Society in October, and Bruce won a lottery with a $15 entry fee.
The two hunters were the only permit holders for mountain lion hunting in the Pine Ridge Unit, and were only allowed to take one cat. If the first of the two was female, the season would have immediately ended, before the February 14, 2014 scheduled date.
Ferry, an accomplished hunter with trips to Africa and mountain lions from Utah and Arizona among his many trophy mounts, bagged his 150-pound male in the Ponderosa Wildlife Management Area. Bruce harvested a 102-pound male northeast of Harrison in the Pine Ridge Unit.
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Both of the hunters were allowed to use the aid of dogs. Bruce was guided by local ranchers who knew of cougar sightings in the area.
From February 15 to March 31, 2014, 100 hunters who were drawn in the $15 lottery along with Bruce will take their shot at a mountain lion in the Prairie Unit, which encompasses the majority of the rest of the state. The same quota applies for this second season, with only two males or one female allowed before the season is closed.
The Nebraska mountain lion hunting season has strict guidelines in place, and was initiated to help the State Game and Parks Commission purposefully manage the wild animal and practice positive wildlife stewardship. Opponents, including Senator Ernie Chamber of Omaha, look to repeal the law passed in 2012 that allowed the commission to create the mountain lion hunting season.