Why It Matters: While some states are attempting to limit or ban hunting mountain lions, Nebraska is creating more opportunities for hunters to hit the fields and attempt to harvest a mountain lion. Hunting has long been a time-honored tradition of sportsmen and women, and increasing the opportunity to hunt big game helps to continue those traditions. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) supports scientific-based management decisions for sustainable harvest and increased hunting opportunities.
- In May, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) proposed Regulation 3153 to create a mountain lion hunting season in the Niobrara Unit.
- Approved in August, Regulation 3153 establishes a new mountain lion hunting season and unit.
- The lottery application period opened November 6 and closes December 13.
- The establishment of the Niobrara Unit is only the second mountain lion hunting unit outside of the Pine Ridge.
While some states are aiming to reduce or completely remove hunting opportunities for mountain lions, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners have given hunters in the Cornhusker State more opportunities to hit the field. Their science-based decision will allow for a sustainable harvest, while also maintaining a healthy mountain lion population. While hunting for mountain lions is not easy, more hunters will now get an opportunity to harvest a mountain lion.
In May, Commissioners of the NGPC proposed Regulation 3153, which would establish the Niobrara Unit, and set the tag limits for the mountain lion season. In August, this regulation was approved, creating only the second mountain lion hunting unit outside of the Pine Ridge. These regulations are in effect for the upcoming mountain lion season that starts January 2, 2024. The lottery application period opened on November 6 and closes December 13. With this new unit, it is important to familiarize yourself with the new regulations. Important regulations for the Niobrara Unit are:
- NGPC may issue up to eighty permits by lottery for each mountain lion in the harvest limit for each unit with an open season.
- The Niobrara harvest limit is two mountain lions, with a sub-limit of one female.
- The season starts January 2 and runs through the end of February, or until the harvest limit or female sub-limit is reached.
Additionally, if the harvest limits are not reached during the first mountain lion season, there will be an additional auxiliary season. Unsuccessful permit holders may apply to convert their permit to an auxiliary season permit. This season will start on the first Saturday closest to March 13 through the end of March but will close if either harvest limit or female sub-limit is reached. It is also important to note that hunting with the aid of dogs is prohibited during the first season, but may be used during the auxiliary season, if one is held.
CSF has long supported NGPC’s efforts to provide hunters with an opportunity to pursue mountain lions. Thanks to the science-based management implemented by the state agency, and the support of sportsmen and women, the original conservationists, Nebraska’s mountain lion population represents a shining example of conservation at work.