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Commission to hold hearing June 22 regarding mountain lion season

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will hold a public hearing on June 22 in Ogallala regarding a proposed 2019 mountain lion season.

The meeting will take place at the Mid-Plains Community College Conference Room, 512 E. B St., at 9 a.m.

The proposed season would provide a harvest opportunity for up to eight mountain lions in two sub-units within the Pine Ridge of northwestern Nebraska. The proposed season would allow the population to remain resilient and healthy, while halting growth or moderately reducing the population size. This would initiate a reduction of the population density in the Pine Ridge to one similar to that of other states that allow mountain lion hunting.

The Commission’s goal is to maintain resilient, healthy, and socially acceptable mountain lion populations that are in balance with available habitat and other wildlife species over the long term.

The 2019 mountain lion season recommendations are:

— A harvest season is recommended only for the Pine Ridge area, which has an established population that can sustain a harvest.

— The proposed season would allow up to eight mountain lions to be harvested, with up to four of those being females.

— Two sub-units are recommended in the Pine Ridge: a north sub-unit (north of U.S. Hwy. 20) and a south sub-unit (south of U.S. Hwy. 20). Sub-units are designed to distribute harvest throughout the Pine Ridge. Up to four mountain lions, and no more than two females, may be harvested in each sub-unit. Public lands are closed in the north sub-unit to focus harvest onto private land in Sioux and Sheridan counties, where the majority of landowner input has occurred. The south sub-unit includes public lands for expanded hunting opportunities.

— Once four mountain lions, or two females, have been harvested in a sub-unit, the season in that sub-unit would close.

— 320 permits would be issued in each sub-unit for a total of 640 total permits. Permits would be allocated by drawing.

— An initial season is recommended to run from Jan. 1 through Feb. 28, 2019. The use of dogs would not be permitted during the initial season.

— If the limits and/or sub-limits have not been reached in a sub-unit by Feb. 28, then a limited number (equal to the animals remaining in the limit) of permittees would be allowed to hunt with the aid of dogs in an auxiliary season. Permits for the auxiliary season would be granted to unsuccessful permittees from the initial season via a lottery. If the auxiliary season occurs, it would take place from March 15-31.

— Baiting and trapping would not be allowed during any season.

Commissioners will vote on staff recommendations following the public hearing.

For more information on mountain lions in Nebraska, go to outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlions.

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at jerry.kane@nebraska.gov or 402-471-5008.

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