The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission approved a mountain lion hunting season for 2020 at its meeting June 21 in Alma.

The season will provide a harvest opportunity for up to eight mountain lions in two sub-units within the Pine Ridge of northwestern Nebraska. The season will allow the population to remain resilient and healthy, while halting growth or moderately reducing the population size. This will 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 season will be similar to that of 2019, except hunting on public lands will be allowed in both sub-units, shooting hours will be sunrise to sunset, opening day will be Jan. 2, and proof of gender must be naturally attached to a harvested cat when checked.

Season 1 will be Jan. 2-Feb. 29, 2020. The use of dogs will not be permitted during this season. Hunting will be allowed only in two sub-units 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.

If the limits and/or sub-limits have not been reached in a sub-unit by Feb. 29, then a limited number (equal to the animals remaining in the limit) of permittees will be allowed to hunt with the aid of dogs in an Auxiliary Season. Permits for the Auxiliary Season, which would occur March 15-31, 2020, will be granted to unsuccessful permittees from the initial season via a lottery. The Auxiliary Season will close immediately if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit is reached before March 31.

The application period will be Sept. 3-27, 2019. 320 permits will be issued in each sub-unit by drawing.

This story was originally released by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

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