A Nebraskan who participated in the first mountain lion season offered in Nebraska says he hopes the legislature doesn’t end the hunt.
The legislature has advanced a bill that would end mountain lion hunts in the state.
Jeremy Bruce of Franklin went with his 16-year-old son, Holden, to hunt mountain lions after Holden won a lottery draw for a permit in the inaugural season.
Bruce says there’s a simple reason his son wanted a permit.
“Not a lot of people get a chance to hunt mountain lions,” Bruce tells Kevin Thomas, host of Drive Time Lincoln on Nebraska Radio Network affiliate KLIN. “Here in Nebraska, it’s getting to be more and more common to see these guys and gals up and around. We just jumped on the chance. Game and Parks offered up, so we took them up on it.”
Holden Bruce took a 102-pound male lion in Sioux County. Tom Ferry of Ponca Creek took a 138-pound cat in Dawes County during that first season authorized by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission in the Pine Ridge Unit. Those were the only two allowed to hunt in the first season. Both were allowed to use dogs in the hunt.
Ferry paid $13,500 for his permit at a Nebraska Big Game Society auction.
Game and Parks closed the second mountain lion season in the Pine Ridge Unit after a 102-pound female mountain lion was taken in Sheridan County. The commission stated it would automatically close the season if a female was killed.
The mountain lion season continues in the Prairie Unit, which takes in most of the state.
Bruce opposes a move in the legislature to strip authorization from Game and Parks to issue mountain lion hunting permits.
“I hope they don’t get all the way through this. I hope they keep it,” Bruce says. “I believe there are plenty of mountain lions around and they’re not near being endangered here in the state of Nebraska. We’ve got more than what we need.”
Sen. Ernie Chambers has successfully advanced LB 671 which would strip authorization from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to issue mountain lion hunting permits.
The bill advanced on a 31-5 vote. It must clear a couple more votes to go to the governor.
For more information about mountain lions in Nebraska, visit the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission’s mountain lion web page at OutdoorNebraska.org.
Kevin Thomas, KLIN, contributed to this article.