A move to end mountain lion hunting in Nebraska after its first season has stalled in the Unicameral.
Sen. Scott Lautenbaugh of Omaha opposes stripping authority from the Game and Parks Commission to authorize the hunts. He points out the legislature gave the commission that authority on a unanimous vote only a couple of years ago.
“This is not something we should be reversing course on precipitously,” Lautenbaugh tells colleagues during legislative debate. “We made it clear we want Game and Parks to do this. There’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing. And now, suddenly we want to say OK, but you have to stop. I don’t understand that. That’s not responsible policy-making in my opinion.”
Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha sponsors LB 671, which would strip authority from the Game and Parks Commission to set mountain lion hunting seasons.
Chambers says there is no reason to hold the hunts to reduce the population.
“These animals are moving through Nebraska to the eastern part of the country,” according to Chambers. “They are not stopping. They are transient and they are self-policing.”
There is an estimated 15 to 22 mountain lions in Nebraska.
Chambers’ bill passed easily during the first round of debate, 31-5. It has run into opponents willing to talk it to death.
Two male mountain lions were taken in the first hunt authorized by Game and Parks. One hunter paid more than $13,000 for one permit. A teen-ager won the second permit through a lottery.
The second hunt ended when a female mountain lion was taken.