Mountain lions will soon be off-limits to hunters once again in Nebraska.
An agreement broke a logjam that had held up LB 671, sponsored by Sen. Ernie Chambers of Omaha, that strips authority from the Game and Parks Commission to authorize mountain lion hunts. With the threat of a filibuster removed, the legislature approved the bill with a 28-13 vote.
There is an estimated 15 to 22 mountain lions in Nebraska.
Chambers’ bill passed easily during the first round of debate, 31-5. It lost support during final consideration.
The vote is a dramatic reversal from a policy approved by the legislature only two years ago. In 2012, the legislature voted 49-0 in favor of allowing Game and Parks to authorize the hunts.
Two male mountain lions were taken in the first hunt authorized by Game and Parks this year. 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.