Jun 01, 2023

Commissioners to consider 2024 mountain lion season

Posted Jun 01, 2023 5:29 PM

By Nebraska Game and Parks

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider recommendations for a 2024 mountain lion hunting season at its June 9 meeting in Alma.

The meeting begins at 8 a.m. Central time at the Alma Municipal Golf Course, 102 Dick Brown Memorial Drive.

For the first time, a harvest season will be proposed for mountain lions outside the Pine Ridge. If approved, a Niobrara Unit will be created, encompassing parts of Brown, Cherry, Keya Paha, Rock and Sheridan counties. The objective for the Niobrara Unit will be to provide a harvest opportunity for mountain lions that will allow the population to remain resilient and healthy, while slowing growth of the population.

Mountain lion presence has been documented in the Niobrara River Valley of north-central Nebraska since 2001. There has been a resident reproducing population there since 2013 and information gathered through research suggests a population that is growing and will be resilient to harvest.

Season 1 in the Niobrara and Pine Ridge units would take place Jan. 2 through the end of February. The season would end immediately in a unit if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit were reached. The Pine Ridge limit would be four mountain lions with a sub-limit of two females, and the Niobrara limit would be two mountain lions with a one female sub-limit. Up to 320 permits would be issued by lottery in the Pine Ridge Unit and up to 160 permits will be issued in the Niobrara Unit. An auxiliary season would be held March 16 through the end of March if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit were not reached during Season 1 in a unit.

The Commission also will consider changes to the river otter trapping season. The proposal would eliminate the overall season harvest limit and simplify the check-in process by allowing them to be checked within two days after the close of the season and before the sale or transfer of the otter. The requirement of daily checking of season status would be eliminated as well. The proposed season would be Nov. 1, 2023, through Feb. 29, 2024. Each harvester would be limited to one otter per season.

In other business, staff will recommend changes to sportfishing regulations that would allow archery paddlefish permit holders to harvest paddlefish in the spillway below Gavins Point Dam. The north wall and discharge canal would remain closed to archery paddlefish fishing.

The Commission also will consider renaming the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln the Nebraska Game and Parks Turpin Outdoor Education Center in the memory of Dick Turpin, a longtime Game and Parks employee and outdoor enthusiast.

Staff also will conduct a presentation about the recently completed Wetlands of Nebraska Outreach and Education project, which produced a series of products to increase awareness of the importance of wetlands in Nebraska.

To view a complete agenda, visit OutdoorNebraska.gov and search for “public notices.” To view proposed changes to Commission regulations and orders, search for “regulations.”