Nebraska

Cougars were extirpated from Nebraska around the turn of the 20th century. The first confirmed reappearance of lions in the state occurred in 1991. Since that time, there have been over 100 confirmed sightings.

In April of 2012, Nebraska passed Legislative Bill 928 which allows the sport hunting of cougars. The bill was introduced in response to increased sightings of cougars in the state. In 2013, the state’s first cougar hunt was unanimously approved by the Game and Parks Commission. The cougar population in Nebraska is estimated to be fewer than 60, with Nebraska Game and Parks estimating between 15 – 22 cats in a confirmed breeding population in the northwest portion of the state.

During the 2013-2014 season, hunters killed 5 cougars, 2 of which were females. Another 11 cats were killed outside of the hunt season, with causes ranging from incidental trapping to livestock protection.

On January 15, 2015, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission decided against holding a 2015 hunting season, citing the need for more research and information. In February 2015, Game and Parks began a multi-year study to better understand cat populations and distribution within the state.

 

Current advocacy opportunities:

See our Policy Watch page.

Past advocacy opportunities:

https://www.cougarfund.org/nebraska-lb-127-comments-needed-by-22615/

Residents may apply for (a cost of $15) the one permit available for the first hunt season- January 1-February 14 in the Pine Ridge Unit in Northwest Nebraska. One more permit for the first season will be auctioned, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Commission for mountain lion conservation, management and research. The quota for the first season is two male mountain lions or one female.

http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/guides/MountainLion/

http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/hunting/guides/MountainLion/

The second season begins February 15 and ends March 31. 100 hunters will receive permits by lottery for the second season in the Pine Ridge Unit with a quota of two males or one female.

Beginning on January 1 permits (a cost of $15) will be sold for the Prairie Unit which covers about 85 percent of the state. The Prairie Unit is open all year with an unlimited quota.

  • Nebraska Legislature OK’s Cougar License Plates

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Support Grand Teton National Park’s Preferred Alternative for Moose-Wilson

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Nebraska Cougar Killed by Vehicle

     • The Cougar Fund

    A young mountain lion was struck and killed by a motor vehicle near Chadron State Park.

  • Cougars Working Their Way Back Into Midwest

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Nebraskans Want Mountain Lions Protected

     • The Cougar Fund

    A letter to the editor calling on the Nebraska legislature to take actions to protect mountain lions from hunting.

  • Nebraska: No Mountain Lion Hunting in 2016

     • The Cougar Fund

    The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has decided against holding a mountain lion hunting season for the second year running. Recent studies indicate there are only 16-37 cougars in Pine Ridge area of the state.

  • Nebraska Legislature ends without addressing Senator Chamber’s mountain lion Bill

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Follow up about the Mountain Lion killed in Nebraska.

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Nothing Senator Chambers rises to better than a challenge

     • The Cougar Fund
  • 40-lb cougar killed in Nebraska

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Debate over Nebraska cougar hunt continues

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Nebraska LB 127 comments needed by 2/26/15

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Sioux City Journal article on cougar recolonization of Nebraska

     • The Cougar Fund

    The author recalls his first mountain lion sighting in the early 2000's and the subsequent recolonization of Nebraska

  • Nebraska cougar license plate bill advances

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Ernie Chambers continues to fight for Nebraska’s cougars

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Sadly, states that study cougars generally do it to verify supply and demand levels for hunters

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Just passing through?

     • The Cougar Fund

    Nebraska Game and Parks officials are reassuring Kearney residents that a lion sighting does not mean the cat is hanging around town, but more likely just passing through.

  • Sighting sparks public interest and caution

     • The Cougar Fund

    A cougar sighting in Kearney, Nebraska has garnered much attention.

  • Nebraska will NOT hold 2015 lion hunting season

     • The Cougar Fund
  • Ernie keeps his promise! New bill introduced to stop cougar hunting in Nebraska.

     • The Cougar Fund

    Senator Ernie Chambers introduced a bill on Friday that would remove mountain lions from the list of species which the Game and Parks Commission has authority to set hunting seasons on.

  • Nebraska has the chance to do the right thing

     • The Cougar Fund

    The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is currently deliberating whether to hold a 2015 cougar hunting season. 2014 marked the first time in over a century cougars were hunted in the state. A total of 16 cats were killed - through legal and illegal means - from an estimated population of 15 - 22.

  • Meanwhile, in a tree in Nebraska…

     • The Cougar Fund

    This would probably have been a pretty good way to keep the young mountain lion from getting too close to people again-if only Nebraska wasn't saving it just to be someone's 'recreational opportunity' in the future!

  • Nebraska’s Cougar Hunt Hangs in the Balance

     • The Cougar Fund

    After 16 total mortalities in 2014 - 10 of which were females - from a population estimated to be in the range of 15 - 22 cats, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is still undecided on whether to hold a hunt in 2015. Senator Ernie Chambers has also indicated that he will attempt to repeal the law that gives the Commission the authority to hold a hunt.

  • NE Commission to Discuss Potential 2015 Cougar Season at Jan 15-16 Meeting

     • The Cougar Fund

    The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will discuss the future of mountain lions at a meeting scheduled for January 15-16 in Lincoln, including whether to hold a hunt in 2015. After a year in which over a dozen cats were killed (through legal and illegal avenues) from a population Game & Parks estimated to contain 15 - 22 individuals just last year, renewing the hunt for another year would be baseless and devoid of any scientific considerations.

  • Cat Illegally Shot in Nebraska

     • The Cougar Fund

    Another cat has been killed in Nebraska, this time it's a 1 1/2 year old female that has been illegally shot.

  • Comment in Support of Nebraska LB 671

     • The Cougar Fund

    The Cougar Fund wrote to Nebraska Senator Carlson urging him to support Nebraska Legislative Bill 671, a bill to repeal cougar hunting in the state.

  • The Cougar Fund’s reaction to Nebraska’s decision to allow its first cougar hunt

     • The Cougar Fund

    Nebraska Game and Parks Commissioners approved Nebraska's first cougar hunt that will allow for unlimited cougar hunting in most of the state.