Mountain lions targeted by hunters under new bill

LINCOLN – Nebraska’s growing population of mountain lions might soon become the target of hunters.

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Under a bill introduced Tuesday in the Nebraska Legislature, the state could establish a hunting season for the predatory big cats.

A lawmaker who has had some first-hand experience with mountain lions, State Sen. LeRoy Loudon of Ellsworth, introduced the bill.

Loudon said a mountain lion once ran across the front yard of his ranch house in rural northwest Nebraska.

Mountain lion sightings have become more common across the state. One was spotted near Seward – west of Lincoln – in November, and earlier that month, a 15-year-old hunter shot one in northeast Nebraska, near Creighton.

The senator said recent studies have shown that mountain lions are breeding and expanding across the Cornhusker State. He said the state should permit hunting to control their population, as South Dakota and Colorado have done.

“There’s plenty of them around,” Loudon said.

Right now, mountain lions may be legally killed only if threatening people or attacking livestock.

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