The first Nebraska mountain lion to be trophy hunted in 2020 was killed on January 2, 2020. The hunter killed the 1½ year old male just south of Chadron and posed, smiling while holding the dead animal on social media.
Nebraska is home to an estimated 40 independent-age mountain lions (59 including kittens who are not legally trophy hunted). In 2019 and 2020 the annual quota is eight lions total. In other words, Nebraska Game and Parks allows 20% of this population to be killed by trophy hunters. The agency began allowing trophy hunting of mountain lions in 2019.
Jocelyn Nickerson, Nebraska State Director for the Humane Society of the United States just released this statement:
“The Humane Society of the United States is committed to ending the unnecessary killing of mountain lions. Each year, thousands of these beautiful animals are hunted for trophies in the U.S. including in Nebraska and South Dakota where their populations are exceedingly diminishing. The loss of one mountain lion has an enormous, devastating ripple effect throughout their sensitive communities as well as their ecosystems.
Nebraska is home to a small population of these rare and iconic native animals. The trophy hunting of mountain lions is inhumane and losing just one here can be harmful to their long-term survival in our state. It can also result in greater conflicts among themselves as well as with humans, pets and livestock. These animals must be protected from trophy hunting so that they may continue to re-establish themselves in Nebraska and provide countless benefits to other wildlife and our state’s beautiful wild spaces.”
Since 2014, Senator Ernie Chambers has introduced bills to prohibit the trophy hunting of mountain lions. That year, the bill was approved by the legislature but vetoed by then Gov. Dave Heineman. Since then, Senator Chambers’ legislation has not passed committee.