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Commissioners to consider 2025 mountain lion season

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will consider recommendations for a 2025 mountain lion hunting season at its June 21 meeting in Ogallala.

The meeting begins at 8 a.m. Mountain time at the Petrified Wood Gallery, 418 E. 1st St.

For the first time, a hunting season will be proposed for mountain lions in the Wildcat Hills. If approved, a Wildcat Hills Unit will be created, joining the existing Pine Ridge Unit and Niobrara Unit as areas that would allow mountain lion harvest.

The Wildcat Hills Unit would encompass parts of Scotts Bluff, Morrill, Cheyenne, Garden, Kimball, and Banner counties. The objective for the unit is to provide a harvest opportunity for hunters that will keep the lion population resilient while slightly reducing their numbers.

Game and Parks’ genetic surveys in 2023 estimate there are 70 mountain lions in the Pine Ridge, up from the last estimate of 33 in 2021. Surveys that will allow population estimates for the Niobrara and Wildcat Hills are presently being conducted. Twenty-seven mountain lions were documented in the Niobrara Valley during 2023, and 24 were documented in the Wildcat Hills.

Season 1 in all three units would take place Jan. 2, 2025, 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 12 mountain lions with a sub-limit of six females, the Niobrara limit would be four mountain lions with a two female sub-limit, and the Wildcat Hills limit would be three mountain lions with a two female sub-limit.

Up to 960 permits could be issued by lottery in the Pine Ridge Unit, up to 320 permits in the Niobrara Unit, and up to 240 permits in the Wildcat Hills Unit. Permits are available to residents only. An auxiliary season that allows the use of dogs would be March 15 through the end of March if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit were not reached during Season 1 in any unit. A number of permits equal to the number of lions remaining in the limit would be issued by lottery to unsuccessful permit holders from that unit who apply for the auxiliary season.

In other business, commissioners will consider changes to park regulations that would:

  • Create a $5 Active-Duty Military vehicle park entry permit for active-duty military personnel stationed in Nebraska. The permit would be for vehicles registered in or out of the state and would be available only as an annual permit.
  • Allow the director of Game and Parks to authorize the replacement of any Nebraska Resident Disabled American Veteran lifetime permit.
  • Update language for state recreation trails, including encroachments on right-of ways.
  • Allow the use of Class I electronic bikes in state parks, state historical parks, state recreation areas and state recreation trails on designated trails unless otherwise posted. Class II and Class III e-bikes would be permitted as posted.

Commissioners also will consider these fishing regulation changes:

  • The removal of the no-live-baitfish restriction will be recommended for Lake Wanahoo.
  • At Two Rivers State Recreation Area Lake No. 5, also known as the trout lake, a recommendation would shorten the time a trout tag is required to fish the lake by one month. It also would remove the tag display requirement and allow anglers to release any caught trout.

In addition, there will be staff recommendations to:

  • approve the transfer of approximately 88 acres of land in Hall County adjacent to Mormon Island SRA from the Federal Highway Administration to Game and Parks; and
  • approve permitting of hunting in some state parks and state historical parks for 2024 seasons.

Staff also will present the results of a survey on Lake McConaughy and Lake Ogallala, a report on Lake McConaughy, and an update on outreach efforts in west-central Nebraska.

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

About Jerry Kane

Jerry Kane is the news manager with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He can be contacted at or 402-471-5008.

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