Mountain Lion hunting season approved for Wildcat Hills

Mountain Lion hunting season approved for Wildcat Hills
June 23rd, 2024 | News Release

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

For the first time, a hunting season will take place in the Wildcat Hills. A Wildcat Hills Unit was created, joining the existing Pine Ridge Unit and Niobrara Unit as areas that allow mountain lion harvest.

The Wildcat Hills Unit encompasses 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.

The eastern boundary of the Niobrara Unit also is moved to U.S. Highway 281.

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 will take place Jan. 2, 2025, through the end of February. The season will end immediately in a unit if the annual harvest limit or female sub-limit is reached. The Pine Ridge limit will be 12 mountain lions with a sub-limit of six females, the Niobrara limit will be four mountain lions with a two female sub-limit, and the Wildcat Hills limit will 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 will be 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.

To read the proposed regulations, visit and search “regulations.”


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