Nebraska and Cougar Hunting (LB671)
The arrival of cougars (AKA mountain lions; scientific name Puma concolor) in Nebraska is one of the latest achievements of scientific wildlife management here in the U.S. While South Dakota has had a successful mountain lion hunt for several years now, cougar numbers have increased in Nebraska. With careful scientific research, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) determined that mountain lions could sustain some very limited hunting.
Hunting of mountain lions would offer several benefits to Nebraska. First, it would reduce the concerns of cattle ranchers about the likelihood of mountain lions predating on their livestock. Fewer mountain lions means less risk for predation (yes it is that simple). Second, offering a hunt brings in valuable dollars, through hunting license fees, to the (NGPC) to continue its important role in managing Nebraska’s natural resources, without raising taxes or harming the NGPC’s independence.
Regrettably, as of February 23, 2014, the Nebraska legislature has voted to eliminate this hunt in the first of three rounds of voting. The legislation is proffered by people who think they support the environment. But if they cared to study a little more they would know that anti-hunting is anti-environmentalist. Hunting elevates an animal from a pest to a resource. People don’t hunt rats because rats don’t have value in our society. Presently, Nebraskan have been quite successful at killing cougars deemed dangerous to people, which is as it should be. But as the population of cougars increases, continuing to rely on killing of cougars for nuisance reasons continues negative stereotypes about cougars. Conversely, when people hunt them, cougars have value because landowners know the cougar may be able to be left alone until hunting season.
Hopefully Nebraskans will ask their state Senators to vote down the ban on regulated mountain hunting.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a Certified Wildlife Control Professional (CWCP) who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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