Though promoted as a once in a lifetime event and offered at the dirt-cheap price of $15, only 395 Nebraskans applied for that state's first ever mountain lion hunt before the September 30th lottery deadline.
"I thought there would be more," said Pat Cole, budget fiscal administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Based on the experience of other states, similar hunts have drawn about 1,000 applicants.
Nobody is saying it yet, but such a poor response might be indicative of the fact that this particular hunt is being forced on the citizens of Nebraska by an out of touch game commission, and its loud, but limited constituency of trophy hunters.
In a sick display of elitism, Nebraska's inaugural Pine Ridge lion hunt will be restricted to two hunters; a "lucky" lottery winner, and the "Big Bucks" winner of a special permit auctioned off by the Nebraska Big Game Society. In an effort to justify that action, proceeds from the auction will be given to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission supposedly for mountain lion conservation, management and research.
Pine Ridge's inaugural season will go from January 1 through February 14th, or when two males or one female lion is killed. The hunt area's second season with an additional 100 lottery winners will commence on February 15th, and end on March 31st, or when two males or one female lion is killed.
The Prairie Unit, which covers about 85 percent of Nebraska, will open its lion hunting season on January 1st. It will run through the end of the year, with no restriction on the number of hunters, and lions killed in this hunt area will not be counted against the quota.
Mountain lions were extirpated from Nebraska in 1890. There's been no recorded incident in Nebraska where a mountain lion has threatened, or attacked any person, pet or livestock since the species' return to the state in 1991.