Rugged mountains at sunrise.
 
Opinion
Text: The editorial voice of the Mountain Lion Foundation.

9/10/2014

What is it that Iowa deer hunters have against mountain lions?

On December 14, 2009, while hunting deer, Raymond Goebels Jr. from Cedar Rapids, Iowa became infamous for killing the first verified mountain lion to be found in Iowa since the species was extirpated in 1867.

Now, another Iowa deer hunter is following in his footsteps.

Last Saturday evening, a 23-year-old bow-hunter was sitting up high in his tree-stand in Nebraska's Ponderosa Wildlife Management Area, when one of the state's few lactating female mountain lions came into his view.

Claiming later that he feared for his life, the hunter shot and killed the lion with an arrow, then reported the killing to Nebraska's wildlife authorities.

"The law is very clear," said Craig Stover, law enforcement administrator for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. "People may not shoot a mountain lion simply because they are afraid of it. They have to meet certain criteria. The law states that 'any person shall be entitled to defend himself or herself or another person without penalty if, in the presence of such person, a mountain lion stalks, attacks, or shows unprovoked aggression toward such person or another person'."

Though no charges have been filed, the young Iowan is now facing a potential fine of $1,500 for killing the lion out of season.

No consideration is being given in this case to the fact mountain lions were first extirpated from Nebraska more than 100-years ago. Nor that there are still fewer than two-dozen mountain lions within the entire state, and that less than a handful of those are precious females, needed to propagate a viable lion population.

Because of the uncaring actions of this particular hunter, Nebraska's wildlife heritage has been significantly diminished; first, with the loss of a breeding female, and second, with the upcoming death or permanent removal of her kittens.

If this incident sickens enough Nebraskan voters, some good might come from these needless deaths with the successful banning of trophy hunting of mountain lions in Nebraska.

If you live outside Nebraska, you can help the Mountain Lion Foundation increase our efforts in this region by donating to our special Midwest Mountain Lion Defense Fund.


Note: Nebraska Game and Parks Commission staff searched the general area where the lion was killed with trained dogs for two days, but no lion kittens were found.