Mountain Lion Hunt Controversy - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Mountain Lion Hunt Controversy

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For the first time, people in Nebraska can hunt mountain lions, but the hunt could be canceled in years to come.

A bill has cleared a first round vote in the Legislature to end the mountain lion hunting season. The measure advanced Friday with a 31-5 vote. Those for the bill say the animals are native to Nebraska and pose no real threat while others say the matter should be left to the Game and Park experts.

2014 is the first year in Nebraska to hunt the animal and it has some legislators concerned.

"When animals are killed for the love of killing, for trophies, they are not for food, that is something I cannot tolerate. And when I saw that they did it, I was never so enraged and outraged," said Sen. Ernie Chambers.

Others are welcoming the new hunting season.

"Enjoy the outdoors and if you want to go hunt a mountain lion, go through the proper channels to get yourself a permit and go try it," said Clark Williams, owner of Old Market Firearms in Hastings.

However, there are regulations. Once two males or one female is killed, it's over.

"This first season was not out of hand. It was done the way it was supposed to be done. But let's give it a chance, let's not cut something out that we really aren't sure is a bad thing," said Williams.

To get the chance to hunt a mountain lion, it comes down to the luck of the draw -- a lottery.

"If we could use this season as another way to bring in money to be used again for wildlife as well as something else, why not, why not try it?" asked Williams.

This is currently the second season, but Senator Chambers wants it to stop.

"I do all I can to help those that are voiceless, powerless, and defenseless animals fit into that category," Chambers said. "And if nobody else will speak for them, I will."

The bill includes exceptions allowing anyone to kill the animal if it threatens their property or to defend themselves. This proposed law would still need to make it successfully through two more votes before landing on the governor's desk.

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