L 671 Puts Nebraska’s Hunting Heritage At Risk

mountainlionfangsfirstforhunters030614Washington D.C. – Safari Club International criticizes State Senator Ernie Chambers. Nebraska L 671, seeks to eliminate the science-based management of mountain lions in Nebraska. This bill jeopardizes the future of Nebraska’s hunting heritage and for the conservation efforts of their fish and wildlife resources by eliminating mountain lion hunting. Declaring his “repugnance” over the inception of Nebraska’s inaugural lion hunt, Senator Chambers declared to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission that he would “oppose every proposal it brings to the Legislature as long as it allows mountain lions to be hunted.”

Mountain lion populations have expanded considerably in recent years, requiring the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to manage the population with a limited permit hunting opportunity. No matter how trivial the elimination of a handful of hunting permits may seem, it’s a serious threat to not only hunting, but the sustainability of wildlife populations in the state. Ironically, a vote for the bill is a vote against mountain lion conservation. Wildlife management should be handled by the professionals of the Game and Parks Commission, not by anti-hunting politicians. Especially, anti-hunting extremists who declare that mountain lions have “better taste” than to eat Nebraska grandchildren. There is no record of mountain lions threatening or attacking humans in Nebraska since the species was extirpation from the state in 1890.

Hunting and fishing have always been the preferred method of fish and wildlife management in the United States. Around the turn of the 20th century, it became apparent that our fish and wildlife populations were in trouble, and state agencies alone could not afford the hefty price of restoration. With the passage of the Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act these funds were appropriated back to the states for science-based wildlife management and combined with hunting license sales, the American System of Conservation Funding (ASCF) was born. The ASCF is the reason we have the abundant fish and wildlife populations that we have today. It’s a “user-pays, public-benefits” model that not only restored and continues to manage game species populations, but has benefited all wildlife species, especially predators like mountain lions. To date, more than $15 billion dollars have been distributed back to the states’ fish and wildlife agencies because of hunters, anglers, trappers and the industries they support.

L 671 sets a dangerous precedent if passed and signed into law. It would effectively assume the successful science-based wildlife management of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission  and open the door for the misinformed, emotional agenda of a few to dictate how fish and wildlife will be managed for the rest of Nebraska. Senator Chambers’ bill will repeal L 928 and L 836. Both of these bills issue mountain lion permits under different circumstances and establish application fees. Senator Chambers has expressed his “displeasure, repugnance and disgust” to Nebraska Game and Parks Director James Douglas over the establishment of a mountain lion hunting season.

As it has for the last 100 years, the future of wildlife conservation depends on science-based management, and hunters play an active role in its success. This bill does nothing to help Nebraska’s mountain lion population or any other species of wildlife in the state. Instead, it simply undermines the future of hunting and fishing in America’s heartland.

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Comments
2 Responses to “L 671 Puts Nebraska’s Hunting Heritage At Risk”
  1. Norm says:

    As a Nebraska ex pat I can remember, but not fondly, Ernie Chambers of the 1970’s. If I remember correctly term limits got him out of the senate but “he’s back”. I can’t recall Chambers ever doing anything of value for Nebraska. His position on the mountain lions is without a doubt totally uneducated and only taken to shine the light on himself. Wiser minds will probably prevail and the Game Commission will continue to be the driving force in game issues.

  2. Malcolm Calaway says:

    Almost every year, humans are stalked by lions in Big Bend National park. The mountain lion population is increasing , and they can destroy a deer herd without proper management of lions. Maybe senator Earnie Chambers should study some of Texas mountain lion management research. There would be no deer herds if Texas did not control the lion populations. L 671 is not good for wildlife and should not pass.

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