How much does it cost to be the first person to hunt a mountain lion in Nebraska? $13,500.
The state's Game and Parks Commission unanimously approved a cougar-hunting season earlier in July, and the last of 102 permits were claimed on October 16. Beginning on January 1, hunters will pursue the state's 22 big cats, to the celebration of Nebraska farmers and the dismay of wildlife conservationists.
"We got along fine without them for 100 years," one anti-cougar Nebraska farmer told High Country News.
Mountain lions were once native to Nebraska but completely hunted off by the 1890s. A century passed before the mountain lions were spotted crossing from Colorado to the Cornhusker State. Today, less than two dozen cougars comprise the state's breeding population, and many say that's not enough to justify a hunting season.
"The decision wasn't a surprise," wrote Pete Letherby in an op-ed for High Country News. "The nine commissioners were appointed by a like-minded governor who leans over backward to please the state's agriculture interest, which demands that any potential threat to their livestock and corn—however minuscule or exaggerated—must be eliminated."