The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will accept lottery applications for mountain lion permits Nov. 6 – Dec. 13, 2023, for the 2024 hunting season.

Permits are available only to Nebraska residents, who may have one permit per calendar year. The bag limit for each permit is one mountain lion of either sex.

For the first time in Nebraska, a mountain lion season will take place outside the Pine Ridge. Earlier this year, the Niobrara Unit was created, encompassing parts of Brown, Cherry, Keya Paha, Rock and Sheridan counties.

The 2024 Season 1 in the Pine Ridge and Niobrara units will be Jan. 2-Feb. 29. Before Feb. 29, the season will close immediately if either the annual harvest limit of four mountain lions or sublimit of two female mountain lions is reached in the Pine Ridge Unit or the annual harvest limit of two mountain lions or sublimit of one female mountain lion is reached in the Niobrara Unit. Up to 320 permits will be issued in the Pine Ridge Unit and up to 160 in the Niobrara Unit. Hunting with dogs will not be allowed during Season 1.

If the harvest limit is not reached in Season 1, an Auxiliary Season will be March 16-31. The season will close immediately if either the harvest limit or sublimit is reached before March 31. Unsuccessful Season 1 hunters may apply to convert their permit to an Auxiliary Season permit. There will be one permit issued for each mountain lion remaining in the harvest limit. Hunting with dogs will be allowed if an Auxiliary Season is held.

Applications will be accepted from 1 p.m. Central time Nov. 6 through 5 p.m. (11:59 p.m. if applying online) Dec. 13. Visit to apply online or download an application at A $15 nonrefundable application fee must be submitted with each application. 

This is a sustainable harvest that will maintain healthy mountain lion populations in balance with available habitat.

To read more mountain lion hunting regulations, go to; search “mountain lion.”

Game and Parks open for customer service on Veterans Day

Nebraska Game and Parks Commission customer service offices will be open on Veterans Day, Friday, Nov. 10. That also is the day before the nine-day firearm deer season opens.

That means hunters will be able to purchase deer permits at Game and Parks headquarters in Lincoln, district offices in Norfolk, North Platte and Alliance, service centers in Omaha, Kearney and Bassett, and at the Schramm Education Center south of Gretna. The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The November firearm deer season is Nov. 11-19.

Hunters also may purchase permits or donate to the Hunters Helping the Hungry program at

Inclement weather leads to state park event cancellations

Fort Robinson State Park and Enders Reservoir State Recreation Area in western Nebraska have called off Halloween festivities Oct. 28 due to cold, icy conditions forecasted in the area.

Haunted Camping at Enders Reservoir is still hosting its Oct. 27 festivities starting at 4 p.m. They include a pumpkin-carving contest, games, campsite-decorating contest, costume contest and haunted trail hike. See the event listing at for a complete schedule.

Those interested in attending other Nebraska Game and Parks events this weekend should call ahead before leaving home to check for additional cancellations at locations across the state. Contact information can be found in the event listings at

The National Weather Service has forecasted freezing rain and snow over the next several days. Freezing rain began falling in western Nebraska on Thursday. The eastern half of Nebraska is expected to see similar conditions by Saturday.

Waterfowl hunters: Do your part to prevent spread of invasive plants

Phragmites, a non-native, invasive, noxious plant, is spreading rapidly along rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands throughout the state. Officials at Nebraska Game and Parks are asking waterfowl hunters to help keep from making the problem worse.

The plant, which grows up to 15 feet tall, often is used as camouflage for hunting blinds. But moving the plant and its feathery heads containing up to 2,000 seeds from one location to the other can spread those seeds and establish a new population of the troublesome plant.

That is what biologists think occurred at Goose Lake Wildlife Management Area in Rock County. In 2010, they discovered two stands of the common reed in locations that led them to believe it found its way to the lake as camouflage on a hunter’s duck boat. Repeated applications of herbicides have nearly eradicated those stands, but it continues to persist.

Josh Kounovsky, a Game and Parks wildlife biologist in northeastern Nebraska, says he has seen phragmites leaving the Missouri River and Lewis and Clark Lake on duck boats. That could have contributed to the spread of the plant along roadways throughout the region.

“It’s not the only mode, but it is a mode of transmission,” Kounovsky said.

On that stretch of the Missouri, phragmites makes up approximately half of the plants in the river channel between Verdel and Santee, covering sandbars, filling shallow-water habitat and constricting flows of the river to a few deep, fast-running channels.

“It’s not a meandering wetland like it should be,” he said. “Basically, it’s choking out all of the native plants.” That hasn’t been good for wildlife, including ducks, geese, shorebirds and threatened and endangered least tern and piping plovers.

Game and Parks and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been spraying the stands each year via drones and helicopters hoping to turn back the plant. For several years, resource agencies also have been trying to control phragmites along the Platte River and other waterways throughout the state.

The problematic species was introduced to the United States from Europe in the 1800s and has spread across the country. While it spreads by seed, it also sprouts from root fragments, allowing it to easily spread downstream from established populations on rivers. The plant also sends out rhizomes laterally under the ground and stolons above it, each capable of growing up to 30 feet in a year.

New plants sprouting from rhizomes quickly lead to a dense monoculture of phragmites, displacing native vegetation that could serve as nesting, feeding or roosting habitat for wildlife. It can also limit access for recreation and can increase the risk of flooding along rivers.

Once established, phragmites are difficult to control.

The plant was declared a noxious weed in Nebraska in 2008, requiring landowners to take steps to control it, and is considered an Aquatic Nuisance Species. This makes it unlawful to move it from one location to another, even on a duck boat.