A few lucky hunters in the Pine Ridge of Nebraska will have the opportunity to bag two unique species in 2020.

The Nebraska Game and Parks approved both a Bighorn sheep season and a mountain lion season. Only one lottery permit for the 2020 Bighorn sheep season will be available. The single permit will be available to only one Nebraska resident, who will receive up to four days of free guide service from Game and Parks staff and up to four days and nights of meals and lodging at Fort Robinson State Park.

According to the Game and Parks website, since making Bighorn sheep permits available, the state has raised nearly $1.4 million to aid in conservation efforts of the species. The agency also recently approved its Bighorn Sheep Management Plan, which strives to establish a “self-sustaining, free-ranging bighorn sheep population in all areas of suitable habitat in Nebraska.”

The species face several challenges, including disease, predation and habitat loss.

The Nebraska Game and Parks also moved forward this fall with the approval of a 2020 mountain lion hunting season in the Pine Ridge Unit only. The unit is divided into two subunits – south and north in relation to Highway 20. The agency will allot 320 permits in each subunit for Nebraska residents.

According to a Game and Parks press release, there are changes for the upcoming season. Among them: public lands will be open to hunting in both subunits, shooting hours are sunrise to sunset and proof of gender must be naturally attached to the carcass at check-in.

The agency will allow up to eight lions to be harvested in 2020, with up to four of that number being female. In each of the subunits, once four mountain lions or two females have been harvested, the subunit will close. The first season is scheduled for Jan. 2 through Feb. 29; dogs will not be allowed. If the harvest limits have not been reached by the end of the regular season, an auxiliary season will take place in which the use of dogs will be permitted. Unsuccessful hunters in the regular season may apply to convert their permit for the second season, which occurs in March.

To read more mountain lion hunting regulations, go to outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlionhunting.

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