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Nebraska state lawmaker targets cougar hunting

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — State Sen. Ernie Chambers has warned he will oppose all Nebraska Game and Parks Commission requests of the Legislature in the upcoming 2014 session, as long as the agency allows mountain lions to be hunted.

Chambers, of Omaha, issued the warning Friday to Roger Kuhn, parks division administrator, the Lincoln Journal Star reported Saturday.

Kuhn was before the Legislature's Executive Board with two requests to accept donations of land and a playground structure. Any land donation worth more than $10,000 and certain other donations offered between sessions must be approved by the board and others, including the governor.

Chambers said he would vote against the requests, because he is upset that the Game and Parks Commission has approved a short, trial mountain lion hunting season for next year.

"I was told that fears led to the creation of a hunting season for these, what I consider to be regal, animals," Chamber said. "And these fears were engendered by the possibility or likelihood of these animals eating the grandchildren of Nebraskans."

Last year, the Legislature passed a bill that would allow mountain lion hunting, after increased sightings of the animals around the state. At the time, officials estimated there were fewer than 60 mountains lions living in the wild in Nebraska.

The Executive Board delayed taking a vote Friday on Kuhn's requests, because three board members were absent from the meeting.

Chambers told the board that even if it approved the donations, he would offer a motion during the next legislative session beginning in January to undo that approval.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, www.journalstar.com

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