Mountain lion spotted on trail cam inspires witty posting ahead of deer hunting season

November 16, 2018

CHADRON —Over the years, LeeVern Berry has gathered many photos of mountain lions from his game camera, stationed near his deer stand on property south of Chadron State Park. This year, he thought he’d be a little witty posting a new photo to Facebook:“Pretty tuff when your neighbor’s cat won’t let u get to your deer stand to hunt deer!!!”

His friends found the post amusing.

“With the start of deer hunting season, I thought I’d have a little fun,” Berry said of the photo taken on his camera on Nov. 6, just days before firearm deer hunting season opened on Nov. 10.

With the location in the Pine Ridge, mountain lions are not a rare sight on Berry’s camera. Over the 10 years that Berry has had the camera set up at the site, he says he has captured an estimated 200 photos.

It’s always fun to spot the creatures on the trail cam, Berry said.

“I have a 14-year-old and 17-year-old son,” he said. “Anytime we can get a picture out of the ordinary, we enjoy it.”

He said they have seen coyotes, bobcats and other predators on the camera. As his family has hunted in the area, they have seen mountain lions in the distance, but never had a close up encounter with one, he said, as they generally avoid roaming in the daylight and around people.

“We’ve only seen them in the daylight a few times,” he said.

Berry said he will be among those participating next year in the first mountain lion hunting season in five years.

Sam Wilson, furbearer program manager for Nebraska Game and Parks said the agency conducted genetic surveys in the Pine Ridge area in 2017 and estimate there are 59 mountain lions in the area, which encompasses Sioux, Dawes and Sheridan counties.

The hunting season will occur from Jan. 1 through the end of February.

“The (mountain lion) population is large enough to support a harvest,” Wilson said, saying that as with game such as deer and elk, the Nebraska Game and Parks manages hunting seasons to help keep numbers at a level that is sustainable for the ecosystem and the people in the area.

The Nebraska Game and Parks commission will distribute 640 permits to Nebraska residents only to hunt areas south and north of Highway 20.

Berry said he is looking forward to the challenge of participating in the mountain lion hunting season.

“Will this guy still be around then?” he said of the mountain lion captured on his camera. “They are pretty elusive. We’ll see.”

For more information on mountain lions and their presence in Nebraska, visit the Nebraska Game and Parks mountain lion species page, outdoornebraska.gov/mountainlions.

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