The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is providing something of a lead-in to this weekend’s Chadron State Park Centennial by holding its latest business session at the park this morning.
The session begins at 8:00 in the group complex up the hill from the Trading Post.
The commission holds one of its meetings in the Panhandle each year, generally rotating between Chadron State Park, Fort Robinson State Park, and the Wildcat Hills Wildlife Management Area.
One agenda item of great local interest is setting next year’s mountain lion hunting season. Game and Parks staff is recommending a season identical to this year with a limit of 4 big cats and a sublimit of 2 females.
Agency biologists believe the proposed limits will continue to keep the population at a level that keeps the species resilient and healthy while limiting or moderately reducing future growth to fit the habitat, including interactions with humans and the impact on other wildlife species.
The Commission will also consider a River Otter Management Plan that includes a 4-month trapping season that could see up to 75 otters harvested. Game and Parks reintroduced the species in the 1980s, eventually releasing 159 by 1991.
Biologists say the plan will maintain a resilient, healthy, and socially acceptable river otter population that’s in balance with available habitat and other species.
Other agenda items include creating an option to hold special depredation seasons for deer, elk, and antelope; proposed agency budgets for the next 2 years, and a horticulture report on park habitat across the state.
The Commission is also expected to form a search committee to help pick the successor to Game and Parks Director Jim Douglas, who is retiring in Nov after nearly 47 years with the agency.
Douglas has spent the last 9 years as just the third Game and Parks Director in the last 45 years following Gene Mahoney and Rex Amack