Call To Action – Fish and Game Commissioner Dan Richards Needs Support

February 28, 2012

I don’t often share these “calls to action” and similar emails I receive.  This isn’t supposed to be a particularly political blog, and I’m not crazy about jumping on a bandwagon.  But in the case of Fish and Game Commissioner, Dan Richards, I can’t help sticking my fingers in the mix.  I simply can’t believe how much momentum has gathered since he first came under fire for legally hunting a mountain lion in Idaho.

This morning, I read that CA Lt. Governor, Gavin Newsome is calling for his resignation because he has become a “distraction”.  According to the linked blog post, Newsome wrote:

“While not in California at the time, your actions call into question whether you can live up to the calling of your office,” Newsom writes. “As is stated on the Commission’s website, your actions should be in the “best interest of the resource and truly reflect the wishes and needs of the people.”

What the hell does going on a legal hunt in another state have to do with his actions as President of the California Fish and Game Commission?  Step away from your personal feelings about lion hunting for a moment, and consider the bigger picture.

As I’ve mentioned before, Dan Richards, along with Jim Kellogg, is one of the only commissioners who shows any real consideration for hunters and our concerns.  That’s the reason he’s being so directly targeted by the likes of HSUS and the mountain lion foundation.  If he is forced out, a new commissioner will be appointed by Governor Brown, which doesn’t necessarily bode well for hunters in this state.

Anyway, here’s the alert.  I urge all CA hunters to take a good look, give it some thought, consider the big picture, and take action.


California Sportsmen: Pro-Hunting Commissioner’s Position in Jeopardy Anti-hunting groups are trying to force pro-sportsmen, pro-hunting Commissioner Dan Richards off the California Fish & Game Commission. Why? Because he legally took a mountain lion during a hunt in Idaho.

A. Attend March 7 Commission meeting in Riverside, Calif., and speak in support of Commissioner Richards. The Mission Inn Hotel & Spa San Diego Room1 3649 Mission Inn Avenue Riverside 8:30AM

B. Contact your Assemblymember and Senator and tell them to support Commissioner Richards.

C. Contact Gov. Brown 916-445-2841 and tell him you support Commissioner Richards.

D. Contact the California Fish & Game Commission 916-653-4899 and support Commissioner Richards.

Act today. Under state law, any fish and game commissioner can be removed by a simple majority vote in both houses of the state Legislature.

Currently 40 of the 80 members of the Assembly are calling for Richards to resign. This could easily tip the balance of power on the Commission into the hands of anti-hunting extremists.   Show your support for Commissioner Richards today!




13 Responses to “Call To Action – Fish and Game Commissioner Dan Richards Needs Support”

  1. Al Quackenbush on February 28th, 2012 17:41

    Thanks for sharing this, Phillip. This is such BS to in the news like it is. I was discussing this with the guys at Bass Pro over the weekend and even they were infuriated. What if he had gone to NY, shot a spike buck (which is legal) and come back to CA where it’s not legal? What then? Probably nothing, but because it is about him being pro-hunting, top of the Commission and because he shot a cat it makes news. This sort of thing really pisses me off and thank you for sharing the numbers. I hope you don’t mind, but I hope to borrow this and repost some on my blog and on the DIYbowhunter forums. Cheers! Al

  2. J.R. Young on February 28th, 2012 18:47

    With an unemployment rate above the national average this is what people want to raise a stink over. Not the economy, not rampant pollution, not habitat destruction, not factory farms, but a perfectly legal hunt.

    I would be a lot of money most people raising a stink have no idea how many mountain lions are killed each year through depredation here in CA.

  3. Neil H on February 28th, 2012 21:16

    As a San Francisco resident, I’m thinking Gavin Newsom has some serious gall saying that ANY extracurricular activities are a “serious distraction” from office worthy of termination. The same could be said for much of his career.

    To me this is an concern that goes far beyond the immediate issue- the idea that the person in charge of hunting and fishing is potentially being fired for well, hunting and fishing. That alone is shocking. But beyond that, this is about someone being removed from their job because their legal, personal activities aren’t popular with some people.

    That’s a precedent no one wants set, even if they’re too shortsighted to see it.

  4. CelesteR on February 29th, 2012 02:41

    No you daff minded people, in the state of CA it is illegal to hunt mountain lion. If you are head of the fish and game commission in this state you have to comport yourself with more reserve and be mindful of the laws of this state then the average joe blow. If you don’t want to want the responsibility then do not take the position. In other words because it is illegal here and legal somewhere else, wow let me just cross state lines and to hell with my job during the day in the state of CA. Really. And Neil you quote extra curricular activties wow, so if I was head of the drug enforcement agency and I could run over to say Mexico and get high on the drug of choice because it is legal there that’s okay with you? That’s my free time. Right?

  5. Phillip on February 29th, 2012 07:54

    Celeste, let’s get the name-calling out of the way. I won’t allow it here.

    In the state of CA it is illegal to drive 80 miles per hour, but if, say, Governor Brown’s appointee to the Department of Motor Vehicles went to Texas and drove 80mph (legally) on I-10, should he step down? We all know that the lower speed limits save lives AND save gasoline, so lower speed limits certainly are righteous laws and the head of the agency that enforces and regulates motor vehicle law should respect that… right?

    That’s nonsensical.

    You obey the laws of the state in which your activities take place, not the laws of the state you came from. Hunting mountain lions where legal is no different than going to Colorado to hunt elk during seasons that differ from those of CA, or going to a state where the harvest of female deer is legal, even though most parts of California do not allow it.

    It would be one thing if Mr. Richards were caught poaching lions in Idaho, or violating game laws in any other neighboring state. It would even be objectionable if he used the power of his office to bring the lion hide home to CA as a trophy. But he was participating in a completely legal hunt, and by all accounts did not violate any fish and game laws in the state to which he was subject. How some people “feel” about the species he chose to hunt is absolutely irrelevant.

    Oh. And the drugs that are illegal here are also illegal in Mexico. If you were the head of the DEA and went down to Mexico to smoke up, or shoot a little heroin, you would be in violation of Mexican law and subject to all related repercussions on both sides of the border. No comparison.

  6. Neil on February 29th, 2012 06:49

    Celeste: I believe the word you were looking for is “daft”. And no. Nice to lead with an insult. We don’t normally do that around these parts even when we disagree. It must be because we’re uncivilized hunter types and don’t have such wit.

    Wildlife laws are generally (though the California law is political rather than scientific) created based on populace and management on a species by species basis. Utah might have an over the counter elk tag because they’re trying to limit their herd, and California might have a lottery with a 1 in 1000 chance. Or none. Wolves are now legal to hunt in some states, but not here. It’s based on population and carrying capacity. Incidentally, most of the depredation of cougars in California is performed by the DFG, usually as they are pushed into populated areas and have conflicts. Far more, in fact, than when there last was a season.

    For the record, and it is recorded here, I have no interest in mountain lion hunting myself. I don’t get it, but then I tend to sit and watch coyotes for hours. I hunt as my family has for generations, for food but also an intangible connection that I won’t bother to explain. For you to equate it with the DEA head doing cocaine (the idea that the head of the DEA would ever actually know about firsthand what he’s spending billions of dollars on is absurd) does illustrate your general philosophy about hunting, and I wonder if there is any variety that would be acceptable to you.

    There are states that tried to make it LEGAL to discriminate against homosexuals in education “for the protection of the children”. Oregon comes to mind. So if I were a fundamentalist of some sort and I thought this was an issue, should I say the head of the school board should resign because he’s seen with his partner in California? It’s happened. If a political figure goes to Iowa to marry her same gender partner should she be fired based on your logic, because her actions controvert the vote of Californians? Should she be more “mindful of the laws” of her state?. My argument is no in all cases. Yours?

    Legal precedents aren’t selective, so be careful what you wish for. That is my point. I personally wouldn’t want to gamble on that. Of course I would have to go to Nevada before I did. Gambling is legal there. It’s illegal here because it’s immoral.

  7. Phillip on February 29th, 2012 11:18

    Great points, Neil. Well said.

  8. Dann on February 29th, 2012 09:20

    I’ve contacted my assemblyman and state senator. Done.

    I’ve long believed that when we hire a biologist, or establish an organization to manage our wildlife, we choose the best and brightest to do the job. We’ve done that in CA. By and large the DFG and the Game Commission do a pretty good job.

    What I don’t understand is CA’s habit of second guessing the very people we put in those jobs, based on emotion, rather than sound scientific facts.

    The fact is, lion’s aren’t endangered and as has been pointed out, more lions are killed today, at the publics expense, than there ever was when CA had a season, and the public was PAYING the state to perform the same function.

    It’s politics, pure and simple, and has nothing to do with facts.

    It’s my belief that Dan Richards and Mr. Kellog lend a balance to the 5-chair commission and since the commission is tasked with “Fish and Game” it ought to have someone on it that actually hunts game and fishs. If its not a balanced group, it serves no function and should be disbanded.

  9. shotgunner on February 29th, 2012 10:19

    Not feeling like I will have much success, but, letters sent.

    Dan is bringing to the forefront the discussion about California’s silly ban on cougar hunting.

    Did DFG and Tejon Ranch really take 20 lions to protect the introduced elk and hogs there? 20 seems like a lot.

  10. Tony on February 29th, 2012 13:15

    To partially answer your question, DFG is currently permitting about 75-80 cougar depredation permits per year, down from previous years.

    This does not include other forms of incidental take, like road kill and the “sudden” take of a cougar attacking an individual, or killed while trying to kill livestock of a rancher without a permit.

    Additionally, USDA-APHIS (Wildlife Services) “controls” about 100-108 cougars in California per year over livestock and safety issues.

    Total permitted take of cougars in CA per year is in the 170-180 range, though the tally is complicated by calendars of recordkeeping (DFG is July to June, USDA appears to be Oct to Sept).

    Only the government can lawfully hunt/take mountain lions in California. But there is take of mountain lions, no matter the vote under Prop 117.

    Given the news coverage on mountain lions and Tejon Ranch, and the fine of over $ 136,000 paid recently, it appears that the number of cougars taken on Tejon is in question.

  11. Tony on February 29th, 2012 13:46

    A little correction-

    CA DFG issues about 70-80 permits, but reports only some 42 cougars taken in CA in 2009 under authority of permit.

    Total take of cougars in 2009 by CA DFG permit and APHIS looks to be in the 150 cougar range.

    Sorry about the confusion….

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  13. boyd zumwalt on March 13th, 2012 14:07

    Fishermen and women, hunters, sport shooters and outdoorsmen and women have to get together as one. This NorCal store bought sushi eating government has plans for all of us.