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Does Controversy Over CA Wildlife Official's Mountain Lion Hunt Indicate Cultural Changes?

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March 05, 2012

Does Controversy Over CA Wildlife Official's Mountain Lion Hunt Indicate Cultural Changes?

By Chad Love

The white-hot rhetoric over a California wildlife official's Idaho mountain lion hunt is a sign of profound cultural changes happening within the state, according to this story in the dailydemocrat.

Hunters and environmentalists don't often agree. But there's no dispute between them on one thing: This week's sizzling controversy over whether a top California wildlife official should be removed from his post for shooting a mountain lion in Idaho is about much more than mountain lions.

It's the latest example of a cultural shift afoot in America's most populous state -- a profound change involving urban and rural, old and young, red and blue -- in which the traditional political power of hunters and fishermen is in steady decline while environmentalists and animal rights groups have grown in influence.

Since 1970, the number of people with hunting licenses in California has fallen 61 percent, to just 268,000 last year, even as the state population has doubled.


Meanwhile, over the last 20 years, environmentalists and animal welfare groups have banned mountain lion hunting, outlawed steel leghold traps, established the nation's largest network of "no fishing zones" off the coast, and defeated plans to expand black bear hunting -- all over the objections of hunting and fishing groups who once dominated state wildlife policy. Hunting advocates are alarmed at the trend. "People who have no background whatsoever in wildlife jump on the huggy, cute, Bambi concept of it," said Bill Karr, Northern California editor for Western Outdoor News, the state's leading hunting and fishing newspaper. from the necessity of hunting for food, and people have distanced themselves from how food gets to the supermarket. When it comes to wildlife, people are really distanced from reality."

Your thoughts? As California goes, so goes the rest of us? Or is the Golden State an anomaly, its own unique world?

Comments (18)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Steward wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

So go the rest of the states, if we do not keep up the fight. We must educate others and we must hunt ethically.

I find one statement in the piece interesting. The author writes that, "environmentalists and animal welfare groups have banned..." Those groups haven't banned anything. They don't have the authority to. What they have done is sway public opinion to influence lawmakers and bureaucrats. That is what we must guard against and fight in our states and counties.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from BaboosicBomb wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

What California groups are doing is merely, as Steward mentioned, swaying public opinion. If we can't take the effort to bring others into the sport, and let the government know that we will not sit by while they take away these experiences from our grandchildren, we should just stay inside the rest of our lives watching Oprah.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jdwood wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

California better be an anomaly, I would hate to think what life would be like in 10 or 20 more years if every state started following the same trends. Hopefully, though unfortunate, more negative human-wildlife conflicts arise out of this misguided view that the public at large realizes these groups don't represent their best interests or know what they're talking about.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I believe the major reason for the drop in license sales is the lack of game or access to game. There is still a lot of good hunting in California but it is locked-up on private property. The public lands are hunted hard and riddled with illegal poaching.

We must also remember that a majority of voters live in the cities and are not familiar with hunting or the hunting way of life.

I do not believe any rural base populace would vote the way Californians do.

Having fished California frequently, this is not the first I have heard of "no fishing zones". It is an effort to save the native steelhead populations and I believe supported by both non-fishing and fishing groups alike.

The ballyhoo over the head of wildlife is pure politics and only shows what we are getting for our tax dollars.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I think it reflects what Clint Eastwood said awhile back..."We've become a nation of SISSY's"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pig Pen wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I suppose you can blame one less hunting license in California due to my leaving that state a few years back...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mibasshunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

You know, if everyone hunter or fisherman took one kid fishing or hunting for the first time each year and made it a fun time, we wouldn't have to worry about PETA and other animal rights organizations.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Give California to Mexico....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

If every one of us took one other person hunting, not per year, not a kid, but just one other person who has never hunted and who will take up the sport, we would make a dent.

Also.

On a hunting foodie web site this evening I noticed a lot of people saying they'd never shoot or hunt a cat or wolf or bear or whatever. I think that as hunters we need to recognize and encourage predator hunting as a very legitimate conservation tool.

From a conservation perspective California's cougar laws are not good, one should never make a law prohibiting the hunting of any species, those types of decisions are always best left to the scientists working for the state Fish and Wildlife.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigeyedfish wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I live in Missouri and can't imagine it ever being like that here. Even in Kansas City and St. Louis you'll find hunters and anglers without much difficulty.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenc7971 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Lower hunting license sales is usually a result of lack of opportunity first, then loss of interest second. With budget problems faced by State Game offices across the nation, creating new opportunity for the general public to hunt or fish seems bleak at best, reserving the best private lands for the lucky ones that have access and funds. But this is the exception in the population, not the norm. With lack of opportunity also comes lack of interest in protecting the right to hunt and fish, which is exactly what the environmentalists and animal rights activitists are counting on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dann wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I'm from CA and I can tell you, this is controversy is huge in this state.

Why? Because if HSUS can get Dan Richards off the Fish and Game Commission, it will have proven itself in the state as a political force inside the Deptartment of Fish and Game.

In effect, HSUS, a non-government agency with an animal RIGHTS agenda based in Washington DC, will have taken control of the states fish and wildlife policy makers.

There are only 5 members of the commission, only 2 are hunters and fisherman, the other 3 are influenced by various special interests groups. Mr. Richard likely replacement is a person with known affiliations to animal rights groups.

In a state already under constant fire from the left, the removal of Mr. Richards will likely spell the end of any scientific wildlife management practices in CA and likely end, or at least severly limit any hunting and fishing in the future.

If we remember the CA lead-free fiasco of several years ago, it won't be long before HSUS comes to your state and your town.

CA didn't think it would happen, but it did.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dann wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Furthermore, its not just the hunting and fishing. The CA game commission has a HUGE indirect econmic impact on this state AND the country.

Let me explain. A few years ago, the commission was sued by an environmental group claiming that they weren't doing enought to protect the endanger Delta Smelt, found only in the Sacramento river delta.

Long story short, the state ended up turning off the water pumps, effectively cutting of a full THIRD of the states water supply. The results of that were immediately felt in the San Joquin Valley, which turned into a virtual dust bowl overnight.

What's that mean? Besides thousands unemployed, hundreds of farms in default? It's the reason you'll $12 a pound for pistachio's, the increase in almond and rice prices, all which are grown in the valley. Also the reason an avacado is so expensive.

There's BIG money involved, billions. Entire commerical fisheries are jeopardy....because of the agenda of HSUS.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from klepper wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

California is already breaking off from the United States physically. Lets just speed up the process and get rid of all california. Less trouble for the rest of us. Send some tree huggers out to. We don't need 'em.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Dann, I apologize for my comment earlier about California. I find it pretty sad that a state fish and game commission can be made up of such a skewed panel. Excuse my political (among other things) ignorance, but who was initially incharge of putting the board together?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HBEnfield wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Buck Hunter, the no fishing zones referred to in the article are the MLPA zones which close off a large portion of the California coast to recreational and commercial fishing. It's too long of a story to get into (Western Outdoor News has covered it extensively), but suffice to say that it is a sham process with a pre-determined closure map based on the political clout of non-angling organizations and it is being forced onto the DFG via legislative action. If you ever want to see steam shoot from someone's ears, ask a Southern CA ocean angler about the MLPA's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from COLORADOKID wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I feel for the CA hunters and fishermen their are some very good waters in CA and some really good hunting if the politicians take over then the stae will be a bust for sportsmen not to mention the hog issues they will face soon after. Reminds me of the movie star who purchased a whole mountain years ago to save the bighorn sheep living their. much to the demise of the sheep who all died of hoof and mouth disease a few years later from over population.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 268bull wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I'm offended that you even ask or pose such a question!So now, somehow a changing California culture imposes itself, and Im supposed to follow the rest of the lemming's into the sea. What a schmuck for even writing that!It's not an anomaly, it's an embarassment

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Steward wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

So go the rest of the states, if we do not keep up the fight. We must educate others and we must hunt ethically.

I find one statement in the piece interesting. The author writes that, "environmentalists and animal welfare groups have banned..." Those groups haven't banned anything. They don't have the authority to. What they have done is sway public opinion to influence lawmakers and bureaucrats. That is what we must guard against and fight in our states and counties.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I believe the major reason for the drop in license sales is the lack of game or access to game. There is still a lot of good hunting in California but it is locked-up on private property. The public lands are hunted hard and riddled with illegal poaching.

We must also remember that a majority of voters live in the cities and are not familiar with hunting or the hunting way of life.

I do not believe any rural base populace would vote the way Californians do.

Having fished California frequently, this is not the first I have heard of "no fishing zones". It is an effort to save the native steelhead populations and I believe supported by both non-fishing and fishing groups alike.

The ballyhoo over the head of wildlife is pure politics and only shows what we are getting for our tax dollars.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from OutdoorEnvy wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I think it reflects what Clint Eastwood said awhile back..."We've become a nation of SISSY's"

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Mibasshunter wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

You know, if everyone hunter or fisherman took one kid fishing or hunting for the first time each year and made it a fun time, we wouldn't have to worry about PETA and other animal rights organizations.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from rock rat wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

If every one of us took one other person hunting, not per year, not a kid, but just one other person who has never hunted and who will take up the sport, we would make a dent.

Also.

On a hunting foodie web site this evening I noticed a lot of people saying they'd never shoot or hunt a cat or wolf or bear or whatever. I think that as hunters we need to recognize and encourage predator hunting as a very legitimate conservation tool.

From a conservation perspective California's cougar laws are not good, one should never make a law prohibiting the hunting of any species, those types of decisions are always best left to the scientists working for the state Fish and Wildlife.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from BaboosicBomb wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

What California groups are doing is merely, as Steward mentioned, swaying public opinion. If we can't take the effort to bring others into the sport, and let the government know that we will not sit by while they take away these experiences from our grandchildren, we should just stay inside the rest of our lives watching Oprah.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Give California to Mexico....

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dann wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I'm from CA and I can tell you, this is controversy is huge in this state.

Why? Because if HSUS can get Dan Richards off the Fish and Game Commission, it will have proven itself in the state as a political force inside the Deptartment of Fish and Game.

In effect, HSUS, a non-government agency with an animal RIGHTS agenda based in Washington DC, will have taken control of the states fish and wildlife policy makers.

There are only 5 members of the commission, only 2 are hunters and fisherman, the other 3 are influenced by various special interests groups. Mr. Richard likely replacement is a person with known affiliations to animal rights groups.

In a state already under constant fire from the left, the removal of Mr. Richards will likely spell the end of any scientific wildlife management practices in CA and likely end, or at least severly limit any hunting and fishing in the future.

If we remember the CA lead-free fiasco of several years ago, it won't be long before HSUS comes to your state and your town.

CA didn't think it would happen, but it did.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Dann wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Furthermore, its not just the hunting and fishing. The CA game commission has a HUGE indirect econmic impact on this state AND the country.

Let me explain. A few years ago, the commission was sued by an environmental group claiming that they weren't doing enought to protect the endanger Delta Smelt, found only in the Sacramento river delta.

Long story short, the state ended up turning off the water pumps, effectively cutting of a full THIRD of the states water supply. The results of that were immediately felt in the San Joquin Valley, which turned into a virtual dust bowl overnight.

What's that mean? Besides thousands unemployed, hundreds of farms in default? It's the reason you'll $12 a pound for pistachio's, the increase in almond and rice prices, all which are grown in the valley. Also the reason an avacado is so expensive.

There's BIG money involved, billions. Entire commerical fisheries are jeopardy....because of the agenda of HSUS.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jdwood wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

California better be an anomaly, I would hate to think what life would be like in 10 or 20 more years if every state started following the same trends. Hopefully, though unfortunate, more negative human-wildlife conflicts arise out of this misguided view that the public at large realizes these groups don't represent their best interests or know what they're talking about.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pig Pen wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I suppose you can blame one less hunting license in California due to my leaving that state a few years back...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from bigeyedfish wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I live in Missouri and can't imagine it ever being like that here. Even in Kansas City and St. Louis you'll find hunters and anglers without much difficulty.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Kenc7971 wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Lower hunting license sales is usually a result of lack of opportunity first, then loss of interest second. With budget problems faced by State Game offices across the nation, creating new opportunity for the general public to hunt or fish seems bleak at best, reserving the best private lands for the lucky ones that have access and funds. But this is the exception in the population, not the norm. With lack of opportunity also comes lack of interest in protecting the right to hunt and fish, which is exactly what the environmentalists and animal rights activitists are counting on.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from klepper wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

California is already breaking off from the United States physically. Lets just speed up the process and get rid of all california. Less trouble for the rest of us. Send some tree huggers out to. We don't need 'em.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Pray- hunt-work wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Dann, I apologize for my comment earlier about California. I find it pretty sad that a state fish and game commission can be made up of such a skewed panel. Excuse my political (among other things) ignorance, but who was initially incharge of putting the board together?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from HBEnfield wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

Buck Hunter, the no fishing zones referred to in the article are the MLPA zones which close off a large portion of the California coast to recreational and commercial fishing. It's too long of a story to get into (Western Outdoor News has covered it extensively), but suffice to say that it is a sham process with a pre-determined closure map based on the political clout of non-angling organizations and it is being forced onto the DFG via legislative action. If you ever want to see steam shoot from someone's ears, ask a Southern CA ocean angler about the MLPA's.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from COLORADOKID wrote 2 years 5 weeks ago

I feel for the CA hunters and fishermen their are some very good waters in CA and some really good hunting if the politicians take over then the stae will be a bust for sportsmen not to mention the hog issues they will face soon after. Reminds me of the movie star who purchased a whole mountain years ago to save the bighorn sheep living their. much to the demise of the sheep who all died of hoof and mouth disease a few years later from over population.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 268bull wrote 2 years 3 weeks ago

I'm offended that you even ask or pose such a question!So now, somehow a changing California culture imposes itself, and Im supposed to follow the rest of the lemming's into the sea. What a schmuck for even writing that!It's not an anomaly, it's an embarassment

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment