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?