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#6243900 - 03/02/12 Re: This is why people think California is full of crazy people [Re: 1minute]  
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At last, some perspective in today's SF Chronicle:

Killing mountain lions has long been state's role

Tom Stienstra

The most charged debate over hunting ethics and fair chase in California since the mid-1990s is much the same as it was in 1996: How can someone shoot a mountain lion out of a tree?

In a similar debate that year, voters defeated Proposition 197 by a ratio of 58 percent to 42 percent, blocking a proposal to allow mountain lion hunting in California.

That is almost the same ratio, 56 percent to 44 percent, as of late Thursday of the poll at, which asked, "Should Daniel Richards be removed as Fish & Game Commission president?"

Richards hunted and killed a mountain lion in January in Idaho, where it is legal. Since a trophy kill photo was published at Western Outdoor News (, a debate has been raging about whether Richards is fit to serve as Fish and Game Commission president.

Many are asking: How are we even in this position?

The answer lies in the shifting of population to cities over the past 100 years and, with it, the balance of power. With that shift has come a change in how lions are perceived and managed.

In 1907, the Legislature ordered the Department of Fish and Game to place a $20 bounty on mountain lions. In 1914, it was raised to $30 for females and in 1945 raised again to $50 for males and $60 for females. In addition, 18 counties paid a bonus on top of it. The bounty was ended in 1963.

In the 57 years it was in effect, state bounty money was paid out on 12,461 mountain lions.

The program was so important to maintaining the health of deer herds and protecting livestock that in 1948, Fish and Game hired five full-time lion hunters and 40 trappers to help implement it, according to the late Dick Weaver, a Fish and Game wildlife scientist and historian.

The mountain lion was classified as a game mammal in 1966. After 35 were killed in the 1970 hunting season and 83 in the 1971 season, the "shooting-them-out-of-a-tree" debate sparked public outrage.

For the first time, the focus swung to hunter ethics and fair chase and away from damage caused by lion predation.

During the 1971 season, Gov. Ronald Reagan signed a moratorium. In 1990, Proposition 117 made the ban permanent, winning 52 percent to 48 percent in a split defined by urban versus rural voters. The public upheld that decision in 1996 with Prop. 197.

While lions are abundant, and not threatened or endangered, that ballot initiative declared the lions "a specially protected mammal."

Even with the ban, 2,157 mountain lions were killed from 1990 to 2009 through depredation permits and for public safety, according to the Department of Fish and Game.

Tom Stienstra is The San Francisco Chronicle's outdoors writer.
SF Chronicle

Read more:

Murphy was an optimist.
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#6243940 - 03/02/12 Re: This is why people think California is full of crazy people [Re: Flyfast]  
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Flyfast Offline
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And a better one from a columnist with the Sacramento Bee

Dan Walters: California legislators show their hypocrisy over hunting issue

By Dan Walters
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 - 10:36 am
Dan Richards, who chairs the California Fish and Game Commission, is under fire in the Capitol because he killed a mountain lion in Idaho and posed with his trophy for a picture that was later published on a hunting publication website.

Forty Democratic legislators signed a letter to Richards saying he should resign. "Your actions raise serious questions about whether you respect the laws of the people of California and whether you are fit to adequately enforce those laws," the lawmakers told Richards. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom later joined the chorus.

So let's get this straight.

First of all, Richards is not Dan Richard, who chairs the state's High-Speed Rail Authority and has more than enough controversy of his own.

Back to Richards, the Fish and Game Commission chairman.

Mountain lion hunting is illegal in California, thanks to a ballot measure approved by voters in 1990. It is, however, not illegal for mountain lions to hunt human beings, as several attacks attest.

Nor is it illegal to hunt mountain lions in Idaho, and Richards' trophy was perfectly legal. "I'm glad it's legal in Idaho," he told the Western Outdoor News website.

So Richards appears to be guilty only of offending the sensibilities of the Legislature, whatever they may be.

This is the same Legislature that offends the sensibilities of most Californians, according to a recent Field Poll, because lawmakers habitually ignore important issues, carry bills of self-serving trivia, help special interests, and manipulate their schedules to maximize their incomes.

This is the same Legislature that didn't react when one of its members was caught by police with a prostitute in his car, parked alongside a busy Los Angeles highway, or when another crashed her state-issued car while driving recklessly, injuring two people.

More recently, this is the same Legislature that didn't respond when a member was nailed for shoplifting, or when another carried a loaded pistol into an airport security checkpoint.

As for Newsom, a politician who had an affair with his top campaign aide's wife shouldn't moralize.

Let's dig a little deeper.

Should any political figure who does something legally elsewhere that is illegal in California also resign?

Should an official who legally hunts any animal or catches any fish elsewhere that's protected in California be censured? Should one who legally bets on basketball in Reno be required to do penance in California?

Same-sex marriages are still illegal in California, although that may, thankfully, change soon. Would it be improper for a gay or lesbian legislator to legally marry in another state?

The letter to Richards is the sort of hypocritical, politically correct claptrap for which the Legislature has become justly infamous.

Read more here:

Murphy was an optimist.
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