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California Fish and Game Commission President Ousted over Legal Mountain Lion Hunt

Mountain lion

Earlier today, Dan Richards was removed from the office of the presidency of the California Fish and Game Commission following an extended controversy over a legal mountain lion (cougar) hunt in Idaho.

Richards became the target of animal rights organizations after a photo of him posing with a mountain lion he took during the hunt was posted on the Internet in February 2012. Hunting mountain lions was forbidden in California following the passage of Proposition 117 in 1990. It is legal to hunt the animal in Idaho (among other states) with the proper permit.

Groups like the Humane Society of the United States quickly struck up a call for Richards to resign, saying that his actions represented bad judgment and showed that he disregarded the will of Californians following the passage of Proposition 117. Critics also brought up the fact that Richards accepted the roughly $7,000 trip as a gift without initially covering any of the cost. He later paid for the excursion following the submission of an ethics complaint.

Richards, an avid big game hunter and supporter of sportsmen and womens’ rights, refused to do so. Hunters supported his legal hunt and Richards himself said he did not break any laws, did not import exotic animals, did not poach, and did not engage in any other illegal activity.

Commissioners voted unanimously to replace Richards with Jim Kellogg, who Ed Zieralski of U-T San Diego reports is seen as a “compromise” candidate between pro-hunting and -fishing groups and environmental groups. Zieralski goes on to say that Richards “took the high road” during his exit, referring to his time on the Commission as “a privilege and an honor”:

I was listening to Nickelback when I was working out on the treadmill today, and they were playing their great song, ‘If Today Was Your Last Day,’[…]I was fully aware that today was my last day as president of the Commission. Thank God it’s not my last day on this green earth. It’s been a privilege and an honor to be on this Commission. I tried to be consistent and give everyone a voice and a fair shake. I believe I made decisions on matters that reflected that.

Richards will continue to serve as a commissioner until his term is up on January 15, 2013. He does not expect to be re-appointed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Image from Angell Williams on the flickr Creative Commons

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of OutdoorHub. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
  • LethonomiaHumper85
  • me

    the nanny state strikes again , animals suddenly have more rights than people , the animal rights groups need to heave ho

  • cjholland

    Since when does an upstanding, person of integrity, who abides by the laws, does things by the book….gets a legal permit, in another state, no less, that legally can sell big game permits, gets vilified in the public and subsequently loses his right to earn a living for his family in his own state??? I hope he sues the pants off of this special interest group for lose of income. Where does this all end???

    • Agnieszka Spieszny

      Well, he’s not losing any income. The DFG commissioners are not full-time state employees and they hold other jobs. In Richards’s case, he is a real estate developer. So he still has work and he’s still on the commission, but he is no longer the president.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.hayes.908132 Sean Hayes

    California and there liberal minded bigots try and obviously succeeded to oust Mr. Johnson over harvesting a mountain lion in another state. I wish it was that easy to get rid of all our politicians that way, they mostly would be terminated . He stands for everything outdoor enthusiasts are about. He doesnt sit on the fence to make everyone happy, that never works, he took a stand and stayed with it. This state of California needs more people like him to represent the people like he does. I am sorry to see him go, as for moutain lions, the yneed to have a limit on them , and make it a revenue producing tag. There are a lot of them in California with no natural predators except a ranchers bullet. The Tejon ranch was penalized for shooting them, did anyone lose their job over it?

  • TrickyWin

    One very important point of which right-thinking people should never lose sight: The left — of which animal rights groups are definitely a part — never, ever stops. They are absolutely relentless in pursuit of their goals.

    To libs, it’s all about winning — it has absolutely nothing to do with what’s lawful; with what’s right. In this case, they saw an opening to exploit and, as always, they went for it. Result: The leftist governor of their state helped them move the ball down the field by appointing a more left-leaning individual to that office. From here on out, we can expect to see more and more anti-sportsman efforts emanating from CA Fish & Game Comm. That is as predictable as flowers in the springtime.

    Someone smarter than me once observed that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance — very, very true. Friends don’t let friends vote for libs, because the trickle down (of bad decisions from them) never stops!!!

  • unbelievable

    Liberal Logic. Just one more example of how backwards these f’in idiots are.

  • USAOutdoors

    “Richards accepted the roughly $7,000 trip as a gift without initially covering any of the cost. He later paid for the excursion following the submission of an ethics complaint.” So he violated ethics laws and only paid it back after he got caught? Seems like a good enough reason to oust him.

  • chuck

    Who would have guessed something like this could happen in the land of nuts and fruitcakes

  • 4511-21

    He was caught taking a $7000 trip for free. Thats the only problem i have with him. If it was just about him hunting mountain lion it could all be blamed on the libs. It’s not, he was caught and likely should have been ousted solely for that.

  • bob nelson

    Everyone has to make sure all your friends, relatives, co-workers are registered to vote so we can get these liberal democrats out of office. LIBERAL DEMOCRATS ARE THE CANCER OF CALIFORNIA.

  • Tim

    This is what we have in Cali. to put up with tree hugging chained to a rock S.F. morons who couldn’t survive on their own if it came down to it. I hope when they’re out in the wilderness that some vicious human hating animal shows them a what for.

  • sherrie peery

    now tell me just how unfair this is! I can’t believe something like this can happen.

  • bsemion

    I can’t read the story. on my computer the type is black on black.

  • bsemion

    Re: “liberal” comments. I am a “liberal” and also own 8 guns. I don’t see what the heck “liberal” has to do with the fanatics at HSUS. A fanatic is a fanatic, whether it be religious, political, or wearing any other cloth. They are on both sides. Comments like these are way out of line

  • bsemion

    And, let us all not forget one thing: he accepted the $7,000 trip initially as a “gift.” Then rightly thought better of it and paid for it.

  • bsemion

    Still, he shouldn’t have been ousted in my opinion

  • Big Manuger

    What a bunch of horse poop. I hope this fellow gets hired in a state in the country of the USA. Its obviouis this Republic of California is so PC and run by socialist/communist pricks and A–H— liberals and lawyers. Its to far gone. I can twll you if a mountain lion cosses my path when on my land in the Sierras I will dispatch it without predigice with a 308 H.P. skin it and hang it on my wall. I wont take pictures and post on the net though, or maby I will, what the hell.
    Perhaps the Cats need to eat a couple more kids or women joggers before these morons wake up.

  • ELTROUT

    LEFT THIS STATE AFTER 40 YEARS AS A RESIDENT AND MOVED TO OREGON. BEST MOVE I EVER MADE IN MY 65 YEARS. THE LIBERALS IN CALIFORNIA ARE ABSOLUTELY INSANE. THESE ARE THE SAME PEOPLE WHO WENT BERSERK AFTER KILLING A MOUNTAIN LION IN DOWNTOWN PALO ALTO BETWEEN TWO SCHOOLS.