Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Legal Mountain Lion Hunt Brings The Claws Out
Some hunting stories on this blog will not be in related to bowhunting, but rather to stand by the side of other hunters who hunt legally and that is what I am doing in this post. In this article in the Mercury News,  California Fish & Game Commission President, Dan Richards is hung out to dry for going on a successful out of state mountain lion hunt. Some of the comments posted after the fact are incredibly ignorant and others are downright ridiculous.

One of California's top wildlife officials found himself in the political line of fire Friday, after a photo surfaced showing him holding a dead mountain lion he killed in what appeared to be a recent big game hunt.

Daniel W. Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, shot the lion in Northern Idaho. The photo was posted on the website of Western Outdoor News, a hunting and fishing publication.

Mountain lion hunting has been illegal in California since 1990, when voters passed Proposition 117.

Within hours of the photo appearing, callers deluged the state Fish and Game Commission office, and the Humane Society of the United States urged Richards to step down.

"It's not illegal. But he's thumbed his nose at the people of California," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society. "He's supposed to be representing the interests of all California citizens. It seems like such a tone-deaf action. What part of 'no' doesn't he understand?"

Richards did not respond to requests for an interview.

But on the Western Outdoor News website, Richards, 59, is quoted as saying that he shot the lion with a Winchester Centennial .45 carbine on Flying B Ranch. The 5,000-acre property in Northern Idaho charges $6,800 per person for a 7-day lion hunt.

While it may not be legal here in California [insane], Mr. Richard DID NOTHING WRONG here. He went out of state and hunted a cougar in a perfectly legal manner. Legal to hunt in Idaho, legal method of take and he didn't bring any parts back to California. 

Why are people up in arms? They want him to step down? Sure, the HSUS has the most narrow-minded individuals and they began the crusade. People are mad because it's not legal here so he shouldn't be able to go do it? Get off your high horse people. Not everything that is illegal in one state is illegal in the next. I can't shoot a spike-horned buck here in Cali, but if I go to NY it's completely legal. Does that say that I am doing something illegal? Not at all, but others would have you think that. Oh, and I have killed spikes in NY. They tasted delicious.

It's interesting how the HSUS says that Mr. Richards is 'thumbing his nose at the people of California,' but that is quite untrue. He's done just the opposite. If he were thumbing his nose he'd have killed a lion here in California. And contrary to what the HSUS believes, the MAJORITY of hunters I know would like to see the hunting of mountain lions made legal again. Their numbers should be regulated and controlled like they used to be. 

Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, chairman of the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee, said Friday he is considering introducing a resolution in the Legislature to remove Richards.

"He's thumbing his nose at California law," Huffman said. "He's mocking it. Frankly, I think he should face the music and step down. He's done something that's a disgrace to his position and to responsible hunters in California."
Why is it a disgrace to go to another state and hunt legally, Jared? It sounds like Mr. Huffman need to rethink that statement a bit. This quote is the most ridiculous statement I have read in this entire article. It's seems obvious Mr. Huffman isn't a hunter. I say Richards followed the law to a T. He didn't hunt the big cats here, he did the next best thing. He went out of state, where it is legal and legally hunted one. Enough said.

I wasn't a resident in 1990 when the ban on hunting cougars went into place, but I know that if given the chance I would hunt them. Yes, I said it and I know that the majority of hunters I am acquainted with would say the same thing. They have dwindled the deer population more and more each year, they kill our pets and worse than that end up in our school yards where people are called in to kill them anyway. I don't see the HSUS or anti's targeting those people. They don't remove them, they just kill them. While I agree that those lions need to be taken out of the equation, I don't see any fallout from those killings.

People commenting are driving at the fact that the lion was shot on a ranch and saying it was a canned hunt. (Long pause from me laughing my ass off.) Ok, really people? A canned hunt for a cat would be to put him in a crate and unload some lead into him. Ever seen what 5,000 acres is like? It's huge and to even FIND a mountain lion on property like that would be a feat. To be able to successfully hunt one and kill it is even tougher. Ever seen a mountain lion in the wild? Close enough to kill or be killed? I have not, but I know they live right where I hunt. I have found tracks and have friends who have had encounters and they had some stories to tell. I don not want to encounter one, but with the amount of time I spend in the California outdoors, the more likely I am to see one. Even some good friends of mine have had one jump over their fence and into their backyard. There are many mountain lions around, no matter what people think.

To the anti's and HSUS, how about you guys get your facts straight and understand that we hunters, we Californians, support Dan Richards for going out and hunting legally and making a successful kill on a big cat. Sure, he had to do it in another state and he'll have to mount it and leave it there. I would have to do the same thing. Heck, he'll have to go back to Idaho to eat the backstraps because of the laws here not allowing any part of a mountain lion to be brought into the state, but he has followed those laws. I say congratulations to Mr. Richards on a successful hunt, keeping things legal and please, do not back down from the pressure. We have your back in regards to hunting.


  1. So if someone was to go to AZ & shoot a 50.cal would that be thumbing their nose at California? It's legal to smoke, grow, & sell weed (with a script) in California, is that not thumbing our nose @ the rest of the country? Not to mention the federal government? These animal rights people need to stop playing the sappy, sad, poor animal, card & find something else to gripe about. Puppy mills, animal horders, dog fighters, and so on. To say Mr. Richards is wrong and out of line, shows a complete lack of knowledge, and think on their part.

  2. There's a lot to say here, but at the heart of it, I agree, Al. I support Dan Richards as a hunter, and as a law-abiding Californian. As best I can tell, he broke no laws whatsoever. It's a damned shame the CA law is written so that even though that cat was killed outside of the state, Richards is not allowed to bring any parts of it (meat, skin, mount, etc.) back to his home. What makes it even more ridiculous is that I can go legally hunt other game that is not legal in CA and bring those parts back any time I like. There's no question about the motivations (or the motivators) behind that regulation, huh?

    This should never have made news, but now that it has, hunters need to stand up to back Dan Richards. He's one of the few good guys on the Fish and Game Commission right now (which is probably why he's got such a target on his back).

  3. I agree with you guys. We have to support Dan in every way we can. Phillip, you are right on. This should NEVER have made news. Now that it has we all have to stick by him (provided everything was done legally, which we can only assume with this report). I am on his side.

  4. This is ridiculous. I agree with the previous comments by saying that as far as we know, Mr. Richards is in no wrong. The animal rights people are just attacking him for the position he holds. Again from what we can tell he did nothing wrong to break either CA law or ID law so where is the harm? I say congrats to Dan Richards for taking a nice cat!

  5. Good stuff Al, agree 100%. Like Phillip said though there is a huge target on his back because of this. I did just email him and let him know that some people to support him.