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Big Game California Cougar

California Fish & Game President Ousted Over Legal Hunting

by Dylan Polk   |  August 10th, 2012 17

Dan RichardsBack in February, we brought you the story of Dan Richards, then-president of the California Fish & Game Commission, who at the time was catching a lot of heat over legally shooting a cougar during a hunt in Idaho.

California state lawmakers were quick to get on their moral high horses, calling for Richards’ resignation and citing the fact that mountain lions are protected in California, to which Richards replied with a reasonable, yet stinging, letter addressed to the California legislature in which he called out the hypocrisy of those calling for his resignation.

We had hoped cooler heads would prevail and that Richards would be able to keep his job, but we can’t always get what we want, can we? On Wednesday, Richards was removed from his position.

Backed by groups like the Humane Society of the United States, lawmakers claimed Richards hunt displayed poor judgment, apparently disregarding the will of some Californians.

Despite the fact Richards committed no crime and participated in a completely legal hunt, commissioners voted unanimously to oust Richards as president, replacing him with Jim Kellogg, who is apparently viewed as a compromise between outdoorsmen and environmental groups. Richards will continue to serve as a commissioner, but is not expected to be reinstated by California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Richards handled his departure with class.

“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,” Richards said. “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.”

Of course, the HSUS continued to kick a man while he’s down.

“Richards sure paid a high price for flaunting his out-of-sync values in Californians’ faces,” Jennifer Fearing, California senior state director of the HSUS, said in an email to U-T San Diego. “We are glad to see the Commission hold him accountable for his unprofessional behavior.”

News flash, Ms. Fearing: Richards is a Californian. His very existence negates the insane assumption that the HSUS speaks for all citizens of California.

Maybe killing a cougar in California is illegal, but how does that prohibit citizens from shooting it somewhere else? Look at it this way: Gambling is not a legal activity in the state of California, so by the logic of the HSUS, gambling is not in sync with Californians’ values. But you better believe it’s legal in Nevada. So, should any lawmaker cross state lines to play a little blackjack in Reno or Vegas, should that lawmaker then be removed from office for “flaunting his out-of-sync values in Californians’ faces”? This is an open question, HSUS; we’d love to hear your logic here.

Nevertheless, what a shame that participating in a completely legal activity ultimately costs a man his job. We’d personally love to have a conservationist like Dan Richards in our neck of the woods, though we’d understand if he would choose to stay away from the political game for a while.

  • Tracy Scott Preston

    Here in California, they are trying to do everything and anything to make hunting illegal even if it "disregards the will of Californians". They should be fired as well!

  • dlove

    "commissioners voted unanimously to oust Richards as president"

    Anyone with common sense would know that was just plain wrong! Maybe a hard look needs to be taken at the other commissioners.

    • Erik Osbun

      Yes, it looks to be like a green leftist stacked deck. California is a state in which the collusion between the public service unions and the Democrats has resulted in bankrupting the state. My how things have gradually changed since I was a youth. I have come to know that the "World of SFB" IS far larger than I imagined it was in my youth.

  • jp338

    People with s*** for brains continuing to rule and ruin a beautiful and once great state.

  • George

    let me see …… a BANKRUPT state economy BLATANTLY attempting to ban hunting …. NOW THAT makes sense !!! NOT !!! !!! (but then, what has Califormia done in the past 20 years that HAS made "sense" ??? I vote to move the California NORTHERN BORDER to Mexico's border insead – THAT would make GOOD SENSE and do alot of good for America as well !!!!

  • David McLaren.

    Thats a very big cougar. A very big rub in the face of the HSUS. The law really has nothing to do with it. The HSUS has proved many times that they feel above the law. Their behavior here might yet prove to be their undoing.

  • michael

    I left cali-liberal. I suggest anyone with a grain of sanity find some way to do the same. Maybe then they'll get the message.

    • Stan

      That would only play into their hands and give them what they want someone needs to say enough is enough

  • Stan Huhtala

    What a shame! No wonder your once great state of California is in trouble with lawmakers giving into low life special interest groups. They are far too weak to stand on their own two feet and make the right decisions! I left there 31 years ago and the best thing that I ever did. We need to package up some Montana and Idaho wolves and ship them to Hollywood and Sacramento. Another Stan

    • Stan Huhtala

      May God Bless Mr. Richards, he did nothing wrong harvesting a great sporting animal. Pretty good groceries when they are taken care of properly and cooked to perfection. All those people who condemned him should be totally ashamed of themselves the more that I think about it. It is all right for a warden or law enforcement person to shoot one that is presenting a danger. All young cats are dangerous when they go out on their own. It is totally amazing you have so few human deaths resulting for Mt. Lion attacks!

  • keith

    Once again California shows it's true colors by making another stupid move. Guess that is part of their token pattern.

  • Tony

    This is a bunch of bull#*%#. I agree that if any California resident goes to nevada to gamble is it not the same thing.

  • John ODonnell

    I dont usually wish ill to anyone but California and its phoney people dont deserve good people. Just as in the case where they closed all their power plants and depended on BC hydro power and the rolling brown outs began. They are consistant with there leftist bad decisions. I know where I will NEVER hunt or fish.

  • Jeff

    Wrongful dismissal suit might demonstrate some fairness.

  • josh

    what else would you expect in the land of tolerance?

  • Tim Hill

    surely there is a decent lawyer in California that could file a lawsuit that would not only reimburse Dan Richards for the wrong committed here but enjoin the State from something similar to someone else? I know there are probably at least 100,000 "hungry as locusts" lawyers in California. Is there ONE good one with the values we share?

  • ElCarmino

    GOOD! Hunting cougars has got to be one of the cruelest sports out there. Anyone who’d pursue that as a hobby doesn’t deserve to be in that position.

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