.. and all hunters. David Zincavage reports, furiously, here.
From an unremarkable story, earlier:
“California Fish and Game commissioner Dan W. Richards travelled deep into the wicked terrain of Idaho’s Flying B Ranch to fulfill a long-held goal. “It was the most physically exhausting hunt of my lifetime. Eight hours of cold weather hiking in very difficult terrain. I told the guides I appreciated the hard work. They were unbelievably professional, first class all the way,” he said. Richards said he took the big cat over iron sights using a Winchester Centennial lever action .45 carbine. Asked about California’s mountain lion moratorium, Richards didn’t hesitate. “I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho.”
And now he is ousted from office:
“Although the kill was legal in Idaho, California has outlawed the hunting of mountain lions for decades. More than 40 state legislators called for Richards to resign in March, saying he showed poor judgment in killing the cougar when the practice is opposed by most Californians…[Michael] Sutton, an executive with the Audubon Society [who was at the same time elected Vice President of the Fish and Game Commission], said later that the killing of the lion and Richards’ comments defending it were factors in his decision to vote to replace Richards.”
Zincavage: “The president of the State Fish & Game Commission is supposed, in California, to be out of line when he uses his office to speak in favor of hunting.”
LA Weekly, though reporting that some comments against Richards were “pretty terroristy”, is flat- out exultant:
“Needless to say, he was immediately attacked by every shade of the left — from animal-rights crazies to some of the Legislature’s most mainstream Democrats… [really?!]… although Fish and Game commissioners haven’t explained specifically why they decided to vote Richards down from his throne today, it was clearly a symbolic move to kill the human who killed the beast… Let this be a lesson for all trigger-happy Republicans who dare to dream of swimming against California’s blue tide: We’ll eat your grin for dinner.”
Several churning thoughts: is hunting in Cal really that partisan an issue, or just in a few big cities? What do some of my friends who are Democrats and hunters say, in and out of Cal? What does this bode for the politics of hunting, and the nation?
For certain, it is a black day for the hounds. I wonder who they will call when a lion next stalks, or eats, a runner. Will they let them use hounds?… even end up begging for them, when nothing else works? I wouldn’t let my dogs step foot in California, where a coursing ban is on the agenda, and mandatory spay- neuter waits in the wings…