Cougar Hunter Dan Richards is Out as Fish and Game Commission President After Vote

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously for Jim Kellogg as president, thus ousting previous commission head and controversial cougar-hunter Dan Richards. Richards was gracious after the vote, expressing his appreciation to the commission and immediately turning over his gavel. Richards had said previously that if he was removed as president, he’d stay on the commission until his term ends in January. At that point it would be up to Jerry Brown to reappoint him, which Richards himself said is unlikely.

At today’s meeting, just one citizen spoke in favor of Richards, who caused a stir in February when he shot and killed a cougar in Idaho. The small turnout is in marked contrast to a Fish and Game Commission meeting in March, when 60 people expressed their support for Richards during the two-and-a-half hour public comment period.

Richards became notorious to some after posing with the mountain lion’s dead carcass for an outdoors magazine. That caused an uproar as animal-rights organizations and a slew of Democrats in the legislature sought to remove him from office, though the effort petered out. Cougar hunting is legal in Idaho but not in California.

Here’s the photo, which appeared in Western Outdoor News….

Richards was quoted in the San Jose Mercury News today as saying his ouster “originates from the enviro-terrorists being threatened by me. They see a guy who is paying attention to the issues, and who calls them out on the crap they throw out. Their involvement is important but by and large it’s a farce, and I’m not afraid to call it that.”

Richards has refused to heed calls for him to resign. “I’m not apologizing. I didn’t do anything wrong,” he told Western Outdoor News during the height of the controversy. “Why would I (resign)? I think I’m doing a good job.”

At one point, 40 state legislators signed a letter calling for his removal, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose father is a mountain lion advocate, sent Richards a letter asking him to step aside. Newsom’s argument:

While not in California at the time, your actions call into question whether you can live up to the calling of your office. Since 1870 the Commission has worked to manage the wildlife resources of our state. As president of the commission, I am sure you understand that merely complying with the conservation laws of California is not the standard by which the Commission or its members are measured. As is stated on the Commission’s website, your actions should be in the “best interest of the resource and truly reflect(s) the wishes and needs of the people.”

I do appreciate that you did nothing illegal in Idaho, but it is clear that your actions do not reflect the values of the people of California. In 1972, Governor Ronald Reagan signed legislation banning the sport hunting of mountain lions in California for 5 years. That ban was twice renewed before the voters of California passed Proposition 117 in June 1990.

Richards reacted to the criticism by sending a sarcastic letter to Assemblymember Ben Hueso, who spearheaded the effort against him. Richards wrote: “Do you really think a California Commissioner is actually obligated to follow California laws across these United States? Really?”

Related

  • http://www.facebook.com/sterling.smith.353803 Sterling Smith

    Good riddance. Mr. Richard’s comments and actions make it obvious that he was absolutely unqualified for the position he held.

    • caring member of society

      What is obvious to me is that you don’t know the first thing about the job of the California Fish and Game commission. It is to make sure that the plants and wildlife of California are protected which includes protecting the rights of hunters and fishermen as they help control the population by scientific research. What may or may not be good for California is not necessarily good for the other states in America. We as Americans, are required to follow the laws of each state where the population of various species are as different as the people inhabiting those states. Before you speak about things you know very little about you should gather the facts.

  • ned

    California idealogues who can’t see the State boundary, apparently. Hopefully no members killed anything or ate any meat during this period of time. So predictable for Cali…..

  • Anonymous

    Glad he lost his position. Only a gutless and spineless coward kills wild animals for sport and for trophies. These cowards wouldn’t dare to try and hunt anything that can shoot back at them. That’s for sure.

    • caring member of society

      Obviously you know nothing about hunting and fishing laws and the management of wildlife. You should limit your comments to things you actually know something about which is probably little since you are so judgemental that you have blinders to the other side. You are what is wrong with our society today. Little tolerance, little understanding, little empathy and little love for your fellow man.

      • http://www.facebook.com/layah.falk Layah Falk

        obviously you have no morals or sense of whats right and wrong because killing a animal, any type, is murder. they did nothing to you but for you it is a game to hunt them. that’s twisted. you have no right as a living creature on this earth to kill another unless you are in IMMEDIATE danger. an YOU are whats wrong with today’s society, little knowledge, little empathy, and little understanding of whats right and wrong. we live in such an advanced society that the killing of aniamls is not a nessesity for our immediate well being or survival, so there is no reason to hunt and kill inocent anumals, essecially for fun. people like this are a disgrace and do not desrve to hold power positions in our state.

        • Xzerkcyes

          You, my dear are a fucking moron. If we (humans) weren’t meant to hunt then why do I have canines? Why don’t you go remove yourself from the gene pool so your kind can die out.

  • Kenneth Wilson

    The man is not too bright. kill a big game lion in another state for the fun of it and expect it to be “Ok” back in your home state..dumb. And then he poses for pictures.. dumber

    • caring member of society

      Commissioner Richards is not required to follow California law in every state he visits. That is absurd! Of course there are people who would oppose the act but there are just as many who favor and support it. What we need is more tolerance, empathy, and understanding for differing ideas. That is what makes America, America!

  • An_Independent

    What a sad day for California…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000064080507 Lea Folger-Lucas

    Bu-bye!

  • D Thompson

    Quithe planet than this ass.e a lot of people would much sooner have a mountain lion on the plan

  • Avg. Joe

    Absolutely ridiculous. Was what he did wrong or illegal? No. Are politicians and public officials scrutinized for gambling when they are in Vegas?

    Eliot Ness didn’t completely believe in Prohibition but it didn’t stop him from doing his job. That’s really all that should matter, are they doing their job?

    The issue shouldn’t be about ethics or right and wrong, it should be about rules and regulations.

  • cougar

    Those persons who were pleased by the the decision against Mr. Richards justified their positions with comments like “gutless and spineless cowards”, “no morals because…killing an animal is murder”, “not too bright”. Here are few points I would kindly ask these self-righteous souls to consider: 1) Many hunters have previously voluntarily served their country in the armed forces during wartime, defending our political system—a system which succeeds primarily because it protects our cherished individual freedoms (including free speech). To broadly broadly stereotype hunters, a group that includes so many servicemen throughout the country, as cowards if they enjoy hunting is ridiculous: the real cowards are those who have shunned their civic responsibility, unwilling to protect, much less defend, the individual freedoms they enjoy—freedoms Mr. Richard’s critics, clearly take for granted. 2) Throughout our existence, man, like other predator species, has hunted. To suggest that we have now reached some moral plateau where we can deny our very nature is as naive as suggesting that by changing it’s environment, a grizzly bear will not attack a man, if fed amply and spoken to kindly. Likewise it is a long stretch to suggest that because man can appease his competitive needs in ways other than hunting, the survival strategy that led to these needs is now immoral. Now as a judge of moral fitness, it is shocking that Gavin Newsom can stand with any morale authority on this or any other moral issue, after his previous adulterous affair with the wife of a former aide. Similarly, the Californians who elected him have likewise forsaken any legitimacy on any moral matters–let alone the morality of hunting, which most know absolutely nothing about. 3) Not too bright? Well, it seems pretty easy to suggest that a person isn’t too bright if they they don’t share our same values. Quite to the contrary, to make disparaging remarks about the character of someone with whom you disagree, clearly takes less intelligence than getting the facts and making a reasoned decision. The facts are that Mr. Richards did nothing to forsake his full responsibilities as California Game Commissioner. The facts are that most Californians still eat slaughtered animals that spent most of their miserable existence in a cage and most Californians still wear leather shoes from these animals’ hides!

Author

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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