A majority of California Assembly members and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom are calling for the head of the state Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards, to resign after he was photographed posing with a mountain lion he killed in Idaho. It’s legal to kill mountain lions in that state, but not in California — and critics say the head of the wildlife commission is sending the wrong message. Should Richards resign?

Paul Rogers, environment reporter for the San Jose Mercury News and managing editor of Quest, KQED's science and environment series
Jennifer Fearing, chief economist and California senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States
William Newsom, retired appellate justice and former president of the Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation
Bill Karr, Northern California editor for Western Outdoor News

  • GEPaysNoTaxes

    Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury, some say. Our politicians appoint corporate executives to serve as regulators of their own industries, from pharma to food to petroleum to mining to banking, and now this. A killer of mountain lions is in charge of protecting mountain lions. What a shameless country the USA has become.
    So what’s next, will we appoint jihadists to judgeships and let them rule over hate crimes? Oh wait, something related transpired in Pennsylvania last week…

  • Vignor

    If you’ve hunted mountain lions you’d know that often they are at the same time hunting you.

    • Greg

      Really? How many hunters have they shot?! Bitten? Clawed? 

      • LilCub

        Greg, what they do to the humans is called “culling”.

  • Toddfitzgerald2005


  • LSun

    Even the youngest boy scout knows that if you kill it, you eat it.  Killing wildlife for the sake of just killing it is unacceptable and a terrible waste.  Any individual in charge of protecting wild life should know better.  It shows he is definitely not fit for this job.

    • paul

      According to report from KQED This week (Paul Rogers) and/or or KPIX evening news,  it’s meat was consumed.

  • Jim J

    I am an oral surgeon practicing in  southern CA.  Like most Californians, I am not a hunter.  It is frustrating to have the California Fish and Game Commission controlled by people like Daniel Richards who has shown that he views the values of most Californians in contempt.  I would like to see him resign or be removed.All five commissioners are hunter, all are white males over 50. And all are wealthy.  We should have diversity in this commission like we have in other state boards and commissions.  And I believe the commission should be renamed the California Wildlife Management Commission with the mission to balance the values of Californians of all viewpoints.  Mr. Richards is an anachronistic relic with no common sense, poor judgement, and absent leadership skills. People like him are why citizens lose faith in government. California deserves better.

  • Roy-in-Boise

    In Idaho,mountain lions are culled from suburban areas like Boise’s Green Belt along the river that runs through the city.  Also F&G trapped and euthanized in a mixed residential / light office area here in Boise next to St. Al’s Hospital this past It is legal to hunt mountain lions in Idaho because we do not want joggers killed by them. The other hunts are controlled by F&G and not random shootings.

  • Leo B

    What if the head of the LAPD vice squad was a customer in a legal brothel in Nevada?  What is the chief of Child Protective Service went to have intimate relations with his 15-year-old girlfriend in Costa Rica (where the legal age of consent is 15)?  What if the director of the DEA went to smoke a little legal hashish in Amsterdam?  Would there be any question that they would lose their jobs?

    • Astroz

      If they took pictures and posted it to the internet for the world to see… Yes, it would be in question.

      • Daniel Danielson106

         And if not, that would be all-right? Astroz, you are a hypocrite

        • Wompwomp

          I guess it would be a secret, wouldn’t it? 
          If Chris Hansen went to Costa Rica & took pictures with his 15yo girlfriend then posted it to his FB– would you still be comfortable seeing him catch a preditor? 
          The person in question is the hypocrite.

          • Daniel Danielson106

            Answering your question … I would not be comfortable seeing him anywhere but jail. Are you making the same point as I am? 

          • astroz

            Jail? No way, this is about his position and representation. 
            He was apointed. No saying if he was ‘perfect’ for the postion. 
            But for the future of wildlife, i hope he can make wise decisions that are not bias.

          • Daniel Danielson106


            I am about to give up on you. I meant Mr Chris Hansen of your own example. This one should loose his job and have lots of free time for hunting …

    • ChiefWiggums

      In Thailand it’s a serious offense to criticize the Thai king.
      If a person points out here in the USA that the Thai king looks like a walnut, should he be jailed here?

  • Kevin A. Madden

    Baffled by the endless discussions: just fire him. He had a chance to resign.

    Do not augment his poor judgement with poorly judging that talking about it ad nauseum is prudent. (I don’t mean KQED should not devote time to it – rather that the decision makers should stop dithering and posturing!)

  • Doug

    I support environmental organizations. I live in the city. I am a Democrat. And I think this is silly. This is the kind of thing that gives environmentalism a bad name–and in particular makes the national Humane Society (Humane Society of the US) one of the more dangerous enemies of true conservation. Think of what people like Limbaugh will say of this, the longer it goes on. 

    • Daniel Danielson106

      This has not much to do with environmentalism. This is about hypocrisy and the elected official being unfit for the job. He does not have moral standing for that. Check out the posts here …

  • Ari

    Would a California police officer be fired for gambling in Las Vegas?  No.  We need to focus on real issues instead made up ones. 

  • Greg

    If this lion had been harassing a rancher’s stock animals, well, that might be a different matter. But this was killing for the sake of killing — on a fenced-in hunting range — for the glorification of Mr. Richards’ ego, and the profit of the Flying B. Ranch. 

    Mr. Richards thinks he’s living in the age of Ernest Hemingway. This had nothing to do with wildlife management. It was a trophy hunt, nothing less. Mr. Richards should tender his resignation immediately. 

    • Geraldine

      I voted for the ban on mountain lion hunting, a vote I came to regret when a young mountain lion started stalking my dogs, chickens and young horses when I lived in Shadow Hills, 10 minutes from the Burbank Airport.  We could get no help from Fish & Game because he hadn’t killed any domestic livestock yet and we were told not to “interfere” with the lion.  Several shots of rock salt from neighbor’s shotgun finally got the cat to move on and find another territory and I’m very glad that the neighbor broke the law.  (Even though I’m registered Green, I went out and bought myself a shotgun.)

      • Tpkarayacha

        Guess how many animals are being killed by human encroachment. As the population grows the space is growing smaller and smaller and hence the wild animals are coming into populated areas. 

        • Geraldine Clarke

          I agree.  We live in a vastly over-populated world.

    • paul

      The debate here is not Hunting, right or wrong. The issue is: should Dan Richards resign, be fired or not. For lack of “politically correct” judgement, yes perhaps he should go. But the F & G commission requires a panel that balances both hunting and no-hunting interests. For that reason, Mr. Richards should absolutely remain in office. No laws or ethics were violated, in ID or CA. 

      • Greg

        So it is hunting; or it’s not hunting? You made both claims, so hard to tell what side you’re arguing. 

        As a leader, Mr. Richards made a decision that he had to know would be controversial — and contrary to the laws in California. What’s next, go to Alaska to club harp seal pups with Native peoples? Or maybe go to Japan for porpoise and/or whale hunts? It’s not illegal, so why not, eh?

        Sorry, your reasoning just doesn’t hold water.

    • Joseph Szasz

      Have you ever been to Kamiah, Idaho? Trophy hunt or not there is not alot of profit of any kind in this tiny ex logging town. Would you prefer mining and logging to tourism?

  • janna

    Agree that this is a cultural issue.  Comparing to prostitution or drugs is ridiculous.  Anyone who eats meat who calls this disgusting is the hypocrite.  Humans kill animals every day. 

    Right or wrong we rely on our government agencies to help keep the balance between humans and wild animals, and in CA we’ve decided mountain lions should not be killed, but in Idaho there are too many of them.   Simple as that.

  • Alex C

    Quite frankly I find this question to be a spit in the eye of the rule of law, if our officials are required to live under the strictures of the law they should be allowed all of the rights and privileges granted under the law.  The only assumption of meaning that can reasonably be drawn from this action isn’t that Richards supports Mountain Lion hunting everywhere but that he supports it where legally allowed.

  • Sonyaejacobowong

    Was his action illegal? No.  Does California have time and money to debate an issue that was not illegal? I don’t agree with killing animals for sport in any state, but I do believe in the law and that it protects the innocent and punishes the wrong doers.  
    California should focus on the myriad of issues at hand.

    • Daniel Danielson106

      This IS one of the myriad issues.

  • lolly caust

    Ari:  gambling is not illegal in california.  a more pertinent question is “would the head of child protective services be fired for having sex with a 13 year old girl in japan (where the age of consent is 13)?

  • Wolfganggus

    This fiasco give environmentalists a really bad name.  He did nothing illegal!  This has nothing to do with hunting anything in California.  This is simply ridiculous!!

    Californians are just too paranoid about hunting and guns which is due to ignorance.

  • Astroz

    He represents California! Not hunters. 
    We need people that really care about wildlife, that aren’t fair weathered or looking for loop holes for personal enjoyment.
    If he doesn’t like the reaction he’s been getting, then clearly this job isn’t for him (this state is big on image!) He should no longer represent California or the preservation of wildlife, since he–himself is part of the problem.

  • Robyn

    He should NOT resign. He did nothing illegal, nor “immoral”. The rage your guest exhibits is biased and unjustified. The call for his resignation is really ridiculous . I don’t hunt, but hunters shouldn’t be demonized.

  • Peter W

    Even though I am very supportive of environmental protection and conservation, and generally progressive, I totally disagree with the idea that the commissioner should step down because he hunted legally in another state.  There is a difference between deciding to ban hunting of mountain lions in California for conservation reasons, and what seems to be a stance that hunting them is morally wrong or inhumane.

  • Guest

    I don’t support killing animals, but I think all you Californians with your “values” are such hypocrites. How about the millions of pigs, sheep, and cows that you support killing on a daily basis? You have something against hunting, but you have nothing wrong with slaughtering intelligent pigs for your bacon bits, or baby male chicks at egg hatcheries for your scrambled eggs.

  • RedApe

    Simply because an act is legal in another country or state should not be a valid argument for retaining a high appointed position. The position should be held by a person who stands above reproach FOR the office that they are appointed. Would we want someone in charge of the State’s drug enforcement office who was known for flying to Holland and “legally” using drugs while they held that office…and posted pictures on line while they did it? Would we want a person in charge of Child Protective Services who flew to a country and frequented 17 year old prostitutes. Yeah, so its legal…but shouldn’t the qualifications for holding these offices require a higher ethical standard?

  • Robertbt7

    Ballot measures should not determine wildlife issues. It takes scientists and wildlife managers like every other western state. Idaho, New Mexico and Arizona maintain steady wildlife populations with hunting being a key part of that. California cannot say the same.

    • RedApe

      The public were informed of these issues…and the law included the “depredation standard” which allowed the hunting of a cougar in a particular area.

      • wda

        So how has that CA initiative process working for taxes, school funding, prisons, three strikes, actual governance etc. ?

  • Geraldine

    I think it needs to pointed out that Wayne Pacelle, the head of the Humane Society of the US, has repeatedly made it very clear that one of the major aims of HSUS is to stop ALL hunting and fishing everywhere in the country.  I’m a veteran of the fight against AB2110 where Pacelle declared loudly that that bill (which would have made hunting with hounds illegal in CA) would be the first step in that campaign.  It failed.

  • Janet Prochazka

    This man is a CA state govt official. It would be different if he were a private citizen.

  • Fred Jones

    the hypocrisy of the enviro-wacko left is blatant. Jennifer talks about respecting the will of California voters. Does she also respect their will when it comes to banning gay marriage and illegal immigration?

    • Daniel Danielson106

      Wrong thread, Fred.

      • Fred Jones

        wrong thread? please explain..

    • RedApe

      There is no law against being in a Gay marriage in California (if one was married in a state where it is legal). It just has no legal status in California. 

      If there was someone that was in charge of a Public Commission that was in a Gay marriage that then offered a couple a privilege that was explicitly restricted to straight married couples then you might have a point. 

      • Fred Jones

        I’m sorry you didn’t understand the larger analogy. The point is the political left selectively invokes “the will of California voters” solely when it is convenient to their causes, and that’s transparent for all to see.

  • Tim dunbar

    Bill Karr, like many hunters mistaken equates hunting with management of wildlife.  For 40 years now lions have not been hunted in California yet they seem to be a good job of managing themselves.  Many of the states which Mr. Karr stated has lion hunting now have dysfunctional lion populations and increasing lion / livestock conflicts.

  • Jeevescat3

    Michael, I AM a hunter and I find this hunt problamatic but for a different reason.  He is entitled to hunt however he wishes by the rules of where ever he chooses to go, however,  I would NEVER hunt a preditor, personally.  My problem is with the fact that I heard him say he ATE this mountain lion.  It is repulsive to me for someone to eat a mammalian preditor.  A female Calif hunter/environmentalist

  • sf bike girl

    I think it shows a political ineptitude that we just don’t want in such a high ranking wildlife official.   The hunt was legal, but the gloating
    in the photo and sending it off to Western Outdoor News was distasteful when he knows how most CA citizens feel about mountain
    lions. Please note that this is just the latest in a series of inept actions, like when he called
    Governor Schwarzenegger (who appointed him!) a “fork-tongued devil” in the press.  And of course Richards is also an unindicted co-conspirator in a
    criminal real estate scheme to rip off the taxpayers of San Bernardino
    County for $100 million. Three strikes, you’re out.

  • Daniel Danielson106

    Michael, please let us not derail the discussion onto managing the wild life or eating meat. The issue here is HYPOCRISY of the elected official.

    When he was considered for the position there might have been questions about how he feels about protecting the wild life and conservation. I DO NOT THINK his answer was “I would obey the law here but cross into some other state and THERE I would have the change of heart”.

    This is what it is about. There got to be other people more fit for the position who take the issue of protecting the wild-life CLOSER to heart. Let this guy go hunting more …

  • BZ

    I don’t
    believe Dan Richards actually ate the cat. Who hugs a bloody carcass & then
    eats it? That is his trophy (or his dogs trophy). This is not about gambling or
    gay marriage and Richards is not responsible for either of those. If he wants
    to kill wild game, I don’t want my tax money paying his salary. BB Alameda

  • RedApe

    So it’s legal to hunt and eat whales in Japan…and yet it violates US Federal law. Would we want the head of the Fish & Wildlife service to go off to Japan, and then post pictures of dining off that meal on the internet?

    That’s a overtly political act. There are lots of things that are legal. But we don’t want someone in office who would make a statement that they oppose the very state laws the are sworn to support by undertaking such an act.

  • Jeevescat3

    For the North Bay rancher speaking now about the “creepy-ness” of mountain lions, you choose to live in the mountain lion’s environment.  He has a right to his territory, you have a right to not live in it.  We need the increase in the mountain lion population to help maintain the deer population.

  • Amy

    Mountain lions are an apex species, and by definition do not need to be hunted to be managed.  They regulate their own numbers.  Mountain lion hunting in all the other states is done purely for sport, for fun, not to balance the ecosystem.  And as for the population of lions in California supposedly being out of control (as was suggested by one of the guests), this is completely false.  Marc Kenyon, CA Fish & Game’s bear and mountain lion coordinator stated just last year that the state’s lion “population size is, in fact, smaller than it was 10 years ago.” 

  • Donna Howe

    Whether he ate the mountain lion or not, it was clearly a trophy hunt, and not a hunt for food!  Has anyone asked the question about whether he is mounting his kill?  My guess is that he has cancelled that order by now.  Dan Richards actions show he is not fit to lead the wildlife policies in California!

  • tiggeroo02

    If he had truly gone to the Flying-B Ranch to hunt pheasants*, then why take (and publish) a “Look At Me” photo, grinning while clutching a dead mountain lion to his chest for size comparison? And the taxidermy?

    I question the accuracy of the “damage control” by Joseph
    Peterson, the operations manager of the Flying B ranch:

    Meanwhile, Joseph
    Peterson, the guide who led Richards on the hunt in January at the
    5,000-acre Flying B Ranch in northern Idaho, said Richards went to the
    ranch seeking to hunt pheasants. Peterson said that he asked Richards,
    whom he had not previously met, if he wanted to kill a mountain lion
    because the ranch was trying to stem a recent increase in the number of
    lions as a way to preserve deer and other big game popular with sport
    hunters there.
    “He killed the cat as a favor to me, to help our
    predator management on the ranch,” Peterson said, adding that he did not
    charge Richards the ranch’s normal $6,800 fee for a lion hunt.
    “The cat would have died if Dan was here or not,” Peterson said.
    said he tracked the lion for 15 hours, and Richards tracked it for
    about eight hours, through miles of hilly country in the snow. After the
    lion, a 3-year-old male, was driven up a tree by hunting dogs, Richards
    shot it, he said.
    Richards sent a photo of
    himself holding the dead lion, which he left in Idaho to be taxidermied,
    to Western Outdoor News, a hunting newspaper. The paper published the
    photo, prompting an outcry from the Humane Society, Sierra Club and
    other groups.

  • Daniel Danielson106

    I agree with the post that the gentleman showed a complete and utter CONTEMPT to his own state and voters and his own job he is doing for his state. Can nobody of all who argues for him see that?

    And sorry but the response of Bill Karr that ethics violation are so in common that we should be letting go of them … sorry but how is that making any sense?

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Trophy hunting is illegal in Idaho.

  • James


    You basically give people like Jennifer a pass every time, and don’t call them on their hypocrisy. Your blatant slat is always obvious; just because you have “opposing voices” on your show doesn’t mean you can hide behind the mantle of objectivity. I’m cancelling my membership to KQED.


    • Daniel Danielson106

      Thank you, James.
      I do not think it was doing you any good.

  • Scott

    This witch hunt is the type of thing that gives California a bad name.  This is totally ridiculous!!

  • Feforee

    The reason all the laws passed on protecting Mt.Lions is the way they are hunted…..with dogs that tree the ML and then the hunter shots it out of the tree…

  • mille stelle

    Daniel Richards has a position of leadership in the State of California.  He is, among other things, a symbol of what we stand for when it comes to wild animals.  His behavior communicates our beliefs and values not only to us here in California and to other states around us but, perhaps even more important, to the children here who will be entrusted with protecting our state and all its resources in the future.  

    Leadership is not just holding a job and doing what’s in the job description – it’s a way of life.  To act one way at home and another when away from home is, by definition, hypocrisy.  He may not be a “bad man” because he goes hunting for sport in another state, but has has failed us by carrying the message that we think this is right.

    The world population is now at 7 billion and it will increase to 9 billion by the year 2050 according to the UN population specialists.  That is MASSIVE GROWTH OF HUMANS!!!  Sustainability – peaceful coexistence with ALL species on the planet – are now in crisis mode.  California has long been the leader among all the states when it comes to managing the balance when it comes to questions of man versus nature, even while sustaining the greatest population growth in the nation for many periods of our existence.  We must wake up and face the fact that it’s going to get harder.  The people we elect/appoint must be spotless… they are our ambassadors, in office to promote our wishes not to bring shame on us.

    • Frances

      oh my god, please stop. your ridiculous and moonbeam existence is disgusting

    • wda

      What does this have to do with any of this discussion.

      Seems like a canned emotional response.

  • Frank

    Mr. Karr illustrates what is wrong in so many of our debates these
    days.  Instead of honestly discussing differences of opinion, he
    misrepresents the positions of his opponent.  For example, his statement
    that Ms. Fearing is “against all forms of hunting” is
    just wrong.  She repeatedly expressed the specific kinds of hunting she
    was opposed to.

    • Fred Jones

      She is an enviro-wacko with the real, hidden agenda to stop “all hunting that causes undue pain” and that is “inhumane”…by definition, when you kill something you probably cause it undue pain, so clearly her only agenda is to ban hunting and ban meat consumption. The left is so disgustingly transparent in this state. But the chickens are slowly coming home to roost

    • wda

      The Humane Society is antihunting and so is Fearing.  She was tripping all over her words trying to spit out a definition hunting which she approves.  In the end it sounded like all she would approve is going around trying to catch animals with a butterfly net.

  • Jeevescat3

    The State of California is OVERUN with Deer !  We continue to build into their habitat.  Mr Carr needs to recognize that the reason he can buy deer tags is to help supress the deer population.  At 52 deer per year x 4,000 mountain lions, that is hardly a dent in a deer population of MILLIONS.

  • Rod

    Mountain lions will eat all the deer if we don’t sport hunt them?  Lions and deer have been around a whole lot longer than humans… how did they ever survive without our management?!  Someone please enroll Karr in a biology class.

  • Al

    This issue is unfortunate, but it gives birth to a more troubling issue.  The will of the people.  This as become a precision weapon that is being used to support causes as opposed to general policy.  When prop 8 unfortunately passed it offended most Californians and so we looked for what was right and ignored the will of the people.  Should we not be looking for what is right here. 

    • Mperlmn

      are you a moron? the very fact that Prop 8 passed was direct evidence that “most” of Californians supported Prop 8, otherwise it would not have passed. Duh! Did you have breakfast this morning?

  • RedApe

    We have a Board that regulates gambling and has a division that allocates money to treatment for gambling addiction. If a Commissioner of that Board went to Vegas and gambled away $50,000 (perfectly legal) then there would still be serious questions if that individual should be involved in regulating that office.

  • Littlecub

    Mountain lions are a force of nature that we should adapt to, as we do with earthquakes, floods, and serpentine.
    The world is not pristine suburbia or Disneyland and we should not try to make it thus.
    That said, if the animals are killing people, they should be put down.

    • Daniel Danielson106

      How about people? Following you sentiment, all people who kill other people should be put down. And are they?

      • Lilcub

        In Texas they are.
        Now, if only they’d cull the deadly corporations, too.

  • Keith from Oakland

    Not fair to the animal??!!! Is blasting away with a scoped 30.06 ever FAIR to any animal? Give me a break Bill Karr. I own a 30-30, a shotgun and a 9mm hand gun. I would not dream of using them to hunt unless my personal survival was at stake. Its 2012 not 1833. 

  • Doug F

    I’m a Life Member of the NRA, not opposed to humane legal hunting of species that are abundant or overpopulated, but still think the Commish should resign or be canned.  There clearly aren’t enough mountain lions in the state–a tiny fraction of their pre-1850 levels–there are millions of deer, and the Commish is in charge of setting a good example and projecting a hard line against poaching mountain lions or any other protected species.  

    • Jaeger1121

      He didn’t poach. He was in Idaho. It’s legal there. If you didn’t get that from the story it might (sadly) be time to give the guns to the next generation.

    • wda

      Don’t let the facts get in your way of making an emotional argument.

  • Kevin A. Madden

    Please, please: why can’t Jerry just fire him?

  • Gagolub

    I’d rather have the lions relocated to safe, remote locations rather than killed for sport. What a disgusting waste. Should Richards resign for his poor judgement? Yes. 

    • wda

      Well since you likely don’t live in Idaho where the cat was legally hunted your opinion doesn’t really mean much.

  • RedApe

    The argument is that mountain lion populations are increasing…but the number of attacks on domestic animals is not increasing. Attacks on humans are rare. This means that the lions are involved in keeping down the mule deer population. These were skyrocketing when hunting lions were allowed to be hunted. The hunters then insisted that they be allowed to cull more mule deer. Hunters want it both ways…they want to eradicated mountain lion numbers so they have more deer to hunt, it seems. Management should be to trap the cats and move them to areas where the deer population is high. In fact, the cats generally range into areas where the deer are most common, and stay there when the eating is good.

  • Raminator_80

    We need apex preditors like the mountain lion for the health of the environment. WIthout them, the deer populaton would explode. Carr and RIchards believe that man should have dominion over nature. Cetainly Richards should be removed.

    • wda

      Tell that to the wildlife biologists in Idaho.  Oh, you live in SF or Berkeley or some other similar concrete jungle?  OK.

      • RedApe

        Conditions are vastly different in California and Idaho..or Montana. In addition, I find it very interesting that suddenly the Conservatives are saying “listen to the scientists”….when they have stifled valid scientific discourse and ignored the consensus on almost every other issue (evolution; climate change; environmental issues of water, air, pollution, land-use, forestry). Any mammalogist will tell you that environmental impacts must be assessed regionally…and that large caliber hunting is not a natural method. They will tell you that if you hunt cougars that the deer population will explode…over hunt deer and the cougar population will start eating agricultural animals.

        • wda

          Who says that you can’t be a hunter, enjoy the outdoors, believe in scientific wildlife management and also be considered a “liberal?”

          And so are you saying that science and biology should not be used to maintain a workable longterm wildlife management program?

          Therefore, the wildlife scientists in Idaho have deemed hunting cougars to be an effective means to manage their wildlife.  What does California care, unless to turn this into a political issue?

          • RedApe

            Never said any of that. But it is true that scientific information has been selectively managed and censored by the GOP to prevent the consensus views to be the ones that are allowed to influence policy. As I clearly stated each local area has different issues….with populations sizes of wildlife, the impact on local ecologies, and with human populations. On the ranch where the hunt took place they cull mountain lions and deer for profit. They stated that they eliminate the mountain lions (@ 4/year) to increase the numbers of huntable deer. Thus the apex predator is replaced by human hunters. 

            What are the published scientific studies on cougar numbers in Idaho? Are they in decline, maintaining their numbers? Have wildlife scientists actually published such studies?

          • wda

            Idaho has more Mountain Lions than they know what to do with.  So does California.

            Some think that mountain lions are a threatened or endangered species. They are neither. Wildlife biologists say that lions are healthy and abundant in much of California. Mountain lions are rather a specially protected species in California by a law created by a voter’s initiative, not by wildlife biologists.

          • ChiefWiggums

            Isn’t the definition of being a liberal is being open-minded and not seeking to restrict other people?

  • guest

    I believe that Richards should resign or be removed from his position at the Commission not because he is a hunter or because he went to hunt in Idaho, but because he does not support the policy of preservation of mountain lion the state of  CA has chosen in multiple occasions. I also find insulting that, in his statement, he essentially thumbed his nose at the poeple of CA which is behavior which does not inspire trust 

    • wda

      I’m sorry, how has he not supported the preservation of Mountain Lions in California?

      And to turn your emotionally charged logic on it’s head, given that he participated in a well monitored Mountain Lion management program in Idaho, how is that not helping to preserve the big cats.

      Does California know better how to manage Idaho’s wildlife better than Idaho?  Does Idaho not have wildlife biologists?

      The truth is, Idaho devotes far more resources managing and studying Mountain Lions than California.

  • RedApe

    Karr is now claiming that he didn’t go to Idaho to hunt the lion but to hunt pheasants. Look at the picture above and ask yourself…is that pheasant hunting weather/conditions?

    Then he says he impulsively took the opportunity to go and hunt a lion. Do we think that we should have such an individual who makes such impulsive decision…not even thinking about the fact that he is undertaking an act that is illegal in the State that he serves…would set off a firestorm of criticism?

    Either this guy is extremely stupid…or the story is just a pile of bull-dada. 

    I suspect that he knew the purpose of the trip to Idaho…and it wasn’t hunting pheasants. And he knew very well that his action, and posting the picture, would set off.

    So he is also a liar.

    • wda

      I don’t believe that is what he said.

    • Geraldine

      You obviously have never been hunting.  The big cats are very secretive and hide extremely well.  Actually seeing one is rare.  Pheasants are much easier to find in all weather (and a damn sight better eating.)

  • Nick

    Please stop all the tangential talk. Mr. Richards, blew it, he had a great job and his behavior demonstrates clearly he lacks the judgement hold such a position. Yes, his behavior matters, and No, he does not get to say it is legal in another state. The next person holding that position I hope will be a woman and will work to encourage all people to care for and respect our great out doors. I am not against hunting I am against stupid behavior. Get real the man who is the head of protecting our great out doors is pictured holding his kill, somehow I think many people in the state not such a good role model for a steward of nature. Maybe he should have waited for that hunting trip. I wonder if he ever had any second thoughts. You know like, ” I wonder how all the elementary school boys and girls will feel when they see a picture of the man who is suppose  to protect nature parading his dead mountain lion”. Not a smart move, Mr. Richards please save the state’s time step down.

    • wda

      Richards is not a full time state employee.  He gets paid $100 a day for commission meetings and no more than $500 a month.  It’s largely a volunteer position.

      • RedApe

        Does he influence policy? Did he promote his position as the head of the Commission (rather than a private citizen) to the Western Outdoorsman News? Did he state his opposition to the State law he was appointed to enforce?

        Yes…to all three.


        • wda

          Jerry Brown and Kamela Harris both have stated that they will never enforce California’s death penalty.

          See the hypocracy?

          • RedApe

            There has been a hold on California’s executions by the FEDERAL COURTS since 2006. Brown and Harris have stated that they will uphold California law, despite their personal opposition to the death penalty. They have stated that they will fully ENFORCE California’s Death Penalty Law.

          • wda

            Brown as AG, Harris as AG:
            1) “I will NEVER pursue the death penalty in any case.”

            2) “I refuse to defend Proposition 8, despite it being the will of the people.”

          • RedApe

            I notice that you refuse to provide any original references for those statements. 

          • wda

            San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris will not seek the death penalty for an alleged gang member accused of murdering a father and two of his sons, a prosecutor said Thursday.

            The decision is in keeping with Harris’ campaign promise never to seek the death penalty.Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/09/10/BAM819L7NE.DTL#ixzz1no0jWUz8

          • wda

            KH: “We will not defend Prop 8 because it is wrong.”

        • wda

          I also believe that you are reading far more into the statement “I’m glad it’s legal in Idaho” than it deserves.

  • RedApe

    It’s pretty clear that Richards wasn’t doing this as a “private citizen” but to make a “statement”. His position as Commissioner of Wildlife was prominently displayed throughout the write-up…as was the fact that he doesn’t support the California law that he was appointed to enforce.


    As well the comments bring issue with the claim that this was a spontaneous opportunity and the intent was a pheasant hunt. I guess one could see if he brought the rifle along with him or simply carried shotguns. 

    • wda

      Yeah, I’m sure that the Humane Society doesn’t have a subscription to Western Outdoor News.

      I also disagree on your asessment that Richards does not support the California Law.

      • RedApe

        Huh? I’m not a member of the humane society….never have been.

        That is a directly quoted caption from the WON newsletter…front page coverage explicitly stating his position as California Commissioner of Wildlife. He stated it was a “lifelong goal” to kill a cougar (i.e. trophy hunter)…and that “I’m glad that Idaho allows the hunting of mountain lions”.

        BTW That ranch culls mountain lions (4/year) specifically to increase the number of deer…for hunters.

        They thought that this was such a great political boon that they didn’t even charge Richards the typical $6000 fee for hunting a lion. 

        The great hunter shot it from close range, after dogs had treed it. This is what the “great hunter” accomplished. He killed an animal that was at no risk to any domesticated animal (except maybe the mob of hunting dogs set to hunt it), it was killing wild deer (profitable to the Hunting ranch), and he killed it after it had been corned.

        • wda

          You really need to read up on this subject.

          1) The Humane Society was the group that brought this to the internet, made it go viral, and is leading this charge.  That’s why I’m sure the HS has a subscription to WON.

          2) Richards is an avid lifelong hunter, why would’nt it be a lifelong dream to legally hunt for big game like a Mountain Lion.

          3) You should read up on Mountain Lion hunting in Western states.  Here’s a primer on Idaho: http://www.wildlifemanagementinstitute.org/PDF/5-Role%20of%20State….pdf
          and one for Montana:

          Too bad California doesn’t study Mountain Lions as closely as these other states.  Why, because there is absolutely no management of these big cats in CA other than for predation.

          • RedApe

            The only scientific study that is cited in the the Idaho Primer is the one by Ernest et al (2003) which actually took place in California. The California studies are actually far superior to those in other Western States. The Idaho primer points out that actually studying the cougar populations in Idaho adequately is subject to cost constraints…requiring $250K -$1 million/year, so they haven’t been done.

          • wda

            Please cite these superior CA studies.

            Also you are wrong by stating that the Idaho study lists costs as a reason scientific studies are not done.  It most certainly does not.

            It merely lists cost as a practical limitation on the use of state-of-the-art scientific tools and technology of long term research over large geographic areas.

            There are lots of states doing scientific studies on the management of Mountain Lions.

            Here is Oregon’s: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/cougar/cougarPLAN-Final.pdf

  • Geraldine

    Ms. Fearing ignored all questions about HSUS’s true aims.  Here are just a few quotes from her boss:

    “The entire animal rights movement in the United States reacted with
    unfettered glee at the Ban in England …We view this act of parliament
    as one of the most important actions in the history of the animal rights
    movement.  This will energise our efforts to stop hunting with hounds.”
    Wayne Pacelle, CEO, Humane Society of the US (HSUS), London Times, December 26, 2004

    “If we could shut down all sport hunting in a moment, we would.” Wayne
    Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends
    of Animals and Fund for Animals, Associated Press, Dec 30, 1991

    “Our goal is to get sport hunting in the same category as cock fighting and dog fighting.” Wayne
    Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US (HSUS), formerly of Friends
    of Animals and Fund for Animals, (Bozeman (MT) Daily Chronicle, October
    8, 1991

    “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop
    all hunting in the United States … We will take it species by species
    until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state
    by state. Wayne Pacelle, Senior VP Humane Society of the US
    (HSUS), formerly of Friends of Animals and Fund for Animals, Full Cry
    Magazine, October 1, 1990.

    “The definition of obscenity on the newsstands should be extended to many hunting magazines.” Wayne Pacelle, quoted in Bloodties: Nature, Culture and the Hunt by Ted Kerasote, 1993, p. 265.

    Pacelle now denies he’s said these things but they are well documented.

    • Hi Geraldine,
      Our apologies that this comment took so long to post. It automatically was moderated into our spam folder because it includes a large number of quotes, which our moderation platform – like many other moderation platforms – reads as potential spam. 
      Thanks for your patience,

      • Geraldine Clarke

        Thank you, Mr. Hill, for finally getting these quotes into the record even though no one is reading them anymore and the effect they might have had is totally lost. I had wondered if there might be a computer problem.  The first time I posted the quotes I’d copied them from a file which had some print in bold (for the references only) so then I took out the bold, made the quotes as innocuous as possible without deleting the quotation marks which were very needed to define them and re-posted them.  When that didn’t get posted, I called and talked to a moderator. I told him that my missing posts consisted of quotes from the HSUS CEO.  He looked up what I had posted and saw no problem and told me to re-post.  So, I need to suggest to you that you educate your moderators much more effectively as to the parameters of your computerized moderation platform.  My first call should have alerted them to an inappropriate censoring and it would have avoided a lot of anger on my part (a member who keeps endlessly defending NPR against the Tea Party hordes and Fox News for censorship, dammit) and it would have gotten information out there that was very crucial to this debate.HSUS is amazing in its ability to infiltrate into any occasion and inflate it into a huge media hoopla if it helps to work toward their ultimate aims.  And it is very clear that HSUS’s aim is to make ALL hunting and fishing illegal which your HSUS rep on this program was extremely adroit in concealing.For what’s it worth, I think that anyone who hunts a predator species that is not individually predating on domestic animals is a testosterone inflated idiot.  I stand by my vote for the ban on mountain lion hunting in CA as long as people are protected from them which is not really the case under current CA law.  (See my previous post about my experience with a young lion looking for new territory.)  We humans have so upset the natural balance by killing off predators and we have much to atone for.Geraldine Clarke

  • ChiefWiggums

    In terms of what kills the most, I propose this ordering from most to least severe:

    1. Military industrial complex.
    2. Junk food vendors
    3. Drunk drivers
    4. Lyme disease
    5. Lions, tigers, and bears

  • Don_quixote72

    Unfortunately for the rest of us, it’s not illegal to be an asshole.  Some folk’ll never eat a skunk but then again some folk’ll like Dan Richards, the slack-jawed yokel

  • Geraldine

    Just wondering why my 3 posts with verified quotes from Fearing’s boss about HSUS’s aims in re. hunting are not being posted even though there is nothing in them that could ever be considered as offensive except for Pacelle’s sentiments themselves which are quoted verbatim. 

    Being a flaming liberal, I have always defended NPR on many, many, many, many occasions for being fair and ALWAYS presenting all sides.  I’m now feeling like a fool because Forum seems to be acting like FoxNews in ignoring facts that they don’t want to live with.  I’ve called the station and asked for an explanation about why the facts I presented were not posted but was told to just resubmit my post (which was also not posted.)  Another call to the station has not been returned.

    I will not give up on this.  “Animal rights” has been defined as a liberal issue but it is not. (Could go on about that at endless lengths if you want.) You are abetting your guest, Fearing, in evading real questions about the HSUS agenda.  Post those quotes and let Fearing try to defend them!

    • wda

      I believe that the Humane Society and Fearing are attempting to use this issue as a political lever to further their agenda regardless of science or the facts.  It’s rather sad, but entirely predictable when huge amounts of money are poured into non-profit causes based upon emotional appeal and Directors are there to propogate myths for the sake of their own pecuniary interest. 

      This is not a principle based entirely with environmental non-profits.  SF has long been known to be the base of non-profit do-goodism for personal profit.  Unfortunately KQED’s Forum is all too susceptible to this type of manipulation.

      As a progressive, I was glad that I was able to enter into the worded debate.  Once I saw the line-up for this show it was all too telling how scewed the debate could become.  Thankfully the editor from WON was an excellent advocate, however I was shocked at how easily Ms. Fearing from the Humane Society fell back upon emotional appeals when trying to make her arguments.

      I do believe that Michael Krasny and the producers did handle the on air issues with more of an even hand than I expected.

      I read your comments regarding the Humane Societies Pacelle’s sentiments regarding his overall agenda and wish to restrict all hunting in California.  I did not believe the comments were rude or inflamatory.  And I’m sorry that Forum decided to censor your comments for what many would view as along political lines.

  • Syed Rizvi

    This man must be fired with disgrace.

  • Paul

    I feel that Ms. Fearing is biased, and sounds like she is not an impartial governmental employee.  I am not a hunter, a registered Democrat, I have a biology degree, and voted for Mr. Newsom.  I find nothing wrong with Mr. Richard’s actions.  I do think that 
    Ms. Fearing should either resign her state post or abstain from the argument.  These knee jerk, unbalanced, arguments just make all the “normal” tax paying citizens leave.  I will be sending my support to my legislator and Lt. Gov. Newsom.

    • wda

      Are you high.

      Fearing does not work for the stae of CA.  She works for the Humane Society, a non-profit organization.

      Plus if you find Richard’s actions as noting wrong, why do you want to support Newsom.

      Iether take more vitamins, or put down the bong.

  • Dangmouse


    • wda

      and if you talk in all caps you will likely get your way.

  • Beth

    We have a problem
    with mountain lions here in the Sierras because of city folks who move here and
    think feeding the deer that come into their yard is so fun. Until a mountain
    lion comes into the yard because they see the deer as a McDonalds fast food

    And yes, we are a hunting family and feel that mountain lions wouldn’t be a
    problem if some folks wouldn’t see deer at cute creatures like hummingbird which
    you put feeders out for. I myself am mostly vegetarian by choice.

    By the way the state Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards, did NOT break
    ANY laws!! Travel to the south where they eat squirrel, and other wild meat
    animals. That’s not illegal there. As long as Dan Richards did not break any
    California law I think he should keep his job.

  • Beth

    We have a problem with mountain lions here in the Sierras because of city folks who move here and think feeding the deer that come into their yard is so fun. Until a mountain lion comes into the yard because they see the deer as a McDonalds fast food place. And yes, we are a hunting family and feel that mountain lions wouldn’t be a problem if some folks wouldn’t see deer at cute creatures like hummingbird which you put feeders out for. I myself am mostly vegetarian by choice.

    By the way the state Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards, did NOT break ANY laws!! Travel to the south where they eat squirrel, and other wild meat animals. That’s not illegal there. As long as Dan Richards did not break any California law I think he should keep his job.

  • ericmills

    Be careful what you wish for.  We could do far worse than Dan Richards (and have).  I’ve been attending commission meetings for 20+ years.  Though I don’t always agree with him, I’ve consistently found Mr. Richards to be thoughtful, honest, fair, articulate and outspoken.  Would that all commissioners shared those traits. 

    Just for the record, I too deplore trophy hunting, esp. of apex predators.  But Richards did nothing illegal, and deserves to keep his job.  This is looking more and more like a witch hunt, much of it politically motivated.

    Want to make a difference?  Here’s how:  The Governor appoints all five commissioners.  Currently there are two openings.  (The terms of Jim Kellogg and Richard Rogers both expired months ago.)  Historically, all commission members have either hunted, or fished, or both.  In the commission’s 130 years, there have been only TWO women members, and ONE minority member.  This should change.  And the commission should be expanded from five to seven or nine members to be more representative of all Californians.

    Me, I’d like to see former commissioners Judd Hanna and Cindy Gustafson re-appointed. Both were forced to resign for political reasons on Governor Schwarzenegger’s watch.  Other possibilities:  former Senators Byron Sher and Sheila Kuehl; former Assemblymember Pedro Nava; retired Superior Court Judge William Newsom, for starters.  You?

    Governor Jerry Brown and all state legislators may be written c/o The State Capitol, Sacramento, CA  95814.

    Eric Mills, coordinator
    Oakland – afa@mcn.org

    • wda

      Even William Newsom, retired appellate justice, former president of the Mountain Lion Preservation Foundation, and father of Gavin Newsome, said Richards was an able and competent person.

      Too bad Newsom Sr. tried to raise the canard argument of whether it would be OK for a CA official to go to New Hampshire and marry a 13 year old girl were it’s legal with parental consent. 

      When asked, in retort, about CA officials entering into gay marriages in New Hampshire despite it being illegal here in CA, all poor old Newsome Sr. could muster was “well I haven’t figured that one out yet.”

    • wda

      Didn’t read your whole post and recommendation of William Newsom III.

      He’s 78, and based upon his performance (he lasted about 3 minutes on live radio with several gaffs) I doubt his ability to be an effective Commissioner.

      Plus, given Gavin’s involvement in this issue wouldn’t that just make this that much more of a political move?

  • Guest1_anon

    Dan Richards must resign immediately.  His recent action of killing of a mountain lion isn’t very different from that of a hypothetical child protective officer traveling to Thailand to pick underage girls.  Just admit that you made a mistake, resign, and move on.  We’ll find some one more qualified.

  • Lisa Soldavini

    This is just wrong, period. Mr. Richards does not deserve the position he is in, he’s proved that by his disgusting action of killing an animal for “sport” He needs to resign.

  • Sharon

    I have read these comments and find that many of them are missing the point.  This IS NOT about hunting, but about a public official using poor judgment.  No, he didn’t  do anything illegal.  But what he did do was to thumb his nose at all the California voters who, on two occasions, voted in protections for mountain lions.  As someone who is appointment by the Governor to the Fish & Game Commission, he should have respect for the laws of the state he works in.  If, once off the Commission, he chooses to do things like this, that is his business.  

  • Joseph Szasz

    I love KQED forum. listen to every show via podcast. Raised in SF now live in Moscow, Idaho about 60 miles northwest of the Flying B. I love wildlife especially photography. Alot of people chiming in don’t know what there talking about. This is a HUGE part of the economy. I would suggest a visit to Idaho before anymore holier than thou speculation.

  • Joseph

    People in Idaho know more about San Francisco than people in San Francisco know about Idaho. When are you planning your next trip to Idaho?

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