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Paul Lebowitz – IT'S JUST FISHING

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Friday, February 3, 2012
Kayak fishing comes of age

Muck and Grime
Good News Precedes Ugly Commission Dust-Up

Feb. 2 was a rare day. As the Fish and Game Commission got down to business in Sacramento in front of a packed house of determined anglers come to defend the Delta’s striped bass from the ill intentions of the water barons, the word quickly spread. The court battle against the privately funded Marine Life Protection Act goes on.

The legal decision that most certainly irritated two of the commissioners in attendance (more on them later—stick around) was handed down by the California Court of Appeals, which summarily denied a motion to dismiss the Coastside Fishing Club’s case arguing the MLPA was illegally created. That case, an appeal of San Diego Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager’s October decision in favor of the state in the first setback of a combined legal challenge lead by member organizations of the Partnership for Sustainable Oceans, is expected to be heard in late 2012.

As the PSO points out in a release, a favorable outcome for Coastside in Northern California would likely influence the resolution of a similar case brought by co-plaintiffs United Anglers of Southern California and Robert C. Fletcher in Southern California.

"This is definitely a win for us since the Attorney General’s Office, representing the Commission, has repeatedly tried to block our appeal," Fletcher told journalist Dan Bacher. The PSO is collecting funds for the legal challenge at www.SaveCAFishing.org.

Tasty! But that was just the warm-up to a rare slate of good news and a spate of juicy commission infighting. At first, angler-friendly 4-0 commission votes followed one after the other. One set an end date for the Sonoma County emergency abalone closure. It will fade away in time for the 2012 opener. Another abolished the two-fish greenling limit. Greenling will be rolled into the 10-fish composite rockcod limit, thanks to a reevaluation of the stock assessment.

Best of all, outgoing commission president Jim Kellogg found the striped bass ‘not guilty’ of pushing salmon to the brink of extermination. Figuring more than 130 years in state was enough to establish residency, he naturalized the immigrant fish, then cast the first vote of a unanimous four to turn back drastic striper limits designed to virtually wipe them out. This round of battle between Big Water and Fish goes to Fish.

It wasn’t until ecstatic striper anglers and Delta tackle shop owners filed out of the room that the figurative knives came out. By tradition — and the commission’s explicit rules — the commission presidency passes to the senior member. In this case, Dan W. Richards, a true sportsman who tells it like he sees it.

Famously, Richards once called Arnold Schwarzenegger “a forked-tongue devil” for the then-governor’s blatant manipulation of the commission to ramrod the “corrupt” MLPA to passage. How history repeats itself. Someone highly placed in state government or deeply entrenched in the anti-sportsman environmental community must fear what Richards might accomplish. What happened next was extraordinary — and revealing.   

Commissioner Michael Sutton, known for his MLPA zeal, sought to monkey wrench Richards’ presidency. Seemingly making it up as he went along, Sutton, backed by commissioner Jack Baylis, pushed to nigh-immediately change policies. Policies that commission executive director Sonke Mastrup recited word for word, that are in place explicitly to prevent outside influence from seizing control of the board.

Kellogg called a vote. It was Kellogg and Richards in favor of Richards’ presidency. Sutton and Baylis abstained — yet continued arguing that Richards’ election was invalid. The debate reached a farcical low when it was suggested that Richard B. Rogers (not present at the meeting), the sitting vice president whose term expired more than a year ago, should assume the office. Richards was a picture of calm professionalism throughout.

Slowly, the realization dawned that Richards had, in fact, been elected 2-0. Had Sutton and Baylis outmaneuvered themselves? Mercifully, they did not vote no, or the commission might still be in session. The muck and grime of fishing and hunting politics had been on display for all to see. Little wonder some fear him; Richards isn’t afraid of a little dirt.

3 yrs 110 lb cab

NEW COMMISSION PRESIDENT CELEBRATES A SUCCESSFUL HUNT – 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.” COURTESY PHOTO

Reader Comments
Best article I have seen in a long time, very revealing of the political mess that has become of the Fish and Game Commission in Scramento JRiordan
John Riordan
And the rest of us are glad it is illegal in California. This guy is an asshole. Can't believe he is actually paid to work for the state.
The people of California need to know about this...and I will make sure that they do... Dr. Raven
Dr. Raven
Your joy in killing such a beautiful animal is utterly sad. I respect hunters that kill for the food, not the trophy. Too bad we can't cull the human herd. Your grin would make an AWESOME trophy.
sadden by your joy
Can I kill the human? What a dipshit.
Martha Stewart
Congrats, many people are unaware that true hunters and fishermen are better custodians of the wild than good-intentioned academics who know nothing about it, other than "Bambi" that is.
Charles B
I cannot see very well the greatest bastard (inside and outside) behind the poor cougar!
This Red Neck should be killed on site!!!! What a guy, what a stupid act, wish he had frozen to death in the frezing cold in Idaho. And blast the Flying B Ranch.
what are you so smugged killer! you disgust me
It always frightens me so when people appear so ecstatic about killing another living being. He looks so happy and pleased with himself; that's terrifying.
What an asswhole you are and I hope you're gonna suffer as much as this poor magnificent animal did!!!!!!! Hope you die in misery Annie barbier-Hoffmann
The face of ignorance, such base indulgence, it is grotesque.
Anna Fiona
Do you really want to know what I think about the so-called man posing with a dead mountain lion in this article’s accompanying picture? People like him are literally a disgrace to the human species - much less that he could actually be elected as a California Fish and Game commissioner. Really - how anyone could have any respect for an individual such as Richards who is evidently very proud of his cowardly deed - is beyond belief. But then when one looks at the present state of the world - I guess we should not be too surprised - - -
Gene Sengstake
You are a coward and an a**hole. I hope when you die it is cruel long and horribly painful. How dare you kill one of God's creatures with a gun- such a cowardly way to hunt. Would like to see you out there with any big cats chasing you and ripping you to shreds.
Kathy Dab
I do not understand the satisfaction in this. This man was not being threatened by a mountain lion. Why did he have to take it's life? What a beautiful, majestic creature. The majesty of this creature dwarfs the small minded selfishness of this oafish man. Once the lion was in his sights he did not have to even pull the trigger. I guess he wanted to "brag" about it. This just breaks my heart.
I like to hunt and kill you.
Murderer...plain and simple and sick... CA Fish & Game Official, huh? Somebody screwed up.
Why would you want to kill such a beautiful animal?
John A
what a truly disgusting photo. what kind of a person goes out of their to stalk and kill an animal like that for fun. please seek counseling and for heavens sake get him off the commission. and the writer of this blog seems to like all this. seek couseling please both if you.
How can I tell Richards how much I despise him?
Elizabeth Johnston
What a pathetic human being! I wish all hunters and poachers were extinct - starting with this jerk!
Margareta Car
Richards is a Jerk! I am sad and angry! I would put a petition on this site to send to Gov. Brown if I knew how. Please I will be first in line to sign it. This man needs to be removed from the position he has with the state. Give the job to someone who really cares about the environment and not some land grabbing scum bag developer who has just destroyed one of Gods most beautiful creatures. He is only there because he has infiltrated the system for personal gain and influence. Conflict of interest! Too many politicians are in the system for their own personal agenda, rather than serving the people. Does anyone know how to shut down these big game ranches that exploit natures greatest creations? Shame on Idaho. Texas and Calif has several as well. Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/ca-fish-game-official-shoots-mountain-lion.html#ixzz1ml6o6il6
WHY? WHY kill a precious wild animal for no reason other than a total lack of a brain in that rifle-toting moron's head? Was this cat going to pounce on the "BigDumbGunLover" and eat him up? (we can only wish the cat had won *this* one-sided fight!!) That magnificent predator was undoubtedly minding his own business when that poor excuse for a human being & his rifle came along and killed the beautiful creature.....for no logical reason, I'll bet. Lorraine O'Connor
Lorraine O'Connor
.. It's outrageous , senseless , meaningless , unnacetable , unthinkable to see "an insanity" like that . As California Fish & Game commissioner , he's gone over the line , giving a "bad/ridiculous/insane/killer" example for our society and mainly for our children .... He's becoming a shame for this country and the rest of the World .
Once again for political reasons we have put the fox in charge of guarding the hen house. We are not Californians we are Hypocracians.
Pat Luiz
This is disgusting! I love how proud he looks that he killed a Mountain Lion as a trophy. His life long goal in life was to kill a cat. Nice work idiot! Real proud! I'm sure your whole family is really proud that you took the time out of your life to go kill an animal for sport.
J. Thoma
Bastard! would love to see you face off with a mountain lion or wolf without you your gun or knife you ballezz bastard. You killed a beautiful animal...WHY? Karma. Who knows someone might mistake YOU for a CAT or Varmint and shoot you. Hopefully.
Shame on you, Mr Dan Richards! So brave: fire gun against nature. Shame on you!
Raul Alva
This photo is extremely disturbing and it has gone viral on the web among the very people in California that vote to protect mountain lions. Dan Richards, you have hurt many California voters and Fish and Game stakeholders. People devote their lives to rescuing and protecting these sacred animals, and you say - you're glad its legal in Idaho. May you see and feel how deeply the wound you shot this animal with truly goes
The Fish and Game Commission is a good example of the rich and powerful maanipulating the laws to their own ends. This is the grotesque side of capitalism, it's obscene. As for the monster who shot the mountain lion in Idaho, well he's a Neanderthal with no soul or redeeming features. I think the best thing that could happen to him is to be stalked for 8 or 10 hours in harsh conditions and then shot at by hunters then his body photographed for all to see. He's sub-human totally corrupt and repulsive.
Stewart Hughes
Thats the problem with America today, all the know nothing tree huggers who have some stupid opinion about something they dont know anything about. I say if it was done legal then whats the problem. Good job to MR. Richards, and to hell with what all the tree huggers have to say.
Good Job!!! Freaking awesome, I need a hunt myself!
The author is more than just a little "biased" and/or should have done more homework. One example: By belonging to organizations that promote recreational killing (but who use deflecting names, "Society for Conservation of Bighorn Sheet" [NOT]; Ducks Unlimited [for killing]; etc.), Richards and others who hide behind these organizations are NOT true conservationists. As evidence, they and a few others on the CA FG Commission want to do away with predators so that they can have more game to kill. That is not true "conservation"; rather it's self-serving annihilation and a refusal to allow nature to do its own balancing.
I would have enjoyed the picture better if the cat had got Richard's and the cat was feeding, now what?, you've killed a large beutiful wild cat with a rifle, stuff it and brag to your sick friends, what a sick world this is, I guess this hunt will help Richard's penis envy?
What can you expect with America. If it's wild, shoot it. If it moves, shoot it. If it disagrees, shoot it. If it differs, shoot it. If it's harmless, shoot it. If it's not American shoot it. If it's outside America shoot it. Their dicks are tiny, their brains are in their dicks, hence gun law. A gun is their dick substitute.
Beverly Taff
I am so sad to know that people hunt such beautiful creatures for fun...there are things in this world I will never understand.
Okay morons this is to the hippies, humane society and the wonderful domestic liberal terrorist that are destroyingcalifornia this is for you!! HE SITS ON THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME. WHICH MEANS HE PROBABLY ENJOYS HUNTING ANDTHE OUTDOORS. So here's something from a dumb country boy. Mountain lions are legal to hunt in other states under restrictions and amount of tags are limited. What does this mean to those of you who don't get it. Its called CONSERVATION OR BALANCE. Something you don't understand due to the diminishing amount of healthy deer and other species in California due to the rule that we can't hunt them. For those of you animal rights lovers HUNTERS AND FISHERMAN PAY MORE MONEY A YEAR TO PRESERVE OUR RIGHTS AS HUNTERS AND FOR CONSERVATION THAN TEN ANTI HUNTING GROUPS TOTAL. QUIT ATTACKING US AND TURN YOUR WORTHLESS IDEAS AND MONEY TO HIRING BACK POLICE OFFICERS,FIRE FIGHTERS AND TEACHERS. IF NOT MOVE TO MEXICO OR NORTH KOREA AND LIVE WITH LIKE MINDED PEOPLE
Disgusting. You must be so proud.
Too disgusted for words.
Gina Tomaselli
what's the big deal he didn't kill it california
I seriously cannot believe anyone would hunt and kill such a gorgeous animal. What a PRICK!
Great Photo. Dan Richards doing nothing wrong! This is legal in Idaho!
get real
What a big fat creep! He needs to be taken down himself. He's not protecting wildlife, in particular the big cats. We need to impeach or do whatever is necessary to remove this bigot from his position as president of the California Fish and Game Commission. Legal or not in Idaho, not in good taste at all and not on the big cats side here in California.
Erin Kayser
Good for him, he didn't break any laws and they should be managed in CA too!
Frank Sanders
Took real skill to shoot him out of the tree. Are you planning to eat the meat, use the skin for clothing, make utensils with the bones??? It's disgusting that you are the California Fish and Game Commissioner! Shame. Shame on you!
I don't get what is to be proud of paying 8 thousand dollars in a canned hunt to kill an animal that will not provide food. What an utter and complete ignorant fool this guy is. And we wonder why deer are in great numbers in certain areas — because Americans kill all predators in this country. And to pose with the dead body? No animal can win against a gun so it there really is no skill aside from sitting on your ass and waiting for an animal to walk by and then shooting the animal. It does not make you tough, strong or intelligent. He should be fired.
Personally, when I see a picture like this the first thought that comes to mind is that a couple of minutes earlier was living. I used to be a hunter, what stopped me was that same realization about other animals. I asked myself, did I get more out of killing this animal than the old adage of live and let live when it is not really necessary to kill?
David Verch
It is really sad to see all of the mess and BS cropping up from the enviros calling for his reignation. He comitted a legal act...oh the horror! If the Cheif of Police goes to another state with a higher speed limit and obeys that speed limit mean he is not fit to do his job? I think NOT!! When are the sportsmen going to get a say and some protection of OUR rights as Americans?!
Dave Morgan
I don't mind hunting, but seriously why do people need to hunt big cats that they are NOT GOING TO EAT??? Wow, what a challenge to shoot an animal with a rifle...the hard part was the hiking, easy to point and just pull the trigger. What an idiot.
All these comments from the people of the state that brought us Charles Manson And the Sierra Club. Cougar is very tasty eating. Congratulations to the hunter. He just saved an untold number of deer and Elk.
All you Hippies need to STFU. I hope all of you dont eat meat or fish. Totally legal hunt. People do it all the time. BTW you can eat the meat, its really good accually.
Anyone who recognizes Arnold Schwarzenegger for the GreenBS he pulled on California hunters is OK in my book.
All my goodness...I am so up rate over these dumb--- people ...what makes you any better than him or me ... you have your right to do what you like to do and he and I have our right to do what we do ... KILL ANIMALS AND EAT THEM .... YES PEOPLE DO EAT MT.LION. IT IS DAMN GOOD ... He broke no laws as a hunter and you are cutting him down because he hunts ,, No he is just not here to serve you ...he is here to serve ALL... So you need to shut the heck up and quit thinking these officials are here just to make you happy ...They are not ... You animal whack jobs think you are the only ones who can talk... well I am here to tell ya different ... Stop hunting ... see what ya get ... a bunch of poachers who could give a rats butt about you or me or anyone else ...just kill everything and no one needs to worry about it...its time you freaks pull your head out of your butts and get some brains ... how was that chicken you ate last night ,, do you know his head was chopped off before you ate it ...what is your defense now ????? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!
It will have to do until they make hunting tree hugger legal!!! What he did was 100% legal.
He did the right thing, I wish I could have had that opputunty. Those cats are everywhere, In california where I live they are taking over. People every year are killed by them. They are wonderful wild animals.It takes skill to stalk and kill one . I wish I could do it here. What a lucky guy! He had the balls to do it and not try to be PC like the rest of the spinless politians it this state of ca. Good for him!
Cougar Eater
I see nothing wrong the LEGAL take of an animal!! It it not an endangered species or is in danger of becoming endangered. For all those who wear shoes made with leather or eat meat, do you stop to shed a tear for the animal that gave it's life? Do you shed a tear for the animals that have breathe in air contaminated with emissions from the vehicle you drive to work? Do you shed a tear for the land an animal loses to mine for the metals that go into making computer you typed on to make these inflammatory comments? Get a grip people, don't point fingers or throw stones unless you're not guilty yourself!! Congrats Dan, that is awesome animal you legally bagged, enjoy!!
Mike Ingao
I hope you fucking die soon. Only I hope it's not from a bullet to the head. That's too fucking easy. I hope that someone kidnaps you, ties you up, and spends days upon endless days torturing the fucking shit out of you. You are human excrement and a complete waste of space. I would support canned hunts if they ONLY included fucks like you and all of your sick fuck hunting buddies, in which we blindfold all of you, send you out into a fenced-off enclosure, and then have everyone go after you with cross bows and knives. Shooting you would be too fucking easy. And then we just all sit around, laugh, drink a few beers and make bets on how long we all think it will take for each one of you fuckers to bleed to death in agony. GOOD TIMES---YEEHA!!!! That will totally make my day. :D I can't wait for them fire your fucking ass from your position, you fucking piece of shit. Whatever the case, I hope you meet a grizzly death soon. If there's any justice, some big cat will come up and eat YOUR fucking ass one day.
Great cat! Hope you had a great vacation!! I say book again for next year just to shut up these big babies!!!
You are a poor excuse of being an 'evolved' species. Grinning from ear to ear for having ended this beautiful animal's life--horrific picture. You are a despicable human being and I hope that you lose your job--you don't deserve it, and the people of California deserve better than what you are!
Norma Wheeler
The wrong was animal was killed.
I'm originally from Idaho and I think most of the comments are too reactionary. Hunting is on the decline but especially in California. People still hunt for food in Idaho. A wildlife balance is important. Having said that, this big cat was in the middle of nowhere and Richards obviously wasn't competing with it in the food chain. It was a trophy animal, pure and simple. It was a beautiful animal and anyone who truly loves nature could not kill such a creature without good reason and smile.
So...what I am reading here is that all of you that have posted negative comments are all vegatarians....No? Ok then you are a bunch of hypocritical a**holes, that's right, all those steaks that you all so easily BBQ and seem to enjoy were animals as well, the only difference is that the animals that are hunted and killed in the wild had a chance. I don't see anyone wishing horrible deaths to all those cattle ranchers that sell their beef to be sold in stores for those of you that hide behind your "morals" and feel like you have to belittle a way of life that has been passed down through generations. The people that make me sick are those of you that condem people that hunt. So, the next time you eat a burger, BBQ a steak, have bacon or ham and eggs look at yourself in the mirror and realize the hypocrocy of your words.
Mike Colton
Nice Kitty... You ignorant left wing idiots can't spell conservation. Don't be surprised when a cougar snatches your dog, cat or child. Then who will you defend?
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