Wednesday, February 22, 2012
WON STORY GOES VIRAL, IGNITES A FIRE UNDER ANTI-HUNTERS
|Humane Society, other preservationist organizations gunning for Fish and Game Commission president Dan W. Richards
The photo of a smiling California Fish and Game Commissioner Dan Richards hefting a mountain lion as he celebrates a lifelong goal didn't take long to go viral among the animal rights and anti-hunting movements in the days following its publication at WON. It's blown up into a national story.
Richards had just successfully deflected a clumsy attempt to block him from assuming the commission presidency - the independent thinker already had highly placed political forces hot on his trail. The mainstream press took no notice of the drama on the commission until they scented the mountain lion story. The San Jose Mercury News was one of the first to lash out with a highly critical story.
Hunting mountain lions is perfectly legal Idaho, but that distinction is lost on a lot of people who should know better, including assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, who called Richards "a disgrace to his position and to responsible hunters in California. Huffman threatened to take action to pull Richards from his position, a move apparently still under consideration.
It's no surprise that Wayne Pacelle and Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society of the United States started snarling - the organization opposes all hunting.
It also brought people such as this poster out of the woodwork across the animal rights movement. "Too bad we can't cull the human herd. Your grin would make an AWESOME trophy," one wrote. Many of the comments on the WON blog that started the fire are too nasty to print.
Animal rights activists appear to be organizing a protest for the next commission hearing, scheduled for March 7 at the Mission Inn in Riverside. Said one sportsman familiar with the issue. "Richards has our back. We need to have his."
Watch WON for on-going coverage.
Here's the photo and caption that sparked the fire:
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