Editorial: DFW Moving Away

Editorial: DFW moving away from hunting, fishing

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Aug 29, 2019

California has long been known as a “liberal” state, and under that type of leadership, what can you expect other than “liberal” state administrators and dictates. Unfortunately, that has had, and still does have, a huge impact on hunters and fishermen in the state.

A glaring example is the fact that the California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) has announced it wants to do away with printed fishing regulations. That is simply an idiotic idea on many fronts, and quite typical of the current director of the DFW, Chuck Bonham.

In the past, the DFW has printed 250,000 copies of the saltwater and freshwater fishing annual regulation booklets at a cost of about $400,000. For 2019-2020, that number was reduced to 162,000, a 35 percent drop, and already tackle store owners are running out of the regulation booklets. The DFW plans on another 35 percent reduction next year, and by 2021 to print only 50,000 or fewer copies.

So, let’s take a look at what the DFW does consider a priority: The 2018 DFW budget was $609,711,000. The largest part of the budget, by far, was for “Biodiversity Conservation,” whatever that is, at $298,810,000. Only $98,666,000 was allocated for Hunting, Fishing and Public Use programs, while publication of the regulation booklets was only $400,000. That seems pretty paltry when you consider that the DFW allocated $8,842,000 towards their “Cannabis Control Fund!”

The DFW figures that everyone who fishes or hunts can download the regulations on a cell phone and access it anywhere, anytime. Sorry, but a lot of hunters and fishermen don’t even carry their cell phone in the field, and there isn’t any reception in plenty of areas around the state. Plus, a lot of folks just don’t feel comfortable filling up their cell phone with downloads.

This short-sighted idea is a bad concept from the get-go, and a lot of senior citizens don’t even have smartphones. And for those who only fish or hunt a few times a year, it won’t be worth the inconvenience and hassle to even buy a license. And, who wants a cell phone going off when you’re hunting deer?

The DFW should do what the majority of states do: Print a much smaller, abbreviated “pocket field guide” with the most basic of the regulations applicable to species and waters or areas. That would suffice for the vast majority of the regulations that hunters and fishermen need to know about in the field, and the cost would be at least 50-percent less with the same amount of booklets printed.

Simple, but apparently beyond the comprehension of the DFW top officials.

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