Battle for Hunting/Fishing Continues in California

Jun 28, 2013
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is urging outdoorsmen to continue their fight against AB 711, a measure that would completely ban lead ammunition in California.

On Monday, the measure was voted to the Assembly's Suspense calendar, rather than to the full Senate for a vote. The decision was, according to the NSSF, largely due to the efforts of sportsmen who let the legislators know -in no uncertain terms- they opposed AB711.

It will resurface again on August 29, according to the Senate calendar, but the NSSF is urging sportsmen to continue to send their state Senators a clear message of opposition to the measure.

They've issued a few key talking points to this legislation which was largely sponsored and lobbied into being by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS):

  • There is no sound science supporting the banning of traditional ammunition used by hunters for generations.
  • Don't allow the Humane Society and other anti-hunting groups to ban hunting in California.
  • There is absolutely no wildlife population impact or human health risk because of exposure to traditional ammunition.
  • Hunting is the first step before a complete ban on traditional ammunition for shooting sports and outdoors ranges occurs.

If you're concerned, whether or not you're a California resident, here are two places you can make your concerns known- respectfully, please:

Contact the Governor
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-558-3160
To E-mail comments:
Contact the Department of Fish and Wildlife
Phone: 916-653-7667
Fax: 916-653-7387

Meanwhile, Western Outdoor News' Bill Karr has published a piece that is the result of his having spent months investigating a "DFW Bulletin" authored by that agency's director that ostensible covers mountain lion hunting. As you'll see in this truncated version (we'll give you the link to the full story as well), it's not necessarily a good decision, and certainly could be expanded to cover far more than mountain lion hunting.

New DFW policy all about politics, nothing about wildlife management

A new policy for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife was announced in a "Departmental Bulletin" November 2, 2013, that impacted greatly the way that encounters with mountain lions would be handled. We at Western Outdoor News undertook a months-long effort at analyzing the new policy, and what we found is troubling.

This new policy on depredation permits for mountain lions has nothing to do with wildlife management through known science or actual wild animal control, and everything to do with politics and bowing to the pressures of animal rights organizations and anti-hunting groups.

Some of the changes put forth in this bulletin are as follows:

--Limits Depredation Permit take to one (1) mountain lion. Historical and current mountain lion attacks on livestock and pets, and many human/lion encounters, have been with pairs of lions, or female lions with 2 yearlings learning to hunt. This limitation makes no sense scientifically, but does if the concern is "public image."

--There are references to these procedures also applying "to black bears and coyotes," which are not "specially protected" animals in California. They are totally separate species under totally different control methods, and which should be discussed separately, after any necessary scientific studies and results of population levels, impacts and need have been ascertained.

--The Bulletin references mountain lions as a "focal species in the state's efforts to conserve wildlife and their habitats." Never before has that been in the case with the Department, and in fact, the more mountain lions there are, the fewer deer and other species there are. The Department's responsibilities are to ensure the survival of all species within the state, not pick and choose which species are to have more or less attention.

--The Bulletin calls for "rehabilitation and relocation" of mountain lions, despite the fact that past DFG actions have shown that neither of those work with mountain lions, and they have been specifically not considered over past decades.

--Time and time again, there is an emphasis on "non-lethal" responses to mountain lion reports, sightings and incidents. With that emphasis, responders will be less likely to dispatch the animal for protection of humans, increasing the chances of human/lion encounters.

--Responding officials shall have 48 hours to answer reports of mountain lion depredation. By that time the lion, or in many cases, "lions", could have decimated an entire herd of goats or sheep. There is also very little likelihood the lion will still be in the area after 2 days have gone by.

--A very fine distinction is outlined in the bulletin between "potential threat" or a "public safety" threat. This directive puts human life at jeopardy. The difference between a "Potential" threat or a "Public Safety" threat is determined by what a mountain lion will do, not what a wildlife officer "thinks" it will do. Due to this Bulletin in it's entirety, where "non-lethal" means are a priority, an on-site evaluator may very well determine to not take immediate action, resulting in the mauling or death of a human, or further depredation activities.

This policy, very simply, changes the old, well-established and accepted practices the Department of Fish and Game has followed based on decades of experience, and throws all that knowledge of established facts about mountain lions and their handling out the window, without any new studies or facts to merit any change.

From the very title of the "Departmental Bulletin", the contents reek of anti-hunting agenda items and key words, such as "animal welfare," a key phrase of the antis, and words that can be left up to dozens of different interpretations. But the basis of it hobbles anyone responding to, or wanting to carry out, a depredation permit, allowing a dangerous situation to be prolonged.

Ever since the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nations largest anti-hunting, animal rights group, began donating checks to the then-DFG, those in charge of the DFW have been moving farther and farther away from wildlife management of species for the benefit of those species, and more towards the "feel good" politics that have been pushed by HSUS and other animal-rights groups.

This new policy is only the most recent example, but also the most damaging, and in the long run, probably the most costly for the Department and the State of California, opening them up to tremendous lawsuits due to delays and restrictions on how people can react to mountain lion killings and depredation through the Depredation Permit process.


Editor's Note: Due to space restrictions and the detail of the Bulletin and the Analysis, we would not print the item-by-item Analysis. To read the entire Western Outdoor News "Analysis", please go to: