Editor's Note: Today, we're giving our feature position to our friend and colleague Bill Karr of Western Outdoor News. Tomorrow, the California Fish and Game Commission will review a letter from the Center for Biological Diversity, questioning -what else- hunting in California. Here's WON's take on what's in store for California hunting enthusiasts.
There's a threat facing California hunters even worse than the Humane Society of the United State (HSUS) currently: The Center for Biological Diversity. And they have fired the initial salvo with a letter to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife last week, questioning the DFW's implementation of elk hunting regulations. The topic will be brought up at the California Fish and Game Commission meeting December 10.
While the Center claims their concerns are that the DFW doesn't have a statewide elk management plan in place and argues against any increase in elk hunting opportunities—and even elimination of elk hunting opportunities—the truth, is the organization is vehemently against hunting and consumptive uses of wildlife.
In addition, this move is taking one more step in the direction of replacing hunting as a wildlife management tool with uncontrolled predators killing California big game animals, not the least of which are wolves, now located in northern California. As wolves increase in numbers and spread throughout the state, they will decimate elk herds, forcing the DFW to eliminate hunting as a control method.
The first steps in this long-term plan from anti-hunting, animal-rights groups was with the unwarranted protection of mountain lions in California. That has been followed by outlawing the use of hounds for hunting bears, which has cut back dramatically on the number of bears being killed each year. Anti-hunting actions to protect coyotes, bobcats and the like are also part of "the plan" to stop hunting in California. Now, with wolf packs soon to become the norm in California, the anti's see their path clearly: As predators wipe out California's big game animals, big game hunting opportunities will dwindle and may disappear.
And don't think for one minute that the anti-lead ammunition battles don't have it in mind that by reducing choices of ammunition, more hunters will leave the field. That already happened when steel shot was required for waterfowl hunting: California lost a huge number of waterfowlers who just didn't want to contend with the less effective, lightweight shot.
Add to all of this a Director of the Fish and Wildlife who places hunters and fishermen at the bottom of his list of priorities, and an outlaw Fish and Game Commission that refuses to even listen to their own scientists and biologists in making decisions, and outdoor folk are in trouble! If we want to keep our hunting and fishing rights here in California, sportsmen and women need to speak up loudly and clearly and in great numbers!
--Bill Karr, Editor
Western Outdoor News, NorCal
California Guns & Hunting