Woods and Waters An outdoor blog by John McCoy

Cougar killing might cost official his job

Dan Richards and the cougar that might cost him his job

Imagine losing your job because you took part in a perfectly legal hunt.

That’s might just happen to Dan Richards, president of the California Fish and Game Commission. Richards killed a mountain lion in Idaho, where it’s legal to do so. Animal rights activists in his home state of California — where mountain lion hunting is illegal — went bonkers. They put pressure on Democratic members of the state Assembly, who introduced legislation to oust Richards from his post.

The legislative effort was short-lived, but the San Jose Mercury News reports that  members of the Commission recently voted 4-1 to change the rules by which commission presidents are chosen. Armed with the rule change, they could vote Richards out of his presidential post as early as May 23.

Animal-rights and environmental groups are salivating at the prospect. The Humane Society of the United States and the Sierra Club openly lobbied for Richards’ ouster.

I think the Commission’s vote says more about the people being appointed to the Commission than it does about Richards. For years, in the interest of “diversity,” animal-rights and enviro groups have sought to load up state game commissions with people who represent their points of view. In California, it would appear that the effort has achieved critical mass.

If the attempt to oust Richards succeeds, where will it lead? Will good people fear to run for office because they had (gasp!)  “animal killings” in their past? Would politics become a “hunters need not apply” prospect?

I sure hope not.