February 21, 2012

Mike North: Fish and Game president under fire for Idaho hunt

Facebook is a versatile tool that can be used in a lot of constructive ways, but unfortunately, many use it to put their own stupidity on display.

Over the weekend, I was sent a link on Facebook about the California Fish and Game Commission's newest president, Dan Richards, who has endured a barrage of unwarranted criticism since taking the position.

The condemnation, much of which has been stimulated through Facebook and other websites, isn't because of something he did that was scandalous, illegal or dishonest -- it's because he went hunting in Idaho and killed a mountain lion, which can legally be hunted in Idaho, unlike in California.

Now, inane groups such as the Humane Society are using email campaigns to try to strip Richards of his presidency. Other organizations have been circulating petitions to oust Richards.

On the Humane Society of the United States' Facebook wall, these classy animal rights activists have resorted to name-calling, referring to Richards as a "jerk" and a "bastard." Other comments encourage violence against him.

This is exactly the kind of bullying and scare tactics supporters of the Humane Society resort to while trying to further their agenda -- the abolition of hunting.

The radical organization hides behind images of cute, fuzzy animals to cover up what they're trying to do. Unfortunately, many ignorant folks fall for it.

Just keep in mind what the Humane Society's latest effort is all about -- trying to crucify a man who engaged in a legal sport and did nothing wrong.

Those criticizing Richards' act as if he's single-handedly trying to destroy wildlife -- yet hunting is the best way to support wildlife. Hunters contribute millions of dollars every year to support wildlife through tags, licenses, fund-raisers and banquet dinners.

Hunters can also help control various animal populations and keep nature in balance.

Though the cost of tags, licenses and stamps are constantly going up (President Barack Obama's budget proposal could push the cost of a Federal Duck Stamp up to $25 in 2013), hunters still fork over the cash without "occupying" anything, as some people do when they want money, but are too lazy to apply themselves.

I tried to reach Richards for comment Monday, but was unable to get hold of him. No big deal though -- no one should have to defend his actions when he broke no laws and didn't harm anyone.

Hopefully, this nonsense doesn't deter Richards from future mountain lion hunts, because he bagged one hell of a trophy from his Idaho hunt.

Reporter Mike North can be reached at (209) 385-2453 or mnorth@mercedsunstar.com.

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