California Fish and Game Commissioner Will Not Resign Over Cougar Hunt

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

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Dan Richards broke his silence Tuesday and said he has no plans to step down as president of the California Fish and Game Commission.

Calls for Richards’ ouster were prompted by a photo that circulated on the Internet in which the commissioner was showing off a mountain lion he killed on a legal hunt in Idaho in January.

Assemblyman Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, authored a request for Richards’ resignation and gathered 39 other signatures from the Assembly. On Monday, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, acting with Gov. Jerry Brown out of the state, also called for Richards’ resignation. Animal-rights advocates have protested Richards’ actions as well.

In a letter Tuesday addressed to Hueso and copied to Brown and California Resources Secretary John Laird, Richards said he’s not going to resign.

“There is ZERO chance I would consider resigning my position as President of the California Fish and Game Commission and it is my sincere hope that you and your colleagues reassess your request and instead work positively with our Commission and Department for the betterment of the resources we’re entrusted to maintain,” Richards wrote.

Richards said his “100 percent legal activity outside of California, or anyone else’s for that matter, is none of your business.”

Earlier, Richards said he merely was sharing a photo of a successful cougar hunt, one done legally with a guide, a houndsman and hounds, with Western Outdoor News, a longtime hunting and fishing publication. He sent the photo and a short story of the hunt to the weekly newspaper this month.

“I’m not apologizing about anything because I didn’t do anything illegal,” Richards said during an interview in his commercial real estate office. “I didn’t share it with the world. The Humane Society of the United States shared it with the world. There is zero resign in me.”

Richards added in his letter that he will “continue to hunt and fish wherever I please, as I have always done, ethically, licenses and proudly associating with true conservationists who daily fund, protect, enjoy and enhance our bountiful resources while not trying to limit others enjoyment of same.”

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