I don’t know if any of you have been following this story. I expect since it’s turning out to be pretty embarrassing for California liberals that Fox News is probably all over this one (here).
The gist of it: California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards went on vacation to Idaho and spent $6,800 on an all-inclusive, one-week trip with the goal of shooting and killing a mountain lion. Many call this type of hunting “canned hunting,” because dogs are used and it helps to guarantee success. It’s not considered a pure way of hunting, but it’s legal in Idaho.
So what’s the fuss? Apparently, folks in California feel that this behavior is unbecoming of someone in his position. The furor got a bit frothier recently when he disclosed that he ate the meat of his conquest.
So many questions and thoughts about this…
- The department is called “Fish and Game Commission”. What part of “Game” isn’t being understood here? From my personal accounting, most people employed by departments such as these are also partakers of the activities they guard and promote. And why shouldn’t they be?
- Would folks be upset if he went on a guided fishing trip? No. Since a cougar is a legal game animal in Idaho, why does it matter that it was a mountain lion?
- Would we be upset if he had gone to Africa and shot something there legally?
- Having lived there myself, I can tell you that people in California are schizophrenic about mountain lions. The old people FREAK out when one of their poodles gets eaten by one, going so far as to accuse local authorities of not being vigilant enough. When one is spotted too close to humans, it’s hunted down and shot. And now everyone’s upset that he legally killed a mountain lion in IDAHO?!
- Would they have been happier if he hadn’t eaten the meat? Why is that so upsetting? Kudos to him for not wasting it.
- On that note, why isn’t anyone upset over the 1,200 CAFOs in the state? Why is it okay to confine animals in tight quarters, feed them things they were never meant to eat, and then eat them? I guarantee that cougar meat was one of the healthiest things he’s eaten in his life.
- Why shouldn’t he hold up the carcass as a trophy? If you’ve seen the episode of I, Caveman where Robb Wolf takes down an elk with an atlatl, killing a large animal like this is a serious and reverential experience. And yes, celebration and elation are part of it, as it has been for millennia for humans.
- Are we so far removed from where our food comes from that we have to go after someone for doing something that has been an integral part of our species’ success and survival? We’ve sanitized meat to such an extent that people are okay with buying bloodless, flavorless chicken breasts wrapped in cellophane on a styrofoam plate, but they’re not okay with going directly to the source and reckoning with it face-to-face?
Now it appears that they’re trying to turn this into an ethics violation by saying that he accepted a free mountain lion hunt (he was at the lodge for bird hunting). But this just reeks of political maneuvering.
For the record, I should state that I’m not a fan of hunts like this. I think killing predators like mountain lions, wolves, and bears has little practical function in our modern world. Trophy hunting turns my stomach, but I am a fan of hunting for food. I think it’s something we’re very lucky that we don’t have to worry about anymore because we’ve hired out folks to do the dirty work for us.
The biggest question I have is: How the heckity-heck can an elected official afford a $7000/week vacation?!