California Hunter Alert – Fish and Wildlife Commission Update!
The next Fish and Game Commission meeting will be held on June 4, 2014 at the
River Lodge Conference Center,
1800 Riverwalk Drive,
The agenda is not yet available.
Hunters are urged to attend in mass all commission and committee meetings to preserve traditional hunting in California. To show solidarity we ask you to wear “hunter orange” for every meeting.
Proposed Ban on Coyote Hunting Competitions – In response to objections raised by HSUS, Project Coyote, and other animal rights advocates, the Fish and Game Commission on April 16th pandered to the animal rights activists and directed the Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop proposed regulations to ban coyote hunting competitions. Once the department has drafted regulations and sent them to the commission, the proposed regulations will be published and a public comment period will be opened. Upon closure of the public comment period, the commission will vote on whether to adopt them. If adopted, the passage of enabling state legislation will be necessary to give the commission the authority it needs for taking such action. There is a placeholder bill, AB 2210 (Williams) Nongame mammals: depredators, awaiting the commission action to implement what HSUS hopes would be a ban on competitions. (Please note that Assemblymember Williams’ contact information is available by clicking on his name above if you want to let him know of your concerns about AB 2210.) To date, the commission has not received the proposed regulations from the department. It is anticipated that this will occur prior to their June 4th meeting. I will send this out in an alert when it’s available.
SCI is preparing regulatory comments as well as investigating the legal issues relating to the proposed predator management policy that brought this item to the Commission agenda. SCI filed a Public Records Act Request (PRAR) to learn how this proposal was elevated at this first committee and how an HSUS lobbyist was at the helm of the conversation.
Fish and Game Commission Wildlife Resources Committee – It is anticipated that the Wildlife Resources Committee (WRC) of the Fish and Game Commission will, among other things, be addressing the state predator management policy, implementation of the lead ammunition ban, and possibly wild pigs. Currently, HSUS and other anti-hunting groups have attempted to dominate the WRC. Commissioners Jim Kellogg and Rick Baylis are co-chairs of this committee.
The committee has no Rules of Order and Procedures, no standards for ethics, and no provisions for public visibility and participation. It has already had a meeting in violation of state law because it constituted an illegal meeting of the commission that was not noticed as such. The WRC cancelled its meeting scheduled for May 7, 2014, apparently as a result of strong objections raised to the above deficiencies via verbal objections at commission meetings including by SCI through both legal and SCI PRAR. It is not scheduled to meet again until September 17, 2014.The rescheduling of the cancelled meeting will be discussed at the June 4 Commission meeting. Presumably, in the meantime, the commission will be working on resolving the above discrepancies in the WRC membership and operating procedures. Draft Proposed Committee Procedures, as revised on March 24, 2014, are posted on the Commission website. Apparently they are working with the Attorney General’s office on these procedures.
Update on WRC Procedures – Adoption of draft policy and procedures for Wildlife Resources and Marine Resources Committees – This was delayed until the next Commission meeting on June 4, 2014. The draft proposed rules, posted on the Commission website, will be open for public comment at the meeting but there will not be a separate public comment period ahead of time as there is with proposed Title 14 (Fish and Game) regulations.
This was the driving force for SCI’s public records act request. This request is still pending and SCI is pressing for the documents which have been slow to arrive.
At the April 16th Fish and Game Commission Meeting, SCI lobbyist Kathy Lynch and the NRA lobbyist raised legal objections to their process and committee operations. Ms. Lynch used this opportunity to again raise ethics concerns regarding Commissioner Sutton’s conflict of interest and requested that the draft proposed committee procedures include conflict of interest procedures and code of conduct.
Absent Gray Wolf Dominates Commission Agenda – The Decision of whether or not to list gray wolf as a threatened/endangered species (Fish and Game Code Sections 2075 and 2075.5), was an agenda item at the April 16th Commission meeting – Currently, there are no Gray Wolves in California, but the department thinks it is worthwhile for the commission to consider listing them as a threatened or endangered species as the range of the wolves in other states is expanding and there is a good likelihood that a breeding population could be established in the state at some future time. This item was discussed and tabled until the commission’s July meeting.)
New Commissioner Heads to Final Senate Confirmation
Jacque Hostler-Carmesin – Ms. Hostler-Carmesin was appointed on June 4, 2013 and her term expires on January 15, 2019. She passed her confirmation hearing on April 30, 2014 in the Senate Rules Committee by a 4-0 vote. Kathy Lynch testified for her during the Senate Rules Committee hearing and met with her recently to discuss her thoughts on resource management, science-based decision making, stakeholder engagement, and code of conduct issues. Her nomination now goes to the Senate Floor where she must be confirmed by June 4, 2014. We support her confirmation and we will keep you posted on her status.
“Oink” in Both the Legislature and the Commission
Wild Pigs – AB 2268 (Bigelow) Department of Fish and Wildlife: Wild Pigs has been introduced as a placeholder bill for wild pig management that currently is styled as a study of wild pig populations. There has been a draft proposal circulating underground with various stakeholders that would decimate wild pig populations in California and likely result in a large-scale decline of wild pig hunting opportunities. It would remove the wild pig’s game mammal status from law, thus enabling agriculture and others who consider the wild pig a pest to kill them at any time and in any manner, including poisoning. There would be no requirement to utilize the carcasses or to remove them from the field. It appears that the long term goal of the supporters of this proposal is to eradicate the wild pig from California altogether.
If this bill passes in the form that its supporters intend, it could set a precedent for large scale, unregulated destruction of other wildlife that damages property, such as wild turkeys that damage wine grape vineyards.
The bill is currently pending in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Stakeholders, including SCI, have been invited to participate in upcoming meetings with all interested parties.
At the April 16 meeting of the Fish and Game Commission the Tehon Ranch got up under public comment and proposed management of the wild pig and discussed feeding the condors with pig carcasses as an objective. As a note, Tehon Ranch has not supported hunters on the lead issue and supported a lead ban early on. A couple of commissioners suggested this be part of the WRC portfolio for review.
IMPORTANT DATES TO CALENDAR – 2014
May 7 CANCELLED – Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, San Francisco, CA
June 4 Fish and Game Commission Meeting, Fortuna, CA
August 6 Fish and Game Commission Meeting, San Diego, CA
September 17 Wildlife Resources Committee Meeting, Sacramento, CA
October 8 Fish and Game Commission Meeting, Mount Shasta, CA
October 9 Joint Meeting with Oregon Fish and Wildlife, Central Point, OR
December 3 Fish and Game Commission Meeting, Los Angeles, CA