In the Crosshairs — CALIFORNIA Edition

SCI – First For Hunters 

In the Crosshairs — CALIFORNIA Edition 

HUNTER ORANGE ALERT

May 30, 2014 

Proposed Ban on ALL mammal hunting contests

Heads to June Commission Meeting

 

FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION UPDATE 

Next Fish and Game Commission Meeting

The next Fish and Game Commission meeting will be held on June 4, 2014 at the

River Lodge Conference Center,

1800 Riverwalk Drive,

Fortuna, CA

The agenda is available on the Commission website.

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 Mammal 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. The Department’s draft will be taken up by the Commission on June 4th (Agenda Item 6). However, it will not be limited to coyotes, but will include ALL predatory mammal hunting contests.  Although this is one of the most controversial items on the Commission agenda, associated documents have yet to be posted.  The Commission states that these documents will be posted (Meeting Documents, Item 6) by the end of the May 30 business day, less than a week before the meeting.  Please keep checking the“posted”link above. Again the Commission’s transparency fails to materialize.

If approved by the commission, the proposed regulations will be published and a public comment period will be opened. If adopted after the comment period, 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 the competitions.

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 Off to a Shaky Start – 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 WRChas 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. The WRC cancelled its meeting scheduled for May 7, 2014, apparently as a result of strong objections raised to the above deficiencies by SCI and others 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 4th Commission meeting. According to the commission, the WRC will be working solely on its proposed operating procedures at its rescheduled meeting. Once these draft proposed procedures have been finalized, they will be submitted to the commission for review and approval. The commission states that the WRC will take up no other business until after the operating procedures have been approved by the full commission.  Draft Proposed Committee Procedures, as revised on March 24, 2014, are posted on the Commission website.

 Gray Wolf  Return to the 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 June meeting.

It should be noted that they spent more time on this item and allowed longer testimony on this issue than any other topic on their last agenda. It was interesting that one of the commissioners left for the day after this item.   The petition and other documents are posted on the Commission website.

Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Ban Implementation – The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will conduct a public workshop on June 3, 2014 in Eureka to discuss the implementation of the lead bullet ban (AB 711).  A CDFW representative will present a proposed implementation plan (the presentation is posted on the CDFW website) and comments will be accepted. This is pending in the Wildlife Resources Committee which has no established operating procedure and has yet to have a legal meeting.

New Commissioner Confirmed by Senate-

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.  We supported her confirmation. Jacqueline Hostler-Carmesin was confirmed on May 15, 2014 by the Senate, 36-0.  

Legislation Would Remove the “Game Status” for Wild Pigs

and Allow Wasting

Wild Pigs – AB 2268 Game mammals: wild pig depredation (as amended May 28, 2014) would reclassify the wild pig as a nongame mammal for taking and processing purposes.  The current wild pig tag would be replaced with a validation on the hunting license. A hunter who kills a wild pig would need a validation only if he or she takes possession of the pig. No validation would be needed to shoot pigs and leave the carcasses in the field to go to waste. Landowners would not need a validation and, by removing the wild pig’s game mammal status, they could leave pig carcasses in the field and kill pigs at any time and in any manner including poisoning. Condor advocates see this bill as a way of providing food for condors as it is anticipated that a great many wild pig carcasses would be left in 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 this form, 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 passed out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee and was re-referred to the Assembly Water, Parks and Wildlife Committee.  It is tentatively scheduled for hearing on June 17, 2014.  SCI has written a letter of opposition to this bill and aggressively pursued this bill being returned to committee for a hearing.  Please check the Committee list and, if you live in one of the committee members’ districts, contact that assemblymember and express your strong opposition to AB 2268 in its current form.

At the April 16th meeting of the Fish and Game Commission the Tejon Ranch discussed feeding the condors with pig carcasses as an objective. As a note, Tejon Ranch has not supported hunters on the lead issue and supported a lead ban early on. A couple of commissioners suggested that this be part of the WRC portfolio for review. 

$$ Follow the Money $$ – The Wildlife Conservation Board recently awarded a $1.7 million grant to the National Audubon Society for a collaborative project with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Students and Teachers Restoring a Watershed for a project to restore acreage of the Sonoma Creek Marsh on San Pablo Bay in Sonoma County.  As President of the Fish and Game Commission, Michael Sutton is a member of the Wildlife Conservation Board. He is also  Vice President of Pacific Flyway with Audubon California.

The Wildlife Conservation Board has been working on its Strategic Plan.  TheFinal Draftis available on its website (document link at June 2 meeting) and will be discussed at a final Strategic Plan Workshop on June 2, 2014.  The Board expects that the plan will be adopted at this Workshop and will go into effect immediately.

IMPORTANT DATES TO CALENDAR – 2014

June 3                 Department of Fish and Wildlife Public Workshop on Lead Bullet Band                             Implementation, Eureka, 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

 

Kathryn Lynch will attend the upcoming lead workshop and Commission meeting.

 

Prepared by Kathryn Lynch

            Lynch & Associates

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