In response to an L.A. Times investigation into the California Fish & Game Commission, local groups, like a Safari Club International chapter, have called for greater accountability and transparency.
A blistering report from the L.A. Times found that the California Fish & Game Commission betrayed anglers, hunters, and marksmen in the Golden State. As a result of this report, local hunting groups, including the Orange County chapter of Safari Club International, have lambasted the commission for betraying outdoor enthusiasts in the state.
“The L.A. Times has turned the lights on to reveal a government commission that is totally out of control and operating without any checks and balances,” said Lisa McNamee, past president of Safari Club International’s Orange County chapter, in a press release.
“It calls into question virtually every decision the Fish and Game Commission has made over the last several years…It’s outrageous that commissioners have been handing checks to lobbyists…and voting on matters for which they have a blatant conflict of interest…This is a tremendous disservice to all Californians and an affront to good, clean and responsible government.”
Hunting participation in California currently sits at less than 1 percent as only 272,229 hunting licenses were issued last year. The L.A. Times report also noted 608,455 Californians had hunting licenses 40 years ago. The current population of California totals nearly 40 million people.
This report comes at the height of two resignations from the five-person commission due to group’s entangling with anti-fishing and anti-hunting interests.
“The commission has shifted from a philosophy of conservation to one of preservation, meaning its direction has gone to where fishing and hunting are more and more limited and very difficult,” said Marko Mlikotin, executive director of the California Sportfishing League.
One board member and avid hunter Jim Kellogg resigned from the commission in December.
“I’m not willing to accept the changing world,” Kellogg said. “The animal rights people who don’t favor hunting and fishing have more horsepower than they did before.”
California is largely seen as the best state for the outdoors. However, upon further examination, its policies related to recreational shooting, hunting, and fishing have made it nearly impossible for Californians to enjoy these outdoor activities thanks to opposition from radical environmental groups.
Californians must hold their elected officials accountable and help select pro-sportsmen to serve this commission.