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Anti-hunting moves noted in California

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Trust California to be among the first to come up with a proposal that would give various local jurisdictions the right to govern recreational hunting. I don’t just mean approving the right to hunt, but also forbidding it. Could be the Left Coast just wants to be ahead of the curve.

Imagine what would happen if such legislation became popular and busy-body local politicians suddenly had the right to govern sport hunting, even fishing. Instead of professional game managers, you might have one rural county disapprove of hunting, another okaying it. It could turn into unruly, unmanageable nonsense that would have dedicated wildlife biologists throwing up their hands in despair. And why aren’t there any bills to ignore the IRS or state revenue departments and have local legislation introduced that would set all income tax rates — with every town and county being different than the next?

Luckily, in the case of the hunter regulation in California, assemblyman Tom Berryhill, Republican-Modesto, intervened. Assembly Bill 815 clarifies that only the California Fish and Game Commission and the state’s Department of Fish and Game could be responsible for regulations of hunting and fishing laws, not local governments that might be operating on emotion rather than what’s right and proper for wildlife populations.

What is so odd is that the California Supreme Court already upheld a segment of the state constitution that prohibited cities and counties from taking wildlife management into their own hands. All the same, some local county governments ignored the state’s highest court and tried to come up with hunting and/or fishing laws of their own.

Bad move. Dumb idea. With the participation of wildlife committees, citizen input and a series of public informational meetings every state must put its faith in the various skilled wildlife agencies that know what’s best for wild game and when to thin some of it out while protecting others.

Sport hunters have no problem with the way things are done now.

A tip of the hat to the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (www.ussportsmen.org) for sounding the original alarm on this.

- Gene Mueller

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