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Fish & Game needs help

By Gary Bogue
Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 8:05 am in Fish and Game.

My friend Eric Mills, coordinator of Action For Animals in Oakland, sent me a copy of the following letter from recently railroaded Fish & Game Commissioner Judd Hanna to California Assemblyman Pedro Nava (D-Santa Barbara & Ventura counties). I think this letter is worth a careful read. It makes some interesting points.

(AB 821 is the bill that bans the use of lead ammo in the endangered California condor range.)

Hanna’s letter:

18 October, 2007
Assemblymember Pedro Nava
State Capitol
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 93030

RE: AB 821

Dear Assemblymember Nava:
I congratulate you and applaud your perseverance in navigating AB 821 through the shoals of ignorance and the reefs of paranoia. You have done the citizens of California a service for which our grandchildren will thank you. I applaud the Governor, as well, for his support.

If the hunting community had only opened their eyes to the irrefutable science of lead poisoning, had supported a lead ban and led the fight, every editorial and op-ed in the State would have, in turn, supported the hunter who claims to be the original “conservationist.”

Instead, a recent study done in California on the public’s perception of the hunter said: 74% of respondents believed that when game laws were broken, they are broken intentionally; hunters drink too much and hunters engage in unsafe activities. That might have something to do with the decline of the hunting community’s numbers (all 292,750 of us in California). And the dogma of the NRA is no friend of the hunter. Every member of my family has a lifetime hunting license and my grandchildren will know who to look to when the non-hunters of this state rise up and say “enough — hunters have no ethics — let’s just stop all hunting and be done with it.”

As the hunting and fishing segment of the state’s population dwindles and license revenues plummet along with the Department’s budget, one solution over which you might have some influence is to support the DFG’s funding, to a larger extent, by the General Fund. The Department should be given a more realistic budget to manage our State’s wildlife and habitat, including a real incentive to attract Game Wardens to the profession by giving them a living wage. Without Wardens, we will soon have little wildlife to enjoy as a hunter, fisherman, bird watcher, wildlife enthusiast or conservationist.

Many thanks for all you have done. Keep up the good fight.

Respectfully,

R. Judd Hanna
Circle S Ranch, Mill Creek, CA

We definitely need to support more funding for the DFG in the strongest way possible. A large part of the Department’s budget comes from hunting and fishing license fees — so the DFG’s budget has dropped, along with the decline of those who hunt and fish.

As Hanna says in his letter, the Department needs to receive more money annually from the state’s General Fund. They need to be able to pay game wardens a living wage. Statewide, only approximately 192 of 352 warden positions are filled. They need to fill them all ASAP!

Back in the 1970s when I was Curator of the Lindsay Wildlife Museum, the number of game wardens in Contra Costa County included: a patrol captain, a lieutenant and five or six wardens. Today, there are only two wardens to cover the entire county. It’s the same way all over the state.

Without wardens, who will protect our wildlife? /Gary

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