In a surprise move, the California Fish and Game Commission decided to reject proposals to expand trophy hunting of black bears across the state.
During a teleconference Tuesday (April 21) morning, the California Department of Fish and Game recommended that the Commission make no changes to bear hunting regulations.
The agency had previously recommended permitting hunters to kill an unlimited number of bears across California and allowing trophy hunting of bears in San Luis Obispo County for the first time. But Tuesday the Department backpedaled on the proposals and the Commission agreed to take no action.
“While we are pleased the Commission decided against expanding bear hunting in California, we believe the time has come to completely end the blood sport of killing bears for trophies,” said Brian Vincent, Communications Director for Big Wildlife, a wildlife advocacy organization.
Last week, a coalition of more than 40 groups, including Action for Animals, Animal Emancipation of San Luis Obispo County, Big Wildlife, The Humane Society of the United States (http://hsus.org), and Los Padres ForestWatch (http://www.lpfw.org), among many others, had sent a letter to the Commission urging the panel to reject the CDFG bear hunting proposals (see letter at http://www.bigwildlife.org/releases_contents.php?id=48).
In San Luis Obispo County, where growing community opposition to bear hunting had spilled over onto the local newspaper editorial pages, a majority of county supervisors had urged the Commission to vote against CDFG’s planned bear hunt in their area.
Historically, the CDFG has closed bear season after 1,700 bears were reported killed. The agency had proposed lifting this “closure mechanism,” essentially removing any cap on the number of bears who can be killed during hunting season. Wildlife groups had argued that such action was irresponsible since the CDFG had not conducted a thorough analysis to determine the impacts such a “management” change might have on bears across the state.
Big Wildlife had also opposed the agency’s planned bear hunt in San Luis Obispo County. The organization said it would now work to end all bear hunting in California.
“Bears still face growing threats in California and across the globe. Killing these magnificent animals for a bear rug in front of the fireplace is barbaric, uncivilized, and just plain wrong,” said Vincent.
Big Wildlife is a project of the Earth Island Institute: http://www.earthisland.org
I’m amazed and pleased at the Fish and Game Commission’s decision to NOT expand bear hunting in California. Please drop the Commission a note thanking them for it at http://www.fgc.ca.gov/contact/contact.asp
Thanks for caring about black bears. /Gary