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California Cougar Hunt Controversy 'Ridiculous' In Eyes Of Idaho Hunters

Jessica Robinson


A controversy over a California wildlife official has Idaho hunters shaking their heads. The California Fish and Game commission stripped its president of his title for hunting a cougar in Idaho – which is legal in the Gem State, but not in California.

It all started with a photo that ran in Western Outdoor News. California Fish and Game commission president Dan Richards is smiling at the camera somewhere in the wilds of north-central Idaho and holding up the mountain lion he just shot.

That incited an outcry among wildlife advocates in California. And that’s what led Richards to lose his position as commission president this week.

“Well, I think it’s, I think it’s … ridiculous,” says Joseph Peterson, the general manager of the Flying B Ranch, where Richards bagged the big cat.

Peterson says in Idaho, getting a cougar is not only perfectly legal, to hunters, it’s impressive.

“People here would be congratulatory. Mountain lions are very elusive, they’re hard to see and when you have the opportunity to take one, it’s something really special.”

Peterson says Richards isn’t the first Californian to hunt mountain lions in Idaho. In fact, he says, the walls of the Flying B lodge are lined with several mounted cougars Californians weren’t allowed to take home with them.

The Humane Society of the United States said Richards’ hunting trip was out of sync with the values of California, where voters banned all cougar hunting in 1990.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network