Open Letter to CA Gov RE Calls for Resignation of Game Commission Pres

California Governor Jerry Brown
California Governor Jerry Brown

NEWTOWN, Conn –-( Dear Governor Brown:

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association representing more than 7,000 member companies in the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, opposes any form of sanction against California Fish and Game Commission President Dan Richards for his involvement in a legal mountain lion hunt in Idaho.

NSSF and its members – manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, shooting ranges and media – take great pride in their longstanding support of wildlife conservation. Industry companies have contributed more than $7 billion to protect America’s wildlife and habitat through the collection of excise taxes on the sale of firearms and ammunition.

NSSF and its members support science-based wildlife management, which is responsible for re-establishing threatened populations of game and non-game species across the country and serves as the model for wildlife management around the world. In addition, NSSF has contributed millions of dollars in support of conservation organizations such as the Wildlife Management Institute, Ducks Unlimited, and National Wild Turkey Federation, to name a few.

As you know, anti-hunting and anti-fishing organizations decry these activities in all their forms, so we are not surprised that such groups have attempted to denigrate Mr. Richards and even call for his resignation even though his participation in the Idaho mountain lion hunt was legal and, we might add, fitting for an active sportsman.

It is not unusual for species to be legally hunted in one state yet have another state limit or totally restrict hunting of the same species. This is the intended result of science-based wildlife management decisions made by professional wildlife biologists, who place restrictions on the hunting of species in different locations, sometimes within a single state’s boundaries. Where legal, hunting is encouraged as a valid and useful wildlife management tool.

In the case of Mr. Richards, he was lawfully participating in a licensed hunting activity in Idaho, which is among a number of states that allow mountain lion hunting. Many activities that are illegal in California are lawful in other states. California residents may lawfully engage in such activities when outside of their state if in a locality where the activities are legal.

In the eyes of the nation’s sportsmen and sportswomen, as well as those who have ever dealt with strident anti-hunting groups, Mr. Richards is an ethical hunter who follows the regulations of both his home state and other states. As such, he has the respect of our industry and, we believe, the majority of the nation’s more than 40 million hunters, shooters and anglers who would be appalled if he received any form of sanction.

Mr. Richards is an avid conservationist who strongly believes in, and practices, the wise use and management of natural resources. During his tenure as a member of the State Fish and Game Commission, he has often spoken out in favor of the scientifically proven principles of good management and regulation of the state’s resources. Furthermore, he has not violated such principles by supporting political solutions to scientific-wildlife management problems.

His appointment to the Commission in 2008 was confirmed by the State Senate, and he has been elected Commission President by his Commission peers. His removal from the Commission for engaging in a lawful activity in another state should not be contemplated.

We encourage those who have a say in this matter not to bend under the current clamor of those philosophically opposed to hunting. There is no valid justification for attacking Mr. Richards, or any other Californian, for engaging in a lawful activity when outside the state just because the activity is not legal in this state.

Lawrence G. Keane

cc: Fish and Game Commission

  • Mr. Daniel Richards, President
  • Mr. Michael Sutton, Vice-President
  • Mr. Jim Kellogg
  • Mr. Richard Rogers
  • Mr. I ack Baylis
  • Mr. Senke Mastrup, Director, Fish and Garne Commission
  • Mr. Charlton Bonham, Director, Department of Fish and Game
  • Ms. Kathryn Lynch, Legislative Advocate

Original letter is found here.

About NSSF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 6,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen’s organizations and publishers. For more information, log on to

National Shooting Sports Foundation

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It's a fine time to remind hunters in the state of California that hunting is prohibited in all CA public parks. With parks closing due to budget shortfalls, it would be a "win-win" to allow rifle hunting and bow hunting in CA state parks.

Larry Olexiewicz

Tell me why any person that contributes 0 dollars to the welfare of wildlife has a say in matters concerning said wildlife or for that matter those who are ingaged in the process of managing wildlife.