California Facing Self-Imposed Public Lands Funding Crisis

Opinion by Larry Keane

Money Lawsuit Ammunition Cash Lawyers
California Facing Self-Imposed Public Lands Funding Crisis

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Go west, young man. That’s what California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is telling hunters and anglers.

That is, of course, as long as hunters are willing to pay a fee for the privilege to purchase ammunition in the Golden State and pass a state-required background check. There are a couple more minor stipulations.

Hunters can’t bring their own ammunition into the state if they’re traveling there and they can only use expensive non-traditional ammunition.

California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is putting on a full-scale blitz to bring hunters out of the woodwork and back into the woods. The wildlife officials are noticing a crisis.

Hunters and anglers are largely responsible for wildlife conservation funding. On the left coast, though, that funding pool is drying up.

It’s hardly a surprise. For decades, elected officials have scapegoated gun owners and hunters for political advantage. The state has some of the strictest gun control measures in the country. State biologists blamed hunters’ use of traditional ammunition for the plight of the California condor and since banned the use of it throughout the state. They’ve levied increasingly burdensome regulations and squeezed out hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts. Now, the state’s wildlife and public lands are feeling the results.

Self-Inflicted

Roughly five percent of Americans hunt. It’s why the NSSF created the +ONE campaign, to challenge hunters and recreational shooters to pledge to introduce someone new to the woods and shooting ranges. California’s participation, however, hovers around 1 percent.

A quick look at California’s oppressive gun control laws shows why. Along with the background checks for ammunition purchases, the nation’s most popular selling centerfire rifle, the AR-15, is banned in the state. “Precursor” parts used for repairs or upgrades require background checks. Fees to purchase guns in California climbed in 2020 and citizens under 21 face an age-based gun ban, meaning a 19 or 20-year-old hunter can’t buy a semiautomatic rifle. These stifling policies do little to improve public safety, but it sends the message to Californians. Gun owners and hunters aren’t welcome.

It’s no wonder licenses sold to California hunters year decreased approximately 70 percent, from over 750,000 in 1970 down to 225,000 last year. Those licenses fund the state wildlife conservation and management efforts, along with the Pittman-Robertson excise tax paid by firearms and ammunition manufacturers. That fund has contributed more than $12.5 billion since 1937.

Bite the Hand

Compounding the problems, the state raised hunting fees to overcome the loss of hunters. This, along with increased fees to buy firearms and ammunition, is pricing would-be hunters out of the woods and marshes. In fact, studies show that ammunition costs for hunters and recreational shooters in California could jump as high as 284 percent or higher just to meet the state’s strict ammunition regulations. It’s no surprise hunters feel spurned by their state, especially since it was hunters that contributed to wildlife populations growing to their healthiest levels in decades. Even iconic firearms maker Weatherby left its California roots for more friendly Western skies in Wyoming.

Policy Over Public Relations

This was predicted. California took its hunters and recreational shooters for granted. Actually, they did much worse. They marginalized them, instead of venerating them as the true conservationists they are. State regulators and policymakers would be wise to recognize hunters overwhelmingly contribute the vital financial resources that have made California’s public lands some of the most attractive and bountiful in the country.

California’s wildlife and wildlands depend on it.


National Shooting Sports FoundationAbout The National Shooting Sports Foundation

The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 10,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. www.nssf.org

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Small Arms Master Gunner
Small Arms Master Gunner
7 months ago

None of this was “a result of..”. The destruction of hunting in California has been the plan all along. The Condor “study” used in the original lead bullet ban, proved that more birds died from drowning in mud puddles, and electrocution, than have died from lead poisoning from traditional bullet use (this is akin to banning airplanes, because kids on mini-bikes have fallen over). Ban certain highly popular guns, ban the ability to feed guns properly, ban the carry of guns unless heavily permitted, and make the permission financially burdensome. Ban hunting of certain animals, limit seasons on others, restrict… Read more »

Get Out
Get Out
7 months ago

The anti-gun, ammo, hunter group buffoons in charge didn’t think it through again (Or didn’t care) and created this problem when they began banning lead ammo from the start. Now all ammo requires a BGC to purchase and then can’t figure out why there are now monetary shortages that supported wildlife programs. You can bet that the anti-gun or anti-hunters won’t step up to offset their foolish BS.

StWayne
StWayne
8 months ago

Let California reap what they have so desperately sown. Let them own it by refusing to take a bite of the turd sandwich they now offer. Then you vote the sorry SOB’s out of office first chance you get. As it is, people are leaving that state in droves as they head east, young man. Problem is, is that their departure is creating a vacuum that is being quickly filled by illegals heading north that California embraces with open arms in order to fill the void. This has to stop. You stop it by voting Republican in your elections until… Read more »

Wild Bill
Wild Bill
8 months ago
Reply to  StWayne

@StW, What was sown was sown by four very dense population centers. The people in those four areas don’t mind living in a shit hole as long as recreational drugs and free stuff is available from the government. They drag the rest of the normal people in CA, with them, down into debt, disease, and disaster.
The people outside of those dense population areas can not out vote the trash people. If Ca is to be rescued, there has to be another way.

StWayne
StWayne
8 months ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

Hey WB! I have in the past racked my brain with how to turn something like this around, and short of having the horsepower to vote them out, leaves us with but one defining moment to consider: the spark that ignited 1776.

Finnky
Finnky
8 months ago
Reply to  Wild Bill

@WB – Inland areas have proposed divorce several times. Efforts have been expanding, but the problem is that majority of the voters are in the cities and they won’t benefit from the divorce. It’s difficult for the minority rural folks to be heard, much less any of their wishes filled. I feel for them, but not enough to move there and help them.

American Patriot
American Patriot
8 months ago
Reply to  StWayne

The problem with the people leaving Ca. is they are trying to turn their new state into Ca. again bring their liberal values with them!!!

Hankus
Hankus
8 months ago

Nope. Let California burn. Let the bears and cougars run rampant and eat their children.

MS-Steve
MS-Steve
8 months ago
Reply to  Hankus

In fact… perhaps numerous sounders of feral hogs should be trucked to San Francisco to ‘root out’ the weak and stupid.
Who knows – they might even snarf up fecal remnants left on the sidewalks by the lazy, crazy, and drugged out rif-raf to cleanse their palate

pigpen51
pigpen51
8 months ago

My dad died, here in MI, several years back. My son was living in CA at the time. I sent a shotgun and a .22 rifle home with him, when he was visiting, keepsakes from my dad. He told me that if he had gotten them a few months later, he would have had to follow new rules, and gotten background checks for them, before he could take them home.
For a bolt action, old shotgun, and an old semi auto .22 with a tubular magazine. I have never been to CA, and never will.

jack mac
jack mac
8 months ago
Reply to  pigpen51

pigpen: About a half a century ago, I was under 13 in CA. The police of the town told me not to be shooting BB guns in the town limits. They then offered their firing range for me to shoot my .22. That, I did. Not like that now. And people say Texas is like a different country. We should say California is a separate country.

StWayne
StWayne
8 months ago
Reply to  pigpen51

I am originally from Santa Barbara, CA., and completely understand. Once in the military, I left never looked back. Even back then, around 1985 or so, I saw how things were going to the doghouse. When it became more important for California to protect a fish over it’s own citizenship by diverting life-giving water away, even to where they restricted it to just a trickle in some cases, to include timed showers by monitoring your consumption of it, for which they would fine you if you went over, and per gallon, I knew I had made the right move to… Read more »

Jim
Jim
8 months ago

GOOD! Problem is the California liberal losers are moving out and then contaminating other states with their politics. hey are just like COVID 19, easy to catch, hard to treat, and potentially fatal!

jack mac
jack mac
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim

Jim: Many pro-gun heads-of-households leave CA, which is fine. Unfortunately, some have Commie infected family members.

Mac
Mac
8 months ago

CA, VA, WA all that can be said is STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES!

BowserB
BowserB
8 months ago
Reply to  Mac

That cancer has metastasized and has spread more than that. Colorado, Oregon, New Mexico, Maine and most of the northeast, even Montana. There are already California tumors in Texas. Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Harris County, Dallas, El Paso. Soon Texas will have New York’s problem with city rats dictating the state’s laws.

Finnky
Finnky
8 months ago
Reply to  BowserB

@Bowserb – You are right. I live in a northern suburb of Dallas. When we moved in twenty something years ago, realtor told us that the city was built out. While they were exaggerating – it wasn’t by much… Until ten years ago city was growing at a reasonable pace, faster than I liked – but reasonable. At same time sprawl was expanding so that the next two cities north were becoming suburbs instead of country. In the last two cities “growth” has accelerated to point that I’m pretty sure we’ve doubled in population in this “full” city. At the… Read more »

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
8 months ago

Yep, you can’t use lead bullets in commieforinacation. Lead damages the animals that we hunt and that is not good for the environment. Wait till they find out what a copper bullet does to trees; I’m talking chemistry here guys. Commie californiacation is way in the red and they need cash badly. The reason that housing prices are such is so they can tax them. Maybe they should secede from the Union. I don’t want to be stuck having to bail them out like we did for the auto industry and I don’t want their communist ideals anywhere near me… Read more »

Gindy
Gindy
8 months ago

Speaking of secession there are quite a few decent people in northern California and they, along with the folks in southern Oregon, would either like to form their own state or blend into Idaho. This has been a long time movement called the ‘Jefferson State’ and is still alive and well. Unfortunately it’s a huge, nearly impossible, task.

All things considered, I agree with Bill here, and wish these ideologues would just sequester themselves and leave the rest of us alone.