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Secretary of Natural Resources gives support to anti-hunting organization


John Laird, the secretary of Natural Resources for California, was a host and presenter during a high-dollar Project Coyote fundraising event in Pebble Beach on Saturday (Nov. 14).

Two simple facts: First, Laird is effectively in charge of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, which recommends hunting seasons and regulations based on its scientific data collection and analysis. Second, Project Coyote is vehemently anti-hunting and frequently lobbies against the DFW’s recommendations and the science that supports these recommendations, based solely on their emotional anti-hunting bias.

So in summary, Laird was helping an anti-hunting group raise money to fight an agency under his direction that sets hunting seasons.

Is this a huge conflict of interest?

Dan Richards, a former Fish and Game Commissioner, was forced to leave his position on the Commission -- whose primary job is to set hunting and fishing seasons -- when he went to another state and legally hunted mountain lions. Because lion hunting is banned in California (and for no biological reason, I might add), he was hounded out of the job.

Will the hue and cry over Laird’s in-kind gaffe lead to his resignation? Are you high? But isn’t this just like the person in charge of Planned Parenthood heading up an anti-abortion rally? Would this be like the head of California’s Health Department leading a protest against the use of vaccines? Would it be like the head of the San Diego Zoo supporting groups wanting to close the zoo and release all the animals back into the wild?

Of course, Laird has the right as an individual not to support hunting and to even make donations to anti-hunting groups, but when he lends his name and his position in a public way to that cause he’s stepping over the line he must toe as a public servant. His job in that position is to serve all of the public, not just his favored few. Will he show up at a pro-hunting California Varmint Caller’s gala fundraiser next month? Not a chance. That move would absolutely get him removed from his job, but his featured appearance at the Project Coyote event is somehow different.

Nothing will come of this, of course. Laird is a career Democrat politician in California, and hypocrisy is the word of the decade in politics here.

If you do want to complain and at least try to get Sacramento to pay attention, you can call

Governor Jerry Brown’s office at (916) 445-2841 or go to this direct link and leave the governor an e-mail message: The people who did call or e-mail in the lead up to this event were poo-pooed or blown off. I never got a response from the Governor’s office at all. But I’m a hunter and gun owner, and we’re considered lesser beings in this state. [But some of you must care: the Laird post on my business Facebook page -- Outdoor News Service -- had the highest number of “Views” and “Shares” of anything I’ve ever posted.]

WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT: I’ve written about his repeatedly, but it’s worth bringing up again that Michael Sutton, a former member of the Fish and Game Commission, repeatedly was called on the carpet for potential illegal conflict of interest by voting on issues that directly affected his employment. Charges probably could have been filed against Sutton, but he didn’t even get removed from the Commission.

WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT II: Does anyone else find it ironic that the Director of the Department of Fish and Game, Charles Bonham, who reports directly to Laird, is a pescaterian. The man who heads up the state’s hunting program doesn’t eat meat. Thankfully, he does eat fish.

WHILE WE’RE ON THE SUBJECT III: And also under the “ahhhhh, now it all sort of makes sense” category, you should know that Governor Jerry Brown and immediate family are very good friends with Jennifer Fearing, who until last November was the senior state director for the Humane Society of the United States (yes, that HSUS). She walked Brown’s dog daily when Fearing was lobbying the DFW and legislature to ban various types of hunting and lead ammunition in California.

What has happened to the trout stocking

program at San Bernardino County Parks?

Two weeks into November and San Bernardino County Regional Parks has still not announced its 2015-16 trout stocking program. Last year, trout plants had been going into these popular fishing lakes for three weeks at this point.

Apparently, only the Director of County Parks is allowed to speak to the press about this issue, and the director hasn’t been available to provide the simple answers to the always-asked questions: How many trout will be planted each stocking? What is the planting schedule? Where will the fish come from? Will trophy fish be planted?

Only the Director can provide that information? Why? What the heck is going on?

My guess? The program is being screwed up by needless trout stocking cuts and mismanagement, but if I ever get anyone at Parks to answer my questions, I’ll let you know for sure. But just to remind you of the bar set by the San Bernardino County Parks program, you can read my story from Oct. 12, 2014. It can be found on under “weekly news” (or at this direct link:!San-Bernardino-County-Parks%E2%80%99-rainbow-trout-stocking-program-rivals-private-lake%E2%80%99s-plants/c18sh/BF1F05DE-0AC5-4A7A-A241-370461CB6B8F).

Waterfowl hunting stays

good at San Jacinto WA

Duck hunters enjoyed continued good success at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area in western Riverside County over the past week, with both last Saturday and Wednesday seeing averages of 2 1/2-ducks per hunter. Duck hunting at the Wister Unit of the Imperial Wildlife Area on the south end of the Salton Sea has not been as good.

At San Jacinto, there were 171 hunters last Saturday, Nov. 7, and they shot 433 ducks, 21 coots, and four Aleutian Canada geese for a 2.68 average. The duck kill included 186 green-winged teal, 84 cinnamon teal, 39 northern shovelers, 27 wigeon, 26 ruddy ducks, 26 gadwall, 12 pintail, 12 ringnecks, seven mallards, six bufflehead, four scaup, three redhead, and one wood duck. On Wednesday, Nov. 11, there were 168 hunters who shot 414 ducks and 33 coots for a 2.66 average. The duck bag consisted of 189 green-wings, 55 cinnamons, 53 shovelers, 32 wigeon, 29 gadwall, 29 ruddies, eight bufflehead, six pintail, five mallards, three ringnecks, two redheads, two blue-winged teal, and one merganser.

At the Imperial Wildlife Area’s Wister Unit, there were 105 hunters, Wednesday, Nov. 4, and they shot 289 ducks, five coots, and one cackling goose for a 2.81 average. On Saturday, Nov. 7, there were 188 hunters who shot 336 ducks, eight coots, and one Ross’ goose for a 1.84 average. On Sunday, Nov. 8, there were 78 hunters who killed 63 ducks for a .81 aveage. The most common birds in the bag all three days were green-wing teal, shoveler, wigeon, pintail, and gadwall.

At the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed as part of Wister’s hunting program, there were just four hunters all three shoot days this past week and they shot three greenwing, three pintail, a mallard, and a ruddy duck for a two-bird-per-hunter average.

In San Diego County, there were 10 hunters at Barrett Lake on Wednesday, Nov. 4, and 10 more on Saturday, Nov. 7, and they shot a total of 37 ruddies, two gadwall, two ringnecks, and one goldeneye for a 2.10 average.


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