California law attempts to ban hunting for ‘iconic’ African species


By JIM MATTHEWS

www.OutdoorNewsService.com

It is called the Iconic African Species Protection Act, SB 1487, and was introduced into the California legislature in mid-February by state Senator Henry Stern who represents parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties. It would effectively attempt to ban hunting of certain species of African game animals by making the possession of the animals or their remains illegal in California.

The animal rights and anti-hunting activists are jumping for joy. People who are actually concerned about wildlife are just shaking their heads in disbelief. The bill targets the few California big game hunters who can afford to hunt Africa and discriminates against their legal activities.

I don’t care about how you feel about hunting of African big game or hunting in general, this is just discrimination against a small group of people’s civil rights. This is not about protecting wildlife, or really even stopping the hunting of these species, it is about punishing people who are following federal and international laws but being persecuted in their own state because of how they choose to live. It’s like banning marijuana. It only seeks to criminalize an activity that discriminates against a person’s right to choose how they live.

The federal Endangered Species Act regulates U.S. hunters abroad to make sure regulated hunting isn’t pushing any species further down the road to extinction.

At best, this law is redundant in some instances – one of the listed species, the Juntink’s Duiker (hardly an ‘iconic’ species) is already protected because it is endangered and hunting and importation of this animal is banned. So where did this come from?

In most instances, it is just wildly ignorant on the science and current laws. The “banned” list in SB 1487 includes an eclectic set of animals: African elephant, African lion, leopard, black rhinoceros, white rhinoceros, giraffe, Jentink’s duiker, plains zebra, mountain zebra, hippopotamus, and striped hyena. If you Google-search any of these you can find out their status and which ones are already protected, or carefully regulated with legal hunting only allowed where their populations are healthy. For most of these species, poaching and habitat loss are the real foes, not regulated hunting which puts a value on the wildlife, funds conservation efforts, and promotes their protection. But if you hate hunting like the California legislature, you don’t care about reality and science.

This bill is using the guise of emotional wildlife management to mask their discrimination against a group of people they (and perhaps you) might despise. That doesn’t make it right.

Last Chance for Animals (LCA) openly lies when promoting the bill to their anti-hunting membership. They contend the African lion population has “declined by over 40 percent in the past two decades, with trophy hunting identified as a major factor in the decline.”

That is simply a blatant lie. A 2015 Scientific American article points out the decline has indeed been 42 percent over just the last 21 years, which has placed the lion on the IUCN “Red List, which continues to identify lions as ‘vulnerable to extinction’ (one step short of endangered). That’s mainly because conservation efforts have resulted in an 11 percent growth in lion populations in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Most of these southern populations live within fenced reserves which have reached their carrying capacity and can’t support additional lion numbers.”

“Can’t support additional lion numbers” means that hunting is allowed. It is because of hunting in these four nations that lions are not endangered. Hunting funds those reserves where lion thrive. In fact, the story never mentions legal hunting as a cause of lion decline. Not once.

Like the legislature, LCA is all about hating hunters – who are funding most of the conservation efforts. The facts are ignored. This bill has advanced through the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water on Monday this past week, and it will now go to the Senate Committee on Public Safety. The sad part is that this bill has a very good chance of passing in this whackadoodle state legislature.

General trout season opens in

Eastern Sierra next Saturday

For those of you planning to attend the trout season opener in the Eastern Sierra Nevada next Saturday, April 28, the Department of Fish and Wildlife announced all the waters that will be planted in the region late this week. Here’s the list:

In Inyo County, plants of catchable trout will be made in Baker Creek, Big Pine Creek, Bishop Creek (at Intake II, the Middle Fork, and the South Fork), Goodale Creek, Owens River (below Tinnemaha Reservoir), Pleasant Valley Reservoir, Taboose Creek, and Tinnemaha Creek.

In Mono County, plants will be made this week in Bridgeport Reservoir, Buckeye Creek, Convict Creek, Convict Lake, Grant Lake, Gull Lake, June Lake, Little Walker River, Lundy Lake, Mill Creek, Molybdenite Creek, Robinson Creek, Silver Lake, Trumble Lake, both Upper and Lower Twin Lake Lower above Bridgeport, Virginia Creek, both upper and lower Virginia Lakes (sometimes call Big Virginia and Little Virginia), and the West Walker River in the Pickle Meadows section and the canyon stretch above Coleville.

A number of other waters, like Crowley Lake, were also stocked in recent weeks.

New waterfowl hunting regulations

adopted, pintail limit upped to two

Waterfowl hunting regulations were adopted by the Fish and Game Commision Thursday this past week, and most hunting season lengths and bag limits will be very similar to last year. The one big exception is that the pintail daily bag limit has increased from a single bird up to two birds. The body also created a new Klamath Basin Special Management Area.

The Northeastern Zone will be open for ducks from Oct. 6, 2018, through Jan. 18, 2019. Scaup season will be open from Oct. 6, 2018 through Dec. 2, 2019, and from Dec. 22, 2018 through Jan. 18, 2019.

Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley and Southern California zones will be open from Oct. 20, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 3, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.

Colorado River Zone will be open from Oct. 19, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019. Scaup season will be open from Nov. 3, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.

The bag limit for ducks will remain seven ducks per day with no more than two hen mallards (or Mexican-like ducks in the Colorado River Zone), two pintail, two canvasback, two redheads and three scaup (which may only be taken during the 86-day scaup season). The possession limit for ducks is triple the daily bag limit.

Goose season in the Northeastern Zone, the season will be open for white geese and white-fronted geese from Oct. 6, 2018 and run through Dec. 2, 2018. The second half of this season will be Jan. 5-18, 2019 (except in the new Klamath Basin Special Management Area). The season will be open for large Canada geese from Oct. 6, 2018 through Jan. 13, 2019. In the Klamath Basin Special Management Area, the season will be open for white geese and white-fronted geese from Oct. 6, 2018 through Jan. 18, 2019.

The Balance of State, Southern San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California zones will be open from Oct. 20, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019. The Balance of State Zone will also be open for early large Canada geese from Sept. 29, 2018 through Oct. 3, 2018 (except in the North Coast Special Management Area). The Balance of State Zone will also be open for a special late season for white-fronted and white geese from Feb. 9-13, 2019.

The Colorado River Zone will be open from Oct. 19, 2018 through Jan. 27, 2019.

The goose bag limit in the Northeastern Zone is 30 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and 10 dark geese, of which only two may be large Canada geese. In the Balance of State and Southern San Joaquin Valley zones, the bag is a total of 30 geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and 10 dark geese. In the Southern California Zone, the bag is 23 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and three dark geese. And in the Colorado River Zone, the bag is 24 total geese per day, which may include 20 white geese and four dark geese. The possession limit for geese is triple the daily bag limit.

The complete regulations will be posted at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Hunting/Waterfowl.

END

Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at odwriter@verizon.net or by phone at 909-887-3444.

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