Nevada Wildlife Chief Resigns Amid Deer Management Pressure

A controversial wildlife agency director abruptly resigned Wednesday amid continuing pressure from a former legislator and others about his deer management ideas.

Ken Mayer resigned Wednesday in Nevada.

Ken Mayer resigned Wednesday in Nevada.

Ken Mayer was in his second stint as director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife when  it was announced he had resigned. He had previously worked in the same position and was fired from it in 2010 by the former governor, then rehired in 2011. Agency directors serve at the pleasure of the governor and his resignation followed a request to do so by Gov. Brian Sandoval.

The departure came after steadfast pressure about Mayer’s ideas for deer management and his department’s work battling federal protection of sage grouse. He will leave office Feb. 12.

“We all reach times in our careers where change in inevitable,” Mayer wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press. “That time came for me this week when Gov. Sandoval’s office asked me to resign as the director of the Nevada Department of Wildlife.”

The Associated Press reported that former Nevada Assemblyman John Carpenter is among several who has pressured the governor to relieve Mayer. Carpenter is a Republican from Elko and told the Associated Press he has “had problems with Ken Mayer for a long time.”

“It is the position of Ken Mayer to turn Nevada into another California,” Carpenter wrote in a letter obtained by the AP that he sent to Sandoval, urging Mayer’s ouster.

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Being compared to California’s wildlife agency is no shining beacon at the moment, since it, too, is undergoing criticism for some of its recent decisions.

State assemblymen and the animal groups last autumn pilloried the state wildlife commission’s president, Dan Richards, after a photo of him on a legal mountain lion hunt in another state became public. They were outraged the wildlife commission boss would deign to go hunting a protected animal in California even in another state; he eventually was replaced.

The state agency changed its name at the start of the year to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, changing the last word from “Game” after pressure from animal “rights” activists.

Then California’s DFW officials decided to cancel a planned predator hunting clinic, again bowing to pressure from outraged animal “rights” activists. Looking like children having their hands spanked, the agency backed away and heard about how non-lethal control methods should be used for mountain lions, coyotes and other predators. A state legislator has introduced a bill focused on those non-lethal options.

A longtime outdoors writer makes the point clearly in this column saying the California agency has lost its way.

If you’re wondering who’s running the show in California it doesn’t appear to be the wildlife agency. So, being compared in Nevada to the Cali Follies doesn’t seem to be a big compliment.

Stay tuned.