California Wildlife Commission President Ousted (Update!)

Dan Richards, the embattled president of the California Game and Fish Commission, was ousted Wednesday by the board during a vote in its meeting in Ventura.

UPDATE: Check out the opinion column from San Diego Union-Tribune outdoors writer Ed Zieralski, who has covered this story from the start.

A photo of Richards with a mountain lion he killed on a legal hunt in Idaho was published earlier this year in Western Outdoor News. That sparked a furor among anti-hunters, legislators and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who have battered Richards relentlessly and called for his resignation.

Mountain lion hunting was banned in California in 1990. Anti-hunters have argued that Richards should not have hunted an animal, even in another state where legal, that is protected in California.

Richards, a Republican real estate developer and big game hunter, has refused to resign. He was appointed in 2008 by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The five-member commission is appointed by the governor.

“This originates from the enviro-terrorists being threatened by me,” Richards told the San Jose Mercury-News in one of his first interviews since his mountain lion hunt enraged environmentalists. Richards gave the interview prior to the commission meeting and his ouster.

“They see a guy who is paying attention to the issues, and who calls them out on the crap they throw out. Their involvement is important but by and large it’s a farce, and I’m not afraid to call it that.”

Richards can remain on the commission through the end of his term, which expires in six months. He said he does not expect Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, to reappoint him to the commission.

Check out the full report here.