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Hunters support Fish and Game official who killed mountain lion

March 7, 2012 |  3:17 pm

Fish and Game Commission presidentScores of hunters, fisherman and gun rights advocates showed up Wednesday at a board meeting in Riverside to support the Fish and Game Commission president who shot and killed a mountain lion.

The National Rifle Assn. had put out a nationwide alert calling for members to support Daniel Richards.

“This is an outright attack on all California sportsmen by anti-hunting extremists,’’ said Tom Pedersen of the California Rifle and Pistol Assn.

Richards came under blistering criticism late last month after a photo of him hugging a dead mountain lion appeared on a popular Southern California hunting website.

Richards shot the lion during a January hunting trip to the Flying B Ranch in Idaho. He later said that he tasted some of the cooked meat and said that it tasted like pork loin.

Hunting mountain lions is legal in the state, but was outlawed by California voters in 1990. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and 40 Democrats in the state Assembly and the Humane Society of the United States accused Richards of flagrantly skirting the will of the Californians he serves and demanded his resignation.

Leaders of the Humane Society urged members to skip the Fish and Game Commission’s monthly meeting at the Mission Inn in Riverside, but a handful of animal rights advocates braved a crowd that included many Richards’ supporters in camouflage.

Richards sat silently as one critic criticized hunters as “Neanderthals’’ and others told him to resign.

“I think it’s despicable. I think he should step down,’’ said Chris Rose, president of the Last Chance for Animals in Los Angeles. “He’s supposed to represent us. and then he goes into another state where it’s legal, unfortunately, and goes ahead and kills this animal so he can have his picture taken with it. I think it’s cowardice.’’

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-- Phil Willon in Riverside

Photo: California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel W. Richards with the mountain lion he killed. Credit: Western Outdoor News.

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