UPLAND (CBS) — A vacation photo that shows the California Fish and Game Commission’s president, right after he killed a mountain lion on a hunting trip, continued to fuel a political firestorm in the state capitol Wednesday night.

A San Jose newspaper first published the photograph of Commission president Daniel Richards with a mountain lion that he had just hunted and killed in Idaho.

In the latest twist, 11 Republican state lawmakers, including nine state senators, signed a letter of support for Richards, calling the campaign to force him to resign a witch hunt.

“He didn’t break a California law, he supports the California law, he’s done great work on the commission. Like so many other sportsmen, he’s a true conservationist, you can tell from his background, the groups that he volunteers with and everything else. This is clearly a witch hunt. They don’t want somebody there on the Commission that is using common sense,” said State Senator Bob Dutton (R).

Hunting mountain lions is legal in Idaho, but it was outlawed by California voters in 1990 when they passed Proposition 117.

The Fish and Game Commission is responsible for overseeing and enforcing those regulations.

Critics, who are demanding that Richards resign, charge that for the president of the Commission to hunt and kill mountain lions and send photographs to a hunting magazine, sends the wrong message.

“I appreciate hunting, I really do. I have family members who hunt. But I just don’t think this action will hunt with the voters of California, and I just think it’s inappropriate, and I just felt compelled to say something about it,” said Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom.

The issue has divided the state legislature along party lines, with many Democrats demanding that Richards resign, while Republicans are saying there is no way he should go.

We went to try to interview Richards at his Upland home, but were unable to do so.

But Richards has released a statement saying there is zero chance that he will resign from his office.

Comments (9)
  1. bob says:

    I am not a hunter nor am I a “Gun Nut”.
    That being said Dan hunted in Idaho where mountain lion hunting is legal, He broke no laws. There is no legal or ethical basis for him to step down. you guys need to focus on laws that will better this state not waste time making an issue where there is none.

  2. Logelly says:

    @ bob, I agree with you 100%.

  3. MIKE says:

    i own guns. but i’am against killing animals unless you are starving in dire need and i lived in idaho. boy if i was a vegetarian i would go out kill people that harm animals. just saying

  4. Wolfman says:

    this comment page does not work ?

  5. Felix The Cat says:

    Was a beautiful animal… was….

  6. Here Kitty Kitty says:

    Is he the only CA hunter ever to hunt cats in Idaho? I doubt it.

  7. Thanks ahole says:

    Lets hunt down the jerk off that made it illegal for me to fish in front of my own home in Laguna Beach. As a former Eagle Scout, and even scuba instructor, I have enjoyed spearfishing and the occational surf cast since my father taught me when i was barely old enough to walk.

    Then all of a sudden some ‘group’ shows up and shuts down my ocean. They could have at least said no fishing Mon-Fri or made some other reasonable compromise.

    When can I expect the police to raid my house for all of my ‘illegal’ fishing poles now?

    Now I know how the Indians feel….

  8. Dino says:

    ;what is with the audacity and the arrogance of Cal. officials to expect Cal. state employees to follow Cal. law when not in Cal.? Your state is a joke. It’s economy was once world class; now it’s Greece. I feel sorry for all the conservatives who live there. The democrats are all worried about the rule of law about accepting gifts for the cougar hunt? What about the rule of law concerning illegal aliens? Your state would be prospering if you got rid of that burden. Like Dr. Savage says “Liberalism is a mental disorder”. Dan, hang in there your fighting the good fight. And one hell of a cat!!!

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