The number of Californians who hunt has dwindled to less than 1% of the population, but some who still carry rifles outdoors complain the state commission overseeing them has become too cozy with the animal rights movement.
Now Gov. Jerry Brown is facing pressure from outdoor enthusiasts to fill two vacancies on the five-person Fish and Game Commission with people who understand hunters and anglers and their role in conservation.
“The commission has shifted from a philosophy of conservation to one of preservation, meaning its direction has gone to where fishing and hunting are more and more limited and very difficult,” said Marko Mlikotin, executive director of the California Sportfishing League.
The shift in emphasis at the commission has also frustrated some veterans of the agency, including Jim Kellogg, an avid hunter who resigned from the commission in December after 14 years on the panel. The commission’s executive director, Sonke Mastrup, and department deputy director Dan Yparraguirre also left their positions about the same time, with Mastrup taking another job in the department. Both were seen as sympathetic to the outdoors community.
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