SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The president of the California Fish and Game Commission, facing calls to resign because he killed a cougar in Idaho, is the target of an ethics complaint that alleges he accepted an illegal gift from the ranch where he shot the animal.The complaint filed Thursday with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleges that Dan Richards accepted a $6,800 gift from the Flying B Ranch because he didn’t pay the full fee normally charged to guests who go on guided mountain lion hunts.

Under California law, officials can’t accept gifts of more than $420 a year.

The Associated Press left a phone message Friday seeking comment from Richards.The ethics complaint is the latest salvo against Richards after a photo in Western Outdoor News showed him smiling in a snowy wilderness, holding up the dead, outstretched animal that’s about as long as he is tall.

Hunting cougars, which are also called pumas or mountain lions, was banned in California in 1993, though it’s legal in Idaho and other states.

After the photo surfaced, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and 40 Democratic Assembly members joined animal rights groups in calling for Richards’ resignation.

The ethics complaint was filed by Kathy Bowler, a former California Democratic Party official, the San Jose Mercury News reported ( ).

Richards defended his hunt in an appearance Thursday on a conservative radio talk show in southern California. He called his critics “enviro-terrorists” and said he would not step down from the five-member commission, which sets hunting and fishing regulations in the state.

Richards, a Republican from San Bernadino, unsuccessfully ran for governor during the 2003 recall election, garnering 383 votes.


Fish and Game official says mountain lion tasted like pork loin

The head of the California Fish and Game Commission, under fire for killing a mountain lion during a hunting trip in Idaho, blasted his critics Thursday as “environmental terrorists” and dismissed demands by Democratic state lawmakers for him to resign.


Commission President Daniel W. Richards, of Upland, appearing on KFI’s John and Ken Show, focused the brunt of his criticism on the Humane Society of the United States and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who have called for his ouster, The Times’ PolitiCal blog reported.


He also told listeners the cat didn’t go to waste.


During his KFI interview, Richards discussed the lion hunt at the Flying B Ranch in northern Idaho and said he ate meat from the big cat after the hunting trip -– rebutting earlier criticism that mountain lions are hunted for trophies, not for their meat.


“It’s like a pork loin. It’s white meat and it’s really good,” Richards said. “In frontier times, it was a delicacy.”


Richards also accused the Humane Society of having an agenda to outlaw hunting and fishing nationwide and of trying to infiltrate the Department of Fish and Game to in order to influence “the direction of the department without conflict or without debate.”

He also accused Newsom of lobbying to have his father appointed to the commission, implying that may be one of the underlying motives for his criticism.


Richards opened himself up for an onslaught of attacks from opponents, including the Humane Society and Democratic politicians galled by his bold defense.