Another White Meat

California Fish and Game Commission President Daniel Richards achieved notariety when he shot a mountain lion at Flying B Ranch, a “Corporate” hunting and fishing lodge in Idaho last January and then sent to Western Outdoor News a photo of himself grinning broadly as he held up the carcass, little expecting mountain lion huggers to see the photo.

So there was a bit of an outcry among city folk and Democrats and that sort, and there’s been a good deal of newspaper coverage.   My own outrage, of course, was monumental.  Just wait, you bastard, one of these days i’m gonna catch you in my new body without your snowmobile, your rifle, and your pack of dogs.  Mano a mano will be just fine with me even though you clearly outweigh me by forty pounds.  Yes, biting is permitted.

Richards neglected to get his story straight with Joseph Peterson, the ranch manager, so their accounts show glaring inconsistencies.  Hell, the account of neither man is even consistent with itself.  Peterson claims that Richards shot the lion “as a favor” since the lion was “roaming the property” and had to be killed because it was a “threat”.   Hmmm.  The ranch website (see above link) states that the ranch property is only 5,000 acres but that it has got “exclusive permits to outfit (sic) in 740,000 acres of the Nez Perce and Clearwater National forests in North Central Idaho.”  Sounds like a sweet deal to me, getting access to hunting rights in national park acreage a hundred fifty times the size of your own property, and then i start wondering why somebody would be doing you a favor to kill a mountain lion that you could charge somebody else $6,800 to kill…or for that matter why you’d be calling an important part of your revenue stream a threat.

Richards, not knowing that Peterson would be saying Richards was doing him a favor, is now in total damage control mode and is claiming that he shot the lion in order to eat it.  Next, he’ll be saying he shot it to feed his starving sister like Jean Valjean.  Meanwhile the ranch manager is scrambling frantically to back Richards up and is declaring that lion is a very popular meat with hunters and is considered a delicacy somewhat like pork loin but tastier.  And much better, he avows, than bear or horse.

Well that changes everything and explains Richards’ triumphal grin since now i can just look at him and see he was clearly envisioning braising a lion loin with turnips and serving it with a good Chardonay.

When i wrote about finally getting around to eating horse in Amsterdam and finding it absolutely delicious, all of my former equestrienne friends were appalled.  But this takes the pressure off me.  If lion tastes better, hey, i can do without horse.

But i’m willing to be reasonable about this.  I think we should be careful not to eat up all the mountain lions but rather make certain that we’re taking only a sustainable harvest.

And of course that’s Richards’ job as Fish and Game Commission President…to determine a harvest level that will make it possible for our children and grandchildren to enjoy mountain lion.  Well, at least those grandchildren that can pay $6,800 apiece for them.

Oh, and speaking of paying $6,800, the plot has thickened.  Seems that in California elected officials are prohibited from taking gifts worth over $420 per year, and the lion lovers are attacking Richards over this, too.

Oh, and since we’re talking about predators, here’s proof that they’re everywhere, great and small:



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