California Senate Bill 252 was pulled by its sponsor, Sen. Scott Wiener, on Feb. 1, barely a week following its introduction, after backlash from the Sportsmen’s Alliance, our national and state partners and outdoors media.
“The Bear Protection Act,” sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States, the largest anti-hunting organization in the world, sought to ban all recreational hunting of black bears in the state. The legislation followed the successful blueprint of other HSUS-backed legislation and ballot initiatives, including the elimination of all mountain lion and bobcat hunting, the use of hounds for predators such as bears, and all forms of trapping. While the proposals all banned these practices for sportsmen (and revenue for the state), they left caveats in place for the state to continue killing the animals in the face of human-wildlife conflicts. SB 252 would have cost the California Department of Fish and Wildlife approximately $1.39 million per year from the loss of bear tags alone.
Sen. Wiener, whose constituents predominantly hail from San Francisco, claimed that the state’s bear population was under threat from hunting. However, the Sportsmen’s Alliance and our allies pointed out the fact that the bear population has been conservatively estimated at 30,000 to 40,000, more than triple the population of 40 years ago. Likewise, the state’s quota of 1,700 hasn’t been reached in years; last year only 919 tags were filled. The powerful California animal-rights lobby has kept the state from increasing the quota to meet equitable harvest goals.
“It’s great that Sen. Wiener has pulled this legislation, and we hope that he continues to evaluate and learn about wildlife management and its role in recovering wildlife and habitats nationwide, as well as funding conservation in The Golden State,” said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs at Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Wildlife management is best left in the hands of biologists, not bureaucrats, politicians and public opinion.”
About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.