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OUTDOOR NOTES : DFG Head Enrages Hunters

April 07, 1993|RICH ROBERTS

Hunters throughout the state are calling for the dismissal of Boyd Gibbons, director of the California Department of Fish and Game.

Gibbons last weekend stunned his own staff and enraged hunters when he recommended to the Fish and Game Commission that bear hunting with dogs be abolished.

One wildlife expert in the department, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: "I am as dumbfounded as everyone else. It puts the staff in an awkward situation. We try very hard to keep the politics out of what we do."

What the staff of biologists does is study the numbers and condition of the various game species and propose annual hunting regulations to balance the creatures with their predators and habitat--the philosophy of game management.

But Gibbons told the commission: "I feel compelled to step beyond the familiar boundaries of biology . . . for the hunting of bears with hounds presents us with a dilemma more profound than a scientific one. This is a moral dilemma."

Animal rights representatives in the audience cheered. Hunters were flabbergasted. Gibbons said he would explain his decision further to his staff today.

It goes beyond the hunting of bears. Reading between Gibbons' lines, there are hints that he was only trying to defuse SB 67, a bill that would do as he recommends, and perhaps forestall further inroads by anti-hunting interests.

The hunters don't see it that way. Dan Heal, a Chico plumbing contractor, is chairman of the California Sportsmen's Task Force, which represents 63 sportsmen's organizations.

"We are after him," Heal said. "Resignation, dismissal, whatever--we want him out of there. We want somebody who is concerned with the biological facts, not his personal morals."


FRESHWATER FISHING--Mike Hargett, superintendent of Castaic Lake, said he expects a decision by the end of the week on how hours will be shortened to meet new budget cuts. Unless other funds are found--such as from fishing or recreational groups-- it is likely that the lake will close on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, perhaps beginning as early as next month. . . .Scott Hansen and Ron Smith of Castaic topped a field of 80 teams in the West Valley Bassmasters' 17th annual Charity Team Bass Tournament at Castaic Lake. Their five-fish limit weighed 23.31 pounds. The event raised nearly $10,000 for Build Rehabilitation Industries and Friends of Castaic Lake. Big fish was a 9.41 by Castaic guide Gary Parker. . . .Cathy Sala at Castaic reports that a dry storage area for boats is available near the east launch ramp. . . . A 13.14-pound bass taken from Castaic by Leander Kakuk of Chino is the California leader in the Goodyear/Bassin' Big Bass World Championship competition. The national leader is a 15.98 by John Wigglesworth of Perry, Fla. . . . Despite fears expressed around Kernville, the DFG's new management plan for the Kern River does not propose to eliminate trout planting, according to DFG wild trout specialist Stan Stephens. But Stephens said that Trout Unlimited's threatened suit against the DFG's hatchery program could have an impact. And Sierra Sporting Goods proprietor Jack Dempsey says there is pressure to stop planting the four miles from Fairview Dam upstream to Johnsondale Bridge where the wild trout section now starts. . . .Guide Van W. Beacham will discuss northern New Mexico's lightly fished streams at the Sierra Pacific Flyfishers' meeting April 15 at the Encino Glen. Cost is $22 for non-members. Details: (818) 785-7306.

MEXICAN FISHING--Cabo San Lucas: After a typically slow week, striped marlin picked up last Saturday with some boats flying five or six flags at the end of the day, but the fish were generally small. Douglas Stuart, Thousand Oaks, released two aboard the Gaviota 2. Yellowfin tuna, dorado slow. East Cape: Striped marlin fair and an occasional blue marlin is being caught. Pargo and cabrilla good, with some yellowfin tuna. San Diego long-range: The Polaris Supreme, 18 days to Clarion Island with 12 anglers on a skiff-fishing and filming expedition, took 185 yellowfin to 190 pounds, releasing 101, and 132 wahoo.

FISHING INSTRUCTION--Bob Moyer will teach beginners fly tying Saturday, April 17, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at the East Fork Fly Fishing Store in Irvine. Cost is $50. Details: (714) 724-8840.

CONSERVATION--A desert waterhole guzzler project involving the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep, Desert Wildlife Unlimited, the Foundation for North American Sheep, the DFG and Bureau of Land Management is scheduled April 17-18 in Little Fargo Canyon of the Little San Bernardino Mountains near Indio. The future of the projects is uncertain because of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's Desert Bill. This is the first one to be built on private land, which is owned by Robert Lane of Long Beach but could become closed public land if S. 21 becomes law. Volunteers welcome. Details: (213) 878-0519.

SALTWATER FISHING--There has been a run of white seabass up to 62 pounds at Rocky Point on the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Steve Moelter of Calabasas caught a 55-pounder with a Worm King on 12-pound test line.

HUNTING--The DFG is recommending to the state Fish and Game commission to reduce pronghorn antelope tags from 1,575 last year to 259 this year because of a high winter mortality caused by heavy snow in the northeastern ranges.

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