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Hunt a Mountain Lion, Lose Your Job?

Head of California's Fish and Game Commission under fire for hunting trophy.

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Dan Richards is, well, unrepentant.

"There is zero chance I would consider resigning my position as President of the California Fish and Game Commission," Richards said this week in a fiery letter sent to state lawmakers.  Just in case there was any doubt.

Richards has been embroiled in a growing dispute over his shooting of a mountain lion during a legal hunt in the state of Idaho.  A picture of him posing with the dead animal surfaced in a publication called Western Outdoor News, prompting 40 members of the Assembly to call for his resignation.

And then Lieutenant-Governor Gavin Newsom piled on this week, saying the killing doesn't reflect California values.  The state has banned mountain lion hunting since voters approved Prop 117 in 1990.

But Richards, in his letter, mocked his critics, saying his hunting activity is "none of your business," and that he would "continue to hunt and fish wherever I please," in a legal fashion.

Richards also chose to clarify and defend his hunt by explaining that he ate the animal.

"I did not use a high powered rifle with a scope at 300 yards and we did dine on Mountan Lion for dinner," Richards wrote.  "Under your standards all Californians who enjoy gaming in Nevada are somehow ethically challenged as true Californians and should be removed from any official position."

Richards' choice of menu items notwithstanding, animal rights groups are furious and want to see his head on a plate.

Wednesday, a group of Senate Republicans offered their support for Richards.

Gov. Jerry Brown, who received a copy of the letter, has no authority to remove Richards, and has offered no opinion on the controversy.

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