Term ending for Fish and Game commissioner who killed cougar

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Time will apparently accomplish what public outrage and political pressure could not: Force controversial figure Daniel W. Richards to step down from the California Fish and Game Commission.

Richards’ term on the panel expires in two weeks, on Jan. 15, and it is unlikely he will be reappointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, sources said.

Richards made national headlines as president of the commission a year ago when a photo appeared on the Internet showing him grinning as he held up the carcass of a mountain lion he had killed during a hunt in Idaho.

Although such kills are legal in Idaho, they have been banned in California for years. More than 40 California lawmakers signed a letter voicing outrage at Richards and demanding that he resign, and their call was backed by Sierra Club California and the head of the Humane Society of the United States.


Hunter groups and the National Rifle Assn. rallied behind the Upland resident, who defiantly refused to step down. The Republican real estate businessman had been appointed to the commission in 2008 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Brown lacked the power to remove Richards before his term expires, but will be free in two weeks to name somebody new to the position. Commissioners are allowed to continue serving until a replacement is appointed, but critics of Richards, including Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society, are hoping for swift action by the governor.

‘Clearly it’s time for him to go,’' Fearing said of Richards, who did not respond to calls for comment.


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-- Patrick McGreevy in Sacramento