Legislation has been introduced in Sacramento that could result in managed hunting programs for desert bighorn sheep in the Marble Mountains and the Kelso Peak-Old Dad Mountain areas of the Mojave Desert.
The legislation, introduced by Assemblyman Richard L. Mountjoy (R-Monrovia) and sponsored by the California Wildlife Federation, seeks to:
--Remove the Nelson (desert) bighorn from protected status and designate it as a game animal.
--Provide development of bighorn sheep management plans by individual management units.
--Give the Department of Fish and Game total management authority over bighorns.
--Allow limited, controlled sport hunting of bighorns in the Marbles and Kelso Peak-Old Dad Mountain areas.
Desert bighorn numbers have risen dramatically in recent years, thanks to transplant operations.
Briefly Pre-dawn raids by DFG game wardens resulted in the arrest of 14 northern Californians, most of whom face felony charges for selling black bear parts. The arrests marked the culmination of a five-month undercover DFG investigation of illegal sales. Bear gall bladders bring high prices in some Asian communities where they are sold as medicines. Bear paws and claws are also sold for jewelry and ceremonial purposes. A special investigator on loan from the state Department of Justice won the confidence of 23 people in the poaching ring, most of them houndsmen. He purchased about 50 bear gall bladders, 400 bear claws, several teeth, 6 paws, a bear hide and 2 mountain lion hides for a total of $5,000.
Emergency action has gone into effect to protect the only fishery in Southern California providing pure Alabama spotted bass, Lake Perris in Riverside County. The Fish and Game Commission has changed the limits on the fish that can be taken at the lake to two fish of at least 15-inches each. Perris has suffered a steep decline in its spotted bass population since 1981. DFG biologist Dave Drake believes that the decline can be traced to a high harvest rate of spotted bass before they are able to spawn. . . . The Balboa Angling Club has scheduled its annual Tim Tate Ladies Billfish Tournament for Sept. 6. . . . Showtime: Western Recreation Vehicle Show & Sale, Long Beach Convention Center, April 16-20. . . . Arthur R. Dubs, big-game hunter from Medford, Ore., paid $79,000 for a Montana bighorn sheep tag at an auction sponsored by the Foundation for North American Wild Sheep.