California Extremists Use “Rewilding” to Shut Down Hunting

California Extremists Use “Rewilding” to Shut Down Hunting

Anti-hunters and animal extremists in California are working on a new way to take away our hunting rights. They call it “rewilding.” The basic rewilding concept is that the state should reintroduce various predators within its borders, limit or stop the hunting of those predators already in place and, in the process, return California to its pre-European settlement status—in other words, “wild.”

The latest candidate being pushed for rewilding status is the grizzly bear. The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has gathered some 65,000 petition signatures asking the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to reintroduce this large predator. It is also running “public service” announcements to explain the supposed benefits of rewilding in general, and why the CBD believes grizzly bears should be added to California’s wildlife mix.

So, what’s wrong with bringing back some grizzly bears to California, where they have not existed for about 100 years, the antis ask? After all, they argue, the grizzly is on the state flag, and isn’t it just good wildlife conservation to restore past predator-prey balances?

Not so fast, says Rick Travis, programs director for the California Rifle and Pistol Association (CRPA), an NRA state affiliate. Several years ago, CRPA launched the Hunt for the Truth Association, a pro-hunting and conservation project designed to fight the misinformation being pumped out by anti-hunters in the Golden State.

“Anti-hunting groups in California have publicly stated that they intend to ban hunting entirely in California by 2025,” says Travis, who oversees Hunt for the Truth. “With their rewilding plans, they want to substitute predators to control game animal populations and, in the process, first limit and then do away with conservation-based hunting.” In fact, the Humane Society of the United States’ (HSUS) plan to end all hunting in California has been laid out for years. In the October 1990 issue of Full Cry magazine, HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle stated, “We are going to use the ballot box and the democratic process to stop all hunting in the United States. … We will take it species by species until all hunting is stopped in California. Then we will take it state by state.”

Travis notes that rewilding activists and animal extremists in California are lobbying individual commissioners and staffers inside the CDFW to advance the rewilding agenda. High on their rewilding wish list is the reintroduction of predators such as the grizzly, as well as a ban on all coyote hunting contests.

Repercussions of Predator Rewilding
If wolves, wolverines and grizzly bears are reintroduced into California, Travis says, there may not be enough wild prey to feed these types of keystone predators. Of course, as these predators whittle down game populations, the number of available hunting tags for deer, elk, hogs and other state game species likely will take a big hit.

There are also public safety issues the “rewilders” gloss over.  If you create burgeoning populations of predators, and those predators make their way through wild animal populations, what will they eat next?  Livestock, pets and, in some cases, people, Travis predicts.

To combat this rewilding idea, Hunt for the Truth and the CRPA are lobbying California legislators about rewilding’s detrimental effects.  They also act as a resource to the media to get out the other side of the story. They also are conducting and funding research into the important role that hunting plays in the conservation of California’s game and non-game species.

“If the anti’s can establish actual rewilding programs here in California, their next step is to push their extreme animal rights agenda incrementally state by state, using their unbalanced and scientifically unsound wildlife management approach to ban hunting nationally,” Travis noted. “Unless we can stop it here, rewilding’s coming to other states—and soon!”

Editor's Note: California is widely regarded as the epicenter of the anti-hunting extremist movement. For more information, click here as NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum member and California resident Dr. Arnold Goldschlager shares provides insight on the scenario firsthand.