Hunters Among Opposition For Proposed Pig Hunting Bill For Easier Access, Cheaper Fees

Earlier this month, state Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) introduced SB-856

Here’s a look at the bill’s summary:

This bill would revise and recast the provisions applicable to wild pigs by, among other things, specifying that the wild pig is not a game mammal or nongame mammal. The bill would expand the definition of “wild pig” to include any pig that has 2 or more specified phenotypical characteristics and that does not have a permanent mark or visible tag, as specified, and any free-roaming pig, feral pig, or European wild boar having no visible tags, markings, or characteristics indicating that the pig or boar is from a domestic herd. The bill would make this definition applicable to the entire Fish and Game Code. The bill would, however, also create the category of exotic game mammals to include wild pigs, including feral pigs and European wild boar that are within the definition of that term. The bill would make conforming changes to reflect the creation of this separate category of game mammal.
This bill would replace the wild pig tag requirement with a wild pig validation that would authorize a person who procures the validation to take any number of wild pigs specified by the Fish and Game Commission during the license year of the validation. The bill would set the price of a wild pig validation at $15 for residents and $50 for nonresidents for the 2022 license year, and would provide for increases pursuant to a specified inflation index.
Essentially, it would be easier and cheaper for anyone to pay the modest fee to shoot feral pigs, which are considered invasive and have become the enemy of the people – at least many who farm in California.
A Sacramento Bee report from today explains the opposition from some in the hunting community:

For one thing, fewer hogs on the landscape would mean fewer hunting opportunities. For another, if landowners are allowed to kill hogs without the hassle of needing licenses and state permits, it could take business away from a group of influential hunting outfitters who make their livings by taking out clients to shoot pigs on private lands under the current highly regulated system.

Dodd’s bill also includes a ban on the controversial practice of hunting pigs in fenced preserves. California has a few of these “high-fence” hunting ranches scattered around the state. High-fenced hunting is despised by animal welfare activists, who call high the practice “canned hunting.” High-fence hunting is controversial even among hunters, some of whom question the ethics of paying to shoot animals unable to escape confinement. California’s hunting associations, however, say these preserves offer “fair-chase” hunts that provide an important function.

“These hunts provide an opportunity to many, including our most deserving wounded warriors, those with special needs, the elderly, and youth who are physically unable to handle traditional hunts,” a group of 10 hunting and firearms associations wrote in an opposition letter.

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The Bee report also reminded that a bill comparable to this one failed to pass in 2018.