CDFW predator management deception

by Capt. William E. Simpson II

Some readers may know I am not a big fan of some of the people at the California Department of Fish & Wildlife (‘CDFW’), and with good reason. They have over the past two and a half decades totally bungled the management of apex predators, especially mountain lions, which among other things has led to the implosion of the population of deer herds in California.

And instead of simply admitting and learning from the mistakes made and moving forward, they seem to prefer to employ the tactics of obfuscation, cover-ups and animal census tweaking.

Most woodsmen, hunters and guides all realize that generally speaking, an adult mountain lion will kill (on average) about 50-70 deer annually. When the people at CDFW decided to give mountain lions in California a ‘protected’ status in 1990, the CA deer population stood at about 800,000 animals. Today, there are less than 450,000 deer in California; about half the population of 1990. And in that same period, the mountain lion (puma) population has more than doubled, an interesting correlation.

In addition to the very robust population explosion of lions in California, nearby states are also experiencing the exact same thing; too many lions! Arizona has this problem now, as does Oregon, which has over 6,000 lions in that State, which is about half the size of California, which may have as many as 10,000 lions! And mountain lions are not cute or cuddly; they are blood-thirsty cold killers.

This video shows a home invasion by a mountain lion who kills and eats the family’s dog while a mother and her baby cower, hiding in the next room.

The fact that there are so many lions now in the mountains and rural areas of California combined with significantly fewer deer (their preferred prey), male lions now require much larger territories and therefore the younger male lions are forced to find new territories and prey in urban and city areas placing people (especially children), pets and livestock at grave risk.

Another story about a child taken by a mountain lion.

The cat-lovers want to feed you the line that it’s all-about human incursion into the lion’s territory, or that these deadly lions are not a real threat, but that’s all a pipe-dream fantasy. Mountain Lions are now predating on livestock and people’s pets at historic rates as a result of too many predators and too few deer. There is abundant peer reviewed research that points to the mismanagement of the wildlife as the reason for the plummeting deer population in California:

Read a peer reviewed research article demonstrating how public management decisions in California have contributed to the long term decline of the deer population. The state's deer population has fallen from the peak of about 2 million around 1960 to around 400,000 in 2014. - excerpt from:

The mountain lion problem in California is in fact shockingly bad! So much so that the national news media outlets, including FOX News and S.F. Gate have now been reporting the CA problem.

What may possibly be worse than too many lions in CA is the fact that the wildlife managers at CDFW are not being honest with the public and are continuing with dishonest tactics, placing the public and their precious pets and animals at grave risk.

Recently, I had a personal experience with one of the administrators at the CDFW in regard to a 200+ pound lion (notorious in our area) that attacked one of our young colts. And as we have all read and seen in the news, it seems that in California the angst and emotional hardship of losing pets to lions is affecting hundreds of people across the State, which may ultimately lead to a class action lawsuit demanding damages and that the CDFW amend their ways (administrative and scientific malfeasance) and apex predator management, and grant County (the locals) officials more control over dealing with local menacing predators.

Warning: the photos below are graphic images of a mountain lion injuries to a colt!

The photos above were submitted to CDFW wildlife manager Robert Schaefer at his Sacramento California office via his CDWF email account with my opinion that a mountain lion had attacked the colt, and a request that something be done to deal with this menacing lion. I then followed up with Mr. Schaefer in a phone call in regard to the photos above.

My key questions to Mr. Schaefer after he saw the photos: 
Simpson - Q: Do you think a lion did this? 
Schaefer - A: "After seeing the photos, I cannot say that a lion did that" 

Simpson - Q: So what did it then? 
Schaefer - A. "I cannot say; but it doesn't look like a lion did it... I will have the trapper contact you"

Then the conversation digressed to the status of the imploding California deer population under his watch, which clearly was not Mr. Schaefer's favorite topic (he’s studying the decline).

Later that day I did receive a call from Mr. Dennis Moyles who is the trapper used by CDFW in Siskiyou County.

Mr. Moyles said that Mr. Schaefer had sent him the photo of the colt that was attacked, and that in his opinion, “the injuries were caused by barbed-wire”.

I said, really? And Moyles repeated the same thing, “yes, barbed-wire”.

It was clear to me that this was planned obfuscation intended to throw me off, and eliminate their need (and liability) to deal with an extremely large and dangerous predator that is under their management.

So I decided to show the same photos to an independent wildlife expert;

Professor Craig C. Downer, (A.B., M.S. Ph.D. Cand., Wildlife Ecologist, Member; American Society of Mammologists, Member: IUCN Species Survival Commission. President: Andean Tapir Fund). After Prof. Downer’s careful review of the same photos provided to Robert Schaefer, here is his key finding;

“It is highly unlikely that a barbed wire fence produced these wounds, especially given the different angles of the scars on the left rump.”

This is the root of a serious and growing problem that animal and pet owners all face in California and elsewhere; a government agency bent on illogically protecting a predatory species to the point where it becomes extremely detrimental and dangerous for people and their pets, as well as other species (deer, etc.). And it seems some folks at the CDFW will say or do anything to maintain this reckless agenda.

William Simpson is the author of Dark Stallions – Legend of the Centaurians, proceeds from which go towards supporting wild and domestic horse rescue and sanctuary.

Capt. William E. Simpson II is a U.S. Merchant Marine Officer with decades of boating and expedition sailing experience, having logged more than 150,000 miles at sea. Simpson has successfully survived long-term ‘off the grid’ at sea and at remote uninhabited desert islands with his family for years at a time. He holds a U.S.C.G. 500-ton captain’s license for commercial-inspected passenger vessels and he is also a commercial airplane and helicopter pilot.

Simpson spent his formative years growing up on the family’s working ranch in the mountains of Southern Oregon, where horses were an integral part of the daily life. William left the family ranch to attend college, which turned out to be a stepping stone into a bizarre lifestyle that led him around the world on an entrepreneurial quest. An adventurer at heart, Simpson and his best friend and wife Laura, spent many years at sea during two sailing expeditions (1991-1994 and 2008-2011) where they experienced some of the many wonders and mysteries of nature. Since retiring, Bill and Laura have changed lifestyles and are once again engaged in a new adventure; living an off-grid lifestyle in the remote wilderness of the Siskiyou Mountains, where they enjoy coexisting with herds of wild horses, along with a myriad of other wild animals. The staggering beauty of the local mountains and valleys is awe inspiring and has influenced Bill to frequently write on subjects related to wild horses as well as wild and domestic horse advocacy, rescue and sanctuary.