Calif. sporting groups leery of dept. name change

October 3, 2012 • Business

Andy Heape of the California Department of Fish and Game replaces one of retaining boards on a fish screen at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery in Gold River, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed legislation replacing “Game” with “Wildlife” in the departments name. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — After six decades as the California Department of Fish and Game, the agency in charge of the state’s wild animals has a new name — one that has many hunting and fishing organizations leery.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation recently replacing “Game” with “Wildlife,” in a nod to environmentalists and animal-rights activists. Sporting groups fear the legislation signals a change in the department’s traditional focus.

“Generally, that means a shift toward butterflies, endangered species and other stuff like that,” said Mike Faw, spokesman for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, an Ohio-based advocacy group that has seen similar efforts in other states.

Once the name change takes effect Jan. 1, only 12 other states will use the word “game” in the names of their wildlife agencies.

The name change grew out of a two-year effort to develop a strategic vision for the department. Hunting and fishing organizations say they didn’t feel they were adequately represented during the department’s makeover, which supporters say better reflects California’s changing political and demographic landscape.

“We were outnumbered, there’s no question about it,” said Bill Gaines, president of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance.

His organization was one of four representing hunters on the department’s Login to read more

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