Tribute to the Giant Sea Bass

My friend Sergio Fainsztein recently posted an underwater photograph of a giant sea bass off La Jolla Cove, San Diego, on his Facebook page. The photograph reminded me of an incident that happened in 1958, when I was ten years old. We were on the beach at Casa Cove, a short distance from where the photo Fainsztein shared was taken.

A Dangerous Calling

Yesterday’s shootout with former LAPD officer Christopher Dorner should dispel any doubts about the dangerous nature of a California Fish and Game (Wildlife) officer’s job.  Here’s something you may not be aware of: California Fish and Game (Wildlife) wardens are not only empowered to enforce all state laws and local ordinances, they are also deputized federal officers, authorized to enforce federal laws dealing with fish and wildlife.

Great Place for a Nature Walk

The other day, my wife and I took a nature walk on the Battle Creek Wildlife Area.   We headed downstream from the County Line Bridge, along the Tehama County side of Battle Creek.  The sky was overcast and the ground was still wet from the previous day’s rain.  We had the entire 582-acre wildlife area to ourselves. It was so quiet; you could have heard a pine needle drop, except there are no pines along lower Battle Creek.  The riparian zone is vegetated with willows, blackberry thickets, Ailanthus and one of the oldest and tallest remaining stands of old growth cottonwoods and sycamores in California. I really don’t like mentioning Ailanthus (Chinese tree of heaven). Unfortunately, this incredibly invasive exotic is crowding out many of the native plant species.

A Look Inside Badges, Bears, and Eagles: Chapter 3, “Squeaky”

As day dawned, our previous enthusiasm had given way to absolute misery. To make matters worse, the mosquitoes returned and stuck around until about 7:00 a.m., when the scorching desert heat drove them away. There had been no sign of Squeaky or anyone else. My disillusioned partner and I wanted to pack up and go home, but something told us that Squeaky would show up any minute. An hour passed and Squeaky had still not come, so we waited one more hour and then another.

A Look Inside Badges, Bears and Eagles: Chapter 11, “Assault with a Deadly Salmon”

The hammer of Deputy Eastman’s revolver was millimeters from reaching its apex and beginning its downward trajectory when Musser finally put his gun down and stepped out of the camper. “Turn around and place your hands behind your back,” instructed Eastman. Musser began to comply, then wheeled around and attempted to overtake the officer. With the other two  poachers still lying prone on the ground, [Warden Bob] Taylor and [Patrolman] Chapin ran to assist Deputy Eastman. Musser proved to be as strong as he was stupid: He was squealing like a stuck pig when Officer Chapin placed his right knee in the small of Musser’s back, applying the full force of his massive torso. Musser gasped for breath and quit resisting long enough for Eastman and Taylor to force his arms behind his back and apply the cuffs.

A Look inside Badges, Bears and Eagles: Chapter 1, “The Eagle Case”

Early on the morning of February 15, 1985, Inspector Dave Nelson, enforcement chief for the California Department of Fish and Game’s Redding office, arrived for work. As he pulled into the office parking lot, Nelson noticed a black garbage bag lying at the base of the locked west entrance gate. The bag contained a magnificent bald eagle that had obviously been shot—blood dripped from its nostrils and breast area. Attached to the eagle’s leg was an expletive-laden, handwritten note, threatening the life of Fish and Game Warden Merton Hatcher.

My Memoir: Badges, Bears, and Eagles

Welcome! I’m not sure where this blog will take me yet, but it will cover subjects that are dear to my heart and especially those that have some connection with my memoir, Badges, Bears, and Eagles, which will be released by Coffeetown Press on March 1, 2013. Although I am retired, I stay current with new legislation, high- and low-profile cases involving hunting and fishing, and environmental causes. I will weigh in on these and other topics in future posts.