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.

A Look Inside Badges, Bears and Eagles: “The Fall River Elk Killings”

Two members of the Department of Fish and Game's exclusive and highly skilled scuba diving team were brought in to search the deeper water. On any given day, Larry Bruckenstein and Jauquin Mariante could be diving for gunny sacks of illegal abalone off the shark-infested Marin Coast or, in this case, packages of elk meat from a Northern California trout stream. While scouring the river bottom, our divers found shell casings, elk ribs, elk antlers and a cardboard box filled with packaged elk meat. For...

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 23, “Bears and Bad Guys”

Jessup walked over to a second refrigerator and pulled out another plastic bag, containing four more gall bladders. The four gall bladders in this bag were two or three times larger than those in the first bag. [Agent] Hoang did not want to appear anxious, so he bartered with Jessup for a few minutes and said he wasn't prepared to buy all of them at that time. "I don't like keepin' 'em here at the house and neither does the other guy," said Jessup. Henry...