Government Gone Wild: California Department of Fish and Game diverts fishing and hunting license monies to study climate change

This is excerpts from a column that appeared Sunday by Chico Enterprise-Record editor David Little. To say he’s annoyed would be an understatement, especially when he titles it ‘Another startling episode of ‘Your Tax Dollars At Work’  – Anthony


I fish and I hunt, which means I send about $200 a year to the state for hunting and fishing licenses, tags, stamps and report cards.

Add my wife, daughter and son to the tab, and our house pays probably $500 a year to the state.

It’s a minor annoyance, however, as long as you know that money is going to a good cause. I’d like my money to be spent on increasing the fishing and hunting opportunities for all Californians, and managing fish and game populations so future generations can enjoy the same hunting and fishing traditions, as my children already do.

Money spent by anglers and hunters should benefit fishing and hunting, simple as that.

That’s why I was annoyed Wednesday to see a news release from the state Department of Fish and Game with the subject line: “DFG Launches Climate College to Better Understand, Address Climate Change.”

I learned a lot from this earnest news release. For example, I didn’t know the DFG had a “Climate Science and Renewable Energy Branch.” I always thought the DFG was focused on fish and game, critters and habitat, not windmills and snowpacks. The state has other departments to study that, right?

This Climate College, the DFG proudly noted in its press release, is being launched “to increase climate literacy.” (Huh?) …The release promised “lectures, presentations, online discussions, reading assignments and a final project.” The reward for completing the course? A “certificate of completion.” And “the opportunity to show their final project to DFG leadership.” Oh joy.

The release went on to say: “The college is another initiative that keeps California at the forefront of climate-related planning and action.” OK, maybe there’s a place for that in state government. I don’t think it’s the Department of Fish and Game (emphasis on fish and game).

When Californians forked over $52.9 million last year for fishing licenses and stamps, and $22.7 million for hunting licenses and tags — a grand total of more than $75 million — I’m betting they didn’t think it would be used to help develop a Climate College or to fund the salary of a person called “Climate Change Adviser.”


You can read the press release from DFG here:

DFG Launches Climate College to Better Understand, Address Climate Change

You can visit the “Climate College” here: .

Look at who is involved, its like an episode of Government Gone Wild:

DFG Climate Training Stakeholder Working Group

DFG Climate Science Program, Delta Conservancy, CA Dept. of Water Resources, US Forest Service, Coastal Training Program, PG&E, CA LCC, Coravai LLC, Dr. Robert Kamansky

Not content to have a California Climate College, they have even bigger plans:

The USFWS National Conservation Training Center will roll out the National Climate Academy in October 2012. In the spirit of collaboration DFG is working in partnership with the steering committee to coordinate training activities and materials between the two courses. Both courses compliment each other and build on the need for increased communication and collaboration around climate change.


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Kurt in Switzerland

Kurt in Switzerland

Rob Dawg

Don’t even get me started on the hated Adventure Pass.


What a load of tosh.
And when you buy bread, the TAX should be spent on supporting the growing of more agricultural products, and when you buy a gun or ammunition, the TAX should be spent on buying tanks, stealth figthers and making war in general bla-bla-bla. How well reasoned, isn’t it? The state has the right to do whatever they seem fit with TAX money. Is this really news to anyone? Why would anyone write an article about it, and why would you repost it – only because it somehow got the word “climate” in there? No matter how nonsensical it is? TAX can be spent on anything. In Germany, we have the champagne TAX – it was introduced by the Kaiser to finance the war fleet – one Reichsmark a bottle (later a DM = 0.5 EUR), and we still pay it, even though there is no more Kaiser and we are currently not building a new fleet… just my favourite example amongst the gazillion taxes that “don’t serve their purpose”.
But it is still a befitting example for Americans. You know, if you happen to live in a country that has military presence in +170 countries of some 190 in total, then that money got to come from SOMEWHERE. You spend more money on the military than all those other +190 together (still bitching it is somehow not enough…) — but here you are bemoaning that a few bucks for your hunting license are spent on climate research or whatever. You got other, REAL problems, but the fact that you post this nonsense shows that you are oblivious to them.

Count de Money

The reasons to leave keep piling up, don’t they? Get out while you still have the chance.

Gary Pate

The inmates are running the asylum in my home state.
Make sure you vote for that tax increase our senile governor wants this November.


“Thou shalt not question the consensus nor obstruct it’s Holy Quest… Your contributions are duly noted in the book of penitence…” Religion not allowed in government? Except for GREEN religion. Yeesh.

Rick Bradford

“Both courses compliment each other…”
It would probably be better if the two courses were to “complement” one another, but, hey, this is the post-normal climate world where pal review reigns …..

Claude Harvey

Anyone who has ever dealt with the California Department of Fish and Game to try and pass “environmental review” to permit an energy project will not be surprised at this latest outrage. Of all the governmental agencies I ever had to deal with, DFG was the least honorable and most politically driven by a wide margin.


What’s needed is a fishing and hunting strike statewide and let the politicos make up the difference out of their pockets, preferably from their election funds kitty. You know who they are so kick them out of office as many as possible.


Matt says:
September 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm
Blah blah blah….”The state has the right to do whatever they seem fit with TAX money.”
Well Matt, it is thinking like that which was cause for the existence of the USA. Please stay in Germany where such statist idealogy is welcome. First of all learn the difference between a tax, and a fee, and then begin to understand why it is rational to place limitations on government powers of spending. after reading, (and getting an education) about the ideals on which the USA was founded consider anotherpost and then consider putting in a link to your off topic assertions on military spending. Strange how a european whines like a little girl about US military spending, and then begs the US to deal with a little problem like Lybia.

Wild? You ain’t heard nothing yet.
Get a job as a government lifeguard in California.
$200,000 per anum and chicks for free!


they should be buying snow ploughs for the next ice age

Bob Koss

If license monies are collected as tax, I suppose the government can use as they see fit. If they are collected as fees I would expect them to go to support the activity for which they are being collected.
Luckily I don’t live in California. Not that Connecticut handles its money much better. 🙁

Bill Marsh

Kind of like watching a developing train wreck when you’re watching a State commit suicide like this.
It’s right out of ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’, replete with ‘management buzzwords’.

Brian Johnson uk

Money chasing the Myth that is Anthropogenic Global Warming/Climate Change/Disruption/Hysteria.
When is California going to get a reality check? If ever?

David, UK

Matt says:
September 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm
What a load of tosh.
And when you buy bread, the TAX should be spent on supporting the growing of more agricultural products, and when you buy a gun or ammunition, the TAX should be spent on…

I couldn’t disagree more. Tax bread so the Government can use that tax to support growing more “agricultural products”? How about forgetting the tax, forgetting the subsidies, and letting the market decide the price of bread? Too crazy for some, I guess. As far as I’m concerned, when I buy bread it has nothing – I mean absolutely nothing – to do with the government. I shouldn’t be taxed at all for buying anything. I shouldn’t have to buy a license – aka the Government’s permission – to fish, I shouldn’t have to buy the Government’s permission to watch TV… I could go on with my gripes over Governmental control and theft from the people. But if you accept that these taxes are right then you’ve given up your right to complain about how those taxes are spent. It’s like complaining to a thief that after he squandered your money away on booze instead of something sensible, when you should be saying “That’s MY money, you thieving b@***ard!”

Tim Neilson

You obviously don’t understand how the system works in common law based countries in the Anglosphere, where democracy and limited government have existed for centuries (though are now under threat).
In our countries the power of governments to impose “taxes” is subject to strict controls. They differ from country to country but are designed to ensure that a “tax” is properly approved according to special procedures that don’t apply to other laws. When money is confiscated from citizens otherwise than by a “tax” (or a fine or penalty for some wrongdoing) it is supposed to be done only on the basis that the citizen gets something in return for it. There may not be highly precise rules about exactly what is a “tax” and what isn’t, or what counts as a citizen getting something in return for having their money taken away other than by a “tax”. That’s in part because a good deal of our system of government operates by convention rather than by express rules.
It may well be that in California it is not strictly illegal for money coerced for a hunting or fishing “licence” to be used for “climate college”. However, to anyone who lives in democracies which have the benefit of those long standing freedoms there is something obnoxious about being made to pay a “licence” fee just to do something and then find out that the money is being applied to fund something so far removed from any benefit to the payer of the licence fee.


Maybe Germany would have been better off if our military hadn’t invaded in WWII?
Anyway, here is the description of what the fees are SUPPOSED to go to (pay specific attention to the last line):
California law establishes fishing and hunting license fees each year for the DFG. The base fee for sport fishing licenses established in Fish and Game Code Section 7149 and the fees for validations and most report cards are established in other sections of the FGC or Title 14, of the California Code of Regulations.
The FGC requires license fees adjust in responce to increases (or decreases) in costs of goods and services using an index called the Implicit Price Deflator (Fish and Game Code Section 713). This index is a gauge of the change in the cost of goods and services from year to year.
For example, as hatchery, law enforcement and wildlife management costs have increased, license fees needed to increase to keep pace with these rising costs. Essentially, license fees adjust up and down to compensate for inflation or deflation. If license fees did not adjust for inflation, then funding for fish and wildlife management and protection would actually decrease because the buying power of a dollar has declined over the years.
Generally, the cost of goods and services increases at a fairly steady, slow rate. About two to three percent per year is common. In recent years, some costs have increased dramatically, particularly the cost of fuel. Because of this, the cost of goods and services jumped approximately 6.19% and 2009 license fees increased accordingly. If the cost of goods and services were to decrease, then license fees would actually decrease the same percentage.
Although fishing and hunting license fees have increased throughout the years, the increase ensures that the DFG has adequate funding to manage California’s diverse fish and wildlife resources and provide the public with enjoyable fishing and hunting experiences.
Hmmmmm…..I dont see a Climate College listed in there anywhere…do you?

Alex Heyworth

This IS California you are talking about. The state that should have “State of Insanity” on its licence plates. The state that has 12% of the US population and one third of the welfare recipients. The state that has to find masses of new sinecures every election for the Senators and Members who can’t stand for re-election. The state that on some definitions is technically insolvent.
What do you expect?

The warming alarmists got a hundred billion dollars in federal taxes and its not enough. It only kickstarted The Blob, which will now consume every resource. After all, it has great MORAL URGENCY on its side (regardless of how fraudulent) and hence is simply more important than mere human or animal concerns.


Matt: “You know, if you happen to live in a country that has military presence in +170 countries of some 190 in total, then that money got to come from SOMEWHERE.”
Obviously it comes from hunting and fishing licenses. Which doesn’t seem near as out of place as the Bund keeping about the Kaiser’s Flotilla tax on French flotsam. But good luck to you when elections are next held.

I sort of agree with you. European countries should be left to fend for themsleves. Let them provide for their own securith, because we sure as hell can’t afford to do it for them anymore.

Peter Miller

Governments raise taxes for all sorts of things from various different sources, so spending hunting and fishing license money on other things is no surprise.
The point is that California is bankrupt because of the incredible waste of money spent by dismal management and unscrupulous politicians on trendy green programs, armies of bureaucrats, needless subsidies and croneyism.
So this is just another instance of the above – how long will it be before this ‘Climate College’ is assigned to the dustbin of history? My guess is around 3-5 years. California still has to axe a lot of pointless expenditure before it has any hope of rescuing itself from its present financial mire. When they, or the administrators, start to get serious, then this ‘Climate College’ will be one of the first things to be scrapped.
So this returns me to the point made in this article: Why not spend the money, raised from licenses and permits, on something useful and tangible like preserving California’s fishing and hunting resources for future generations? The problem is this: It is not trendy, nor green, and does not require an army of bureaucrats to administer.


September 10, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Matt says:
I’m not privy as to how you are taxed in Deutschland, Matt, but in many other countries where a licence fee, levy, or tax is raised by a government agency that is not the Tax Department, there is a stated reason for its collection and use. Consolidating it to general revenue and spending it at will is an abuse of the licence, levy or tax.

William Martin in NZ

[snip . . OT . . but interesting enough to post on Tips & Notes . . kbmod]

Go Home

“You got other, REAL problems, but the fact that you post this nonsense shows that you are oblivious to them.”
No, it is not the place to post articles for those other non AGW grievances. This article is perfectly appropriate for this site. For a state like CA to introduce wasteful spending in a deficit ‘climate’ like they have there, is totally mind blowing to me. If they can waste money on this, there is no end to their stupidity and they deserve the ending they will get.
Ooooh, I can’t wait to see the certificate, i want one of those.


Gee Matt we should be good citizens and not question govt unless of course it something you disagree with. Maybe if eu got off their dead beat buts and did something we wouldn’t have to. Remember the African nation that use to be Liberia? Civil war got to protect the innocent and all that. Bush said not our fight. EU begged him to send troops. What a bunch of hypocrits. Hate american muscle and money until
we say no.

Steve Lohr

It isn’t often that I get my back up about this stuff but when they start messing with the money spent by hunters and fishermen, it gets my attention. I lived in California for 17 years. I left 20 years ago because I saw the writing on the wall. Best move I ever made. But, I still have deep connections to the state and I have lots of family living there. The hunting and fishing opportunities in California are really spectacular and they have been nurtured by those who enjoy those opportunities. To have their resources squandered on this stupid global brainwash is a crime. Those of us who pay out for tags and licenses every year do so in good faith. That faith has been broken in California. If I still lived in California and I was having to pay the freight for this garbage, I would skip a year, maybe two years. I would hunt in the Steens or the Rubys, hey Colordo has elk and deer. I am sure you always wanted to do a dream hunt somewhere else. Why, Wyoming is going to have some really cheap wolf hunts. It could be fun. And, it is an opportunity to flex your economic muscle and set the record straight. Those whackos in Sacramento need to know who butters their bread.


. . and Liberia originated how exactly? If there is any external power in the world that should be responsible for Liberia it’s the USA. And it is still a member of the UN, so it didn’t used to be Liberia, it still is Liberia.
But back to Matt’s point – fees are not taxes and are usually ringfenced. Taxes may or may not be hypothecated; politicians hate hypothecated taxes, so almost all aren’t.
On the face of it this use of licence fees seems like an abuse. It will have to be left to your US lawyers to figure that one out.


Next, I suggest that policemen should study the effect of climate on crime, instead of gun training or crowd control seminars. One course could address urban heat islands and the effect on crime statistics. Oh, I forgot—there is no UHI effect: cities are actually the same temperature as adjacent rural areas. Mann, Hansen, Madonna and Trenberth said so.

Bloke down the pub

The govt. in CA are really losing it when they start to piss off the people with guns, In the UK, the govt. get worried when they get handbagged by grannies.

You’re all forgetting the DoFG’s crusade to save the delta smelt from evil farmers. Bill Marsh mentioned the ‘Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy’, which had its own little fish, the Babel fish. The delta smelt should be renamed the babble fish, babble being what passes for intelligent discourse amongst those in California who would bankrupt the “Sunshine State” in the name of something which is never defined – “sustainability”.

Jack Simmons

So PETA and other groups in California still allow people to hunt and fish in California?


Hey guys, Libya is different from Liberia. Libya is large, up on the north coast next to Egypt. Liberia is small, down on the southwest, Atlantic coast of West Africa.
California is three bats left of the moon.

Makes me want to check where my license fees in Virginia go. Like most folks I assume they go so support hunting, fishing and other wildlife resources but I never check. My guess is Kalifornia believes it can get away with diverting funds because people won’t check on where the money goes.


The college does have to do with hunting and fishing. The next step will be to require hunters and fishermen to go there, before they get their licence. It is called a reeducation camp. The last step is to require hunters and fishermen to go there, and then not let them out.
This has actually happened in other parts of the world. However California thinks, “It can’t happen here.” (Frank Zappa)


Agree with Matt.
Income tax isn’t spent just on economic development. Taxes are taxes.
p.s. The idea of a fishing license is alien and bizarre to me.


Would be interesting to see if they are allowed by California law or thats it in their remit to do this with license money,would of thought any monies taken by this agency would be have to used for
the betterment of those paying it in the first place?


Wow, someone will be telling me next that our car tax in the UK does not all go on road maintenance. I wonder if hunting and fishing are related in some strange way to the environment and climate? Tax is tax, you can call it a ‘fee’ you can call it anything you like, it goes into the same coffers. I would also caution Europeans against commenting on Fee/Tax affairs in the US. In Europe they are seen as a necessarry evil, in much of the US they are seen as completely unacceptable except to fund very basic services and the military. Politics in the US are completely different to those of Europe and not really comparable.


Strange how a european whines like a little girl about US military spending, and then begs the US to deal with a little problem like Lybia.

And Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.

This is so foreign to what I expect in New Hampshire. I don’t hunt or fish, but don’t grumble about the fairly recent parking permit fee in the White Mountains.
Our Fish & Game department is so strapped for money that they try to get reimbursed from the idiots who go hiking completely unprepared for delays from weather, darkness, lack of maps, etc.
They also refused to admit there are Mountain Lions in NH, we suspect because they don’t want to spend money on educational programs on what to do when you see one. Then one of the rangers saw one and now the official line is the only lions are escaped pets.
F&G does okay with the rest of their stuff. About the only “waste” has been free distribution of “I brake for moose” bumper stickers. And that was a pretty efficient educational project.
Maybe DFG can make one that says “I’d rather be walking.”


Nice to see that ‘Both courses compliment each other’ – perhaps they have a budget to send each other admiring emails or for advertisements telling each other how wonderful they are.

Henry Clark

This Climate College, the DFG proudly noted in its press release, is being launched “to increase climate literacy.” …The release promised “lectures, presentations, online discussions, reading assignments and a final project.”
Reading between the lines, that sounds like a program for paid vacations from doing any productive work, except worse than simple amicable corruption as rather a diseducation campaign of indoctrinating with propaganda from the usual dishonest sources.
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
— usually attributed to Mark Twain
Advancing partisan agendas is not the proper usage of tax dollars. Anything superficially labeled as “education” sometimes faces an Emperor’s New Clothes situation of almost nobody wanting to seem less than respectful; in reality, some types of educational spending have contributed greatly to the beneficial advancement of industrialized technological civilization — but others are of net harm starting from opportunity costs in allocation of limited economic resources. Bit by bit, waste (and worse than simple waste like this) adds up to contribute to harming the economy and society.

lurker passing through, laughing

AGW corruption expands until it either meets strong resistance or absorbs all resources available.
I would sue the state of California for violating the reason the money was designated to be collected for.
Maybe even a petition for a ballot initiative to force the state to spend money as designed.
AGW is a social madness that is inherently destructive.


Another misdirected agency–yesterday I read an article (on AOL News) about NASA’s new ship to study the unexpected and completely unexplained ocean salinity changes. NASA? Really? This was linked to global warming (of course). Doesn’t NASA have another job?

Luther Wu

I recall a cross- country flight during the Arab Oil Embargo of ’73 during which a fellow passenger from Germany was going on and on about the German superiority of this and that and especially of German ideas of government. Not being very politically savvy yet, at the age of 22, I didn’t have much to say to counter that blowhard until he started talking about the superiority of German oil and gas ownership by the state. I finally got him to shut up by simply asking “where are the great German oil discoveries and oilfields around the world? What are the great German innovations in oil extraction and transport”?
By the way Matt, do you happen to recall the reason that there has been a continuous US military presence in in your country since 1945? Those in the know make a good case that our presence is needed now, as much as any time in past.
Matt, your thinking, and that of some of your countrymen whom I have encountered over the years, leads me to believe that the sentiment is correct.
Some people just never get it.

Tom in Florida

From the Declaration of Independence:
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
How much longer are we to suffer the evils of our own government?


Perhaps the chicken or the egg question. Government that has no boundary will propagate its own demise. How can sane-objective scientific minds find or produce any resolve in a centralized system that refuses resolve-solution? Government – “Government is not reason, nor eloquence. It is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master” George Washington.

Jim R

You need a license in the States to kill things? For me, killing anything for a laugh is what Americans did, no matter how it’s dressed up. Killing things for entertainment is just wrong. I think that’s why I have such a problem with this blogspot. The science is disappearing and polemic is flowering; in the garden of contributors, all the flowers lean to the right and libertarian. Very scientific.


Is there any country in the world that actually taxes *bread*?
None that I know of.