"I'm glad it's legal," he told Western Outdoor News at the time. He sent the conservative site a giant photo of himself grinning ear to ear, holding up a 110-pound cat like a kid would a stuffed panda at a pop-up carnival.
And later, his nail-in-coffin remark to L.A. radio hosts John and Ken: "It doesn't taste like chicken. The closest thing is pork loin. It's a white meat. It's really good."
Needless to say, he was immediately attacked by every shade of the left -- from animal-rights crazies to some of the Legislature's most mainstream Democrats. "This originates from the enviro-terrorists," Richards told the San Jose Mercury News. (And in some cases, the comments over at Western Outdoor News did get a little terroristy. "This Red Neck should be killed on site!!!!"; "Wish he had frozen to death in the frezing cold in Idaho"; "Hope you die in misery"; etc.)
So, although Fish and Game commissioners haven't explained specifically why they decided to vote Richards down from his throne today, it was clearly a symbolic move to kill the human who killed the beast.
"The president of the commission should be someone who has the confidence of a majority of his peers," Mike Sutton, vice president, told the Mercury News leading up to the vote.
Richards was playing the feisty right-wing ideologue at the beginning of this battle, but he has since became strangely resigned to his ousting.
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He looked on as the commission changed its own internal election policy in May so that they might replace Richards. And today, a Fish and Game Commission spokesman tells us that Richards himself took part in the unanimous vote to elect Commissioner Jim Kellogg as his replacement.
The ex-prez, appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger (surprise, surprise) in 2008, will remain on the commission until his term ends in six months. But from there, he tells the Mercury News: "I think there is a zero chance that Jerry Brown will appoint me, so it doesn't matter what I think. He has his hands full with shoplifters and other thugs in the Legislature."
Pretty morbid, right? Let this be a lesson for all trigger-happy Republicans who dare to dream of swimming against California's blue tide: We'll eat your grin for dinner.