The Tule Elk Hunt of 2010 

State officials allowed East Bay's tule elk herd to be hunted even though some environmentalists say the number of animals is in decline.

The East Bay's tule elk herd draws visitors to the Sunol region throughout the year. But some environmentalists say the herd has recently been in decline. They suspect that illegal poaching of the large, majestic animals near Sunol and Ohlone Regional Wilderness parks has caused their numbers to drop to fewer than sixty. So it came as a big surprise when the California Department of Fish and Game recently allowed a legal hunt of the East Bay herd for the first time in more than a century.

John Krause, a Fish and Game wildlife biologist, said that the agency opened up the East Bay herd to hunting this year because the agency's surveys are different than those done by environmentalists. They show the herd is not getting smaller and that it remains substantial. But he also said that no elk was killed in the official hunt.

Still, some environmentalists believe Fish and Game acted hastily. "I think they have this philosophy of 'Let's provide maximum opportunity for hunters,'" said Jeff Miller, executive director of the Alameda Creek Alliance, who has been monitoring the Sunol tule elk herd for years. "The agency is primarily concerned with providing hunting and fishing opportunities."

A few years ago, Miller was instrumental in protecting the elk herd from a planned new rock quarry in Sunol. But he and other environmentalists didn't learn of the hunt until after it began. The department had quietly alerted experienced hunters that it was opening up the Sunol herd for hunting and would issue one hunting tag. That meant hunters would have to apply and then the department issued one license to a single hunter. Killing one elk out of a herd of about sixty may not sound bad, but the consequences could have been devastating.

The reason is that the hunting tag was for an adult male. And herds typically have very few adult males, because the dominant ones run them off. What's left is a single male with twenty to thirty females in a harem, meaning a herd of sixty males may only have two or three adult males. The hunt itself was only allowed on private property. Miller said he heard reports that private land owners in the Sunol area were offering up to $5,000 to hunt on their property.

Over the next several months, Miller and other environmentalists plan to carefully review Fish and Game's official reasons for allowing the hunt — once they become clearer. Miller said they then may either heavily lobby the agency not to allow hunting again next year — or attempt to convince the department to change its rules.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Eco Watch

  • Jerry Brown's Cap-and-Trade Program Isn't Working

    California's greenhouse gas emissions declined last year. But it was primarily due to the rainy weather — not the governor's climate policies.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • The Return of the Crematorium

    Overburdened with air pollution, East Oakland residents and activists thought they had blocked a crematorium from opening in 2012. But it quietly began operations a few months ago.
    • Nov 15, 2017
  • Living Dangerously

    As Californians increasingly build homes near forests and in wildland areas, the number of fires and their destructive force threaten to intensify.
    • Oct 25, 2017
  • More »

Author Archives

  • Why Oakland Should Cut Off ICE

    Federal immigration officials say they've been investigating "human trafficking" in the city. But in the past decade, they have not imprisoned anyone from Oakland for that crime.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • Get Away and Spread Some Cheer

    Here are some beautiful getaway spots for this holiday season that also could use your help.
    • Nov 22, 2017
  • More»

Most Popular Stories

  • Davis Dysfunction Dooms Raiders Again

    Mark Davis’ head-scratching decision to move the team to Las Vegas has proven to be a major distraction for the team.
  • Highland Hospital Surveillance Stirs Concerns

    The county's main hospital in Oakland has a camera that reads license plates and shares that information with federal law enforcement, including ICE.
  • The Wrong Path?

    Paideia helped turn Oakland Tech into the best public high school in the city. But some teachers and parents are worried about the future of the acclaimed humanities program.
  • Why Oakland Should Cut Off ICE

    Federal immigration officials say they've been investigating "human trafficking" in the city. But in the past decade, they have not imprisoned anyone from Oakland for that crime.
  • Jerry Brown's Cap-and-Trade Program Isn't Working

    California's greenhouse gas emissions declined last year. But it was primarily due to the rainy weather — not the governor's climate policies.

Special Reports

Holiday Guide 2017

A guide to this holiday season's gifts, outings, eats, and more.

Taste, Fall 2017

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation