You've probably heard of the world-class Roosevelt elk and mule deer hunting on Santa Rosa Island off the coast of California, and you may have dismissed the hunting there as being out of your reach financially. At $8,000 for a trophy elk and $4,000 for a mule deer, this hunting indeed is too expensive for a lot of people. But get this - you now can hunt an elk here for half the normal price ($4,000). To be sure, the animal you will be allowed to take for that price is a so-called management bull that doesn't pass muster as a super-trophy. It will nonetheless be a darn fine elk, and you will be able to hunt it in an area that is on track to be closed forever to hunting. In fact, your hunt for a management animal will be part of the effort to remove all of the elk from Santa Rosa, which was purchased by the National Park Service in the late 1980s and incorporated into the Channel Islands National Monument. At present, elk hunting will be allowed until 2010 and deer hunting until 2007. The hunting operation is run by Multiple Use Managers, founded and operated by Wayne Long.
Santa Rosa is a mountainous 54,000-acre island about 45 miles offshore of Oxnard, California. As a condition of the island's sale, the Park Service allowed the previous landowners to graze cattle until 1998. The removal of the cattle coincided with El Niño conditions which resulted in winter rains well above normal, creating excellent habitat conditions. Consequently, the elk and deer hunting has been top notch. Hunter success here is virtually 100 percent. The management bulls on Santa Rosa are animals that have passed their prime or have broken tines. Many of them have excellent racks, but just don't score high enough to warrant a trophy bull rating. All hunts are for four days and include virtually everything once you reach the Island.