As this is written in late September, a bull that green-scored 372 has been taken, making it the largest elk ever killed on Santa Rosa. As for mule deer, several 30-inchers have been harvested this year, along with a couple of very good nontypicals. The best buck so far this season scored 183 SCI, well up in the book. All considered, the elk season here was the best since MUM started hunts on Santa Rosa in 1979 and the mule deer harvest was extremely good. The good news is the best may be yet to come.
Why...? As we pointed out in our previous report, the increase in trophy quality is linked to the recent removal of all the grazing cattle on the island, a move mandated by the federal government as Santa Rosa is integrated into Channel Islands National Park. The removal of the cattle has resulted in improved forage and thus improved trophy quality, a trend that should continue until hunting comes to an end in 2004 (in the case of mule deer) and 2007 (in the case of elk). The absolute deadline for the removal of all of the elk and deer is 2011, but populations of both animals are mandated to shrink so sharply that viable hunting programs will cease in the indicated years, Long says.
In previous reports, we have pointed out the tragedy of removing elk and deer from Santa Rosa, but the federal government is adamant on the issue, because neither of the animals........(continued)