There aren't many hunts that have been in continuous operation by the same outfitter since this newsletter was founded in 1981. There are fewer still that have maintained a consistent high standard of quality during that time. That's part of what makes the upcoming closure of Wayne Long's hunt for Roosevelt elk and mule deer on Santa Rosa Island so sad. The rest of what makes it sad is the fact that its closure involves the totally unnecessary destruction of a vibrant herd of game. I'll have much more to say on all that in a moment. First, though, a bit of background. Santa Rosa Island, for the sake of those who haven't been there, is a mountainous 53,000-acre island off the coast of southern California. Largely treeless and almost devoid of indigenous wildlife, the island's glory is its thriving population of Roosevelt elk and mule deer. The former were brought to the island almost a century ago from the Olympic Peninsula of Washington and the latter from the famed Kaibab Forest in Utah.
When Wayne Long of Multiple Use Managers was invited to the island in 1978 as a wildlife consultant, the animals had been hunted only occasionally and sporadically by the owners of the island and invited guests of the owners. He began limited commercial hunting for both species the following year and, since then, has produced a steady stream of satisfied hunters. Most of the elk taken from the island on trophy hunts are 6 x 6's that make the SCI Record Book in the Roosevelt elk category. The mule deer tend to be wide-racked, with some cracking the magic 30-inch mark, but not overly tall. All considered, the hunts on Santa Rosa Island are near-perfect gems. Hunters stay in the comfortable old ranch-house headquarters of the island owners and hunt daily from a network of dirt tracks that twist and climb around the island. The scenery is breath-taking. Fit hunters can hike and climb to their heart's content. Less-fit hunters can glass from the back of a four-wheel-drive and dismount only for the stalk and kill. The island is large........(continued)