Somebody from the Alamea Creek Alliance would like to put an end to the Alameda County tule elk hunt. Check out their reasoning on their web site at: http://www.alamedacreek.org/Alerts/Tule%20Elk%20Hunt/Tule%20Elk%20Hunt.htm
I disagree with their conclusion, but I also believe their information is inaccurate. They comment that the hunt could interfere with breeding as it takes place during the end of the elk rut. That’s close, but most of the breeding goes on in August. (The hunt takes place in October.)In August, many of the elk concentrate near Maguire Peaks in a valley that is very private, but it’s close to the Sunol and proposed Apperson Ridge quarry. That’s the quarry supported by the Alameda Creek Alliance – a quarry that will just about eliminate the best tule elk habitat in Alameda County.
They also claim that the hunting will disrupt breeding because the hunter will be looking for the largest mature bull in the herd. Yes, the hunter will likely do that, but in October the bulls are dispersed and hang out in batchelor groups separated from the cows. Even if one of the mature bulls were to be killed during the rut, which they won’t, another bull would be happy to step right in. Therefore, their premise is wrong on several counts.
Habitat loss is the biggest enemy of tule elk. Hunting, in comparison, does nothing but enhance their chances for survival. Hunting creates a reason to manage tule elk and creates value in the eyes of humans. Establishing an economic and emotional tie to wildlife makes it relevant. When wildlife is relevant it has a better chance of competing with human habitat – human habitat which is typically not compatible with elk. The Alameda Creek Alliance has its own plan for tule elk. http://www.alamedacreek.org/Press_Releases/Final%20Apperson%20Agreement%20PR%205-21-09.pdf
The Alameda Creek Alliance doesn’t own or control the elk, or any other wildlife, especially big game species which are managed by the State of California. It could be that their interest is more centered on building their organization than a good faith effort to create wildlife habitat. Only their insiders know for sure if this is the case. They do plan to receive money from the Quarry developers in return for blessing the project to go ahead.
Here’s a quote from the agreement between the developer (Oliver-DeSilva Comany) and the Alliance (aka The Center For Biological Diversity, CBD).
The Alliance cannot legally manage elk without permission from the California Department of Fish and Game, an organization that understands big game management and the significance of a hunting program. If the Alliance were to work with the state, do an about face and incorporate hunting into their program, a plan to conserve and protect the Apperson Ridge tule elk herd would become feasible and enabled.
Its been proven that with a hunting program in place, a tule elk herd can survive. Without hunting, they’ll be irrelevant and endangered.