California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Management of California's Elk

Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel have safely captured and relocated more than 1,200 elk since 1975 using a variety of capture techniques, including chemical immobilization of individual elk, hazing groups of elk into winged corral traps, baiting elk in small corral traps, and chemical/physical restraint of animals using a helicopter and dart- or net-gun operation.

The efficacy of a particular capture technique is determined by various factors such as safety, cost, desired age/sex structure of the capture group, and purpose of the capture (e.g., translocation, biological testing, or marking). The statewide tule elk population has increased from three herds totaling 500 elk in 1970, to 21 herds with approximately 3800 elk today. Such an increase clearly demonstrates that, overall, the Department has effectively captured tule elk, and that the reintroduction program has been a tremendous success.