California Department of Fish and Wildlife

2007 Tupman Tule Elk State Reserve Capture

The Tule Elk State Reserve is located in the southwestern part of the San Joaquin Valley, 20 miles west of Bakersfield and 3 miles west of Interstate 5. The area is flat and open and consists of short grasses and a very small amount of riparian habitat. The Tupman Tule Elk State Reserve is a 956 acre fenced enclosure and is part of what was once the historical range of free roaming tule elk.

The purpose of this capture was to relocate approximately 10-20 tule elk and transport them to the Department owned Chimineas Ranch in San Luis Obispo County and Grizzly Island Wildlife Area in Solano County.

To achieve this, two methods were used. The first targets were bulls. These were chemical immobilized via free-range darting. They were then brought in for processing and analysis. The second method used a large corral trap built on the Reserve with the aid of Department employees and RMEF volunteers. The trap was then baited daily to attract the cows and calves into the corral area.

All captured elk were marked with both plastic and metal ear tags. There were 11 bulls, 15 cows and 12 calves relocated. Approximately half of the elk were fitted with either VHF transmitting ear tags or VHF transmitting collars.