January/February 2012 EBJ (Issue 69) - Hunting elk in my home state of California has been a dream of mine since I started hunting at the age of 12. For the last 14 years, I have religiously applied to hunt all species of big game in California, never missing a single year. Each year, the big game draw has left me disappointed, until this year. A friend of mine called to share that the draw results were up early, so I finished up work and went home to check the results. I had drawn one of the few and highly coveted Roosevelt elk tags in California.
When I was 18, I moved to northern California to study wildlife at Humboldt State University. I was excited to be on the north coast, and able to capitalize on my love for the outdoors. Students earning a degree in wildlife mangement are expected to complete a senior project. I chose to do my study on the herd dynamics of Roosevelt elk in the area. During the time I was in school, and especially when working on my project, I realized that one area in particular had the potential for producing big Roosevelt elk. The herd genetics were first class, and I spent the last six years videotaping and taking pictures of these magnificent animals.