Grizzly Island Wildlife Area Closed for Annual Tule Elk Hunt
The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will close parts of Grizzly Island Wildlife Area July 31 through Sept. 22 for the annual tule elk hunt. The Fish and Game Commission has authorized 40 tags for this hunt: 38 by lottery (including three new junior tags) and two by auction. Only people authorized by DFG will be allowed on the Solano County wildlife area during this time.
Tule elk are native to California. At one time there were more than 500,000 roaming the Central Valley and woodland areas of California. By 1860, however, disruption of the tule elk’s habitat and the demand for their meat by Gold Rush prospectors reduced the populations to only a few animals.
Since the 1970s, DFG has worked to re-establish herds and California’s statewide tule elk population has now rebounded to more than 3,800 animals in 22 different herds. The Grizzly Island tule elk herd started from seven animals, which were relocated from Tupman (Kern County) in 1977. In the absence of predators and disease on the wildlife area, herd numbers increased beyond optimal levels. The Grizzly Island Wildlife Area herd size is approximately 150.
Hunting and relocation programs are intended to maintain tule elk herd populations at the desired size, which helps prevent health and food supply problems. Five successful capture efforts have taken place at Grizzly Island, resulting in the relocation of more than 160 elk to other areas in California. DFG will continue to relocate tule elk as suitable habitat sites are identified. However, suitable habitat sites are becoming more difficult to find and relocation is expensive. The state’s tule elk hunting program generates dollars that fund capture, relocation and establishment of new herds statewide.
During Grizzly Island’s closure, DFG recommends visiting the following alternate areas for hiking, nature viewing, dog training and fishing opportunities within the Suisun Marsh:
- Hill Slough Wildlife Area, located on Grizzly Island Road, off Highway 12 in Suisun, prior to the one-lane bridge;
- Peytonia Slough Ecological Reserve, located at the foot of Kellogg Street in Suisun City, near the marina;
- Belden’s Landing Fishing Access and Boat Launch Ramp, located on Grizzly Island Road; and,
- Island Slough Fishing Access, located on Grizzly Island Road.
For more information, call Grizzly Island Wildlife Area at (707) 425-3828.