California is the only state that offers all three subspecies of elk. You have the choice of applying for Tule elk, Roosevelt elk, or Rocky Mountain elk. The bad news is that there is only one elk permit for any species available to non-residents in the California draw. That means that once an elk tag is drawn by a non-resident, all of the other elk tags will be issued to residents. With only one elk tag available, we only cover the top units in the state as there is no reason to be applying for a subpar unit. If you are in the market for a Rocky Mountain or Roosevelt elk, there are a lot better states to accomplish that goal in. If California elk is a passion of yours, make sure you check out our July issue where we cover more information about the SHARE program that allows non-residents another shot at one of these coveted permits.
California is the only state that has Tule elk available. Your options are to apply in the draw for the one non-resident elk permit, which will have horrible draw odds, or buy a guided hunt with a landowner tag, which can run over $30,000. Grizzly Island has the worst draw odds in the state for Tule elk, but it is a great hunt for a mature bull on public land. There are many good rifle hunts in the Owens Valley, including Lone Pine and Bishop as well as the Owens Valley multiple zone archery permit. If you have stock or are prepared to hike into wilderness country for a Tule bull, the Cache Creek unit will have plenty of elk. One thing to think about with Tule elk is broken and chipped points. Most Tule elk rut in July and then it tails off in August, so you will need to plan on looking over a few bulls to locate one that is intact.
If you want to apply for Rocky Mountain or Roosevelt elk, California has decent hunting for both in the northern portion of the state. The Northeastern unit is the only one for Rocky Mountain elk, but there are a few units for Roosevelt elk. The Siskiyou, Northwestern, and Marble Mountains are all Roosevelt elk units, with the best unit for public land access being Marble Mountains. If you are already buying the license, you might as well spend the $8.13 and apply for elk. We encourage all hunters who are already applying in California to apply for Tule elk.
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The California Elk application deadline is June 2, 2022
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|Adult Hunting License||$188.74|
|Junior Hunting License (under 16)||$14.30|
|Application Fee per Species (sheep, elk, and antelope)||$8.13|
|Deer Permit (refundable if unsuccessful)||$317|
|Bighorn Sheep Permit||$1,736.75|
|Wild Pig Permit (OTC)||$86.97|
|Bear Permit (OTC)||$334.05|
California Elk Hunting Articles from Huntin' Fool Magazine