The Jr. Elk Hunt co-sponsored by CRF and San Fernando Valley RMEF was a fairy tale hunt with everything coming together like clockwork. This hunted is funded with a generous state grant from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and volunteers from the San Fernando Valley chapter provide the guiding, spotting and field grunt work. One lucky junior hunter gets selected for this hunt by random drawing in the CDFW “La Panza” district Tule elk tag draw which normally has about 200+ applicants each year. (Other Tule elk tags (11) are also available for the Lan Panza area. 6 elk are taken of the Chimineas each year. There is no non-resident draw.)
This year junior hunter Wyatt Villa and his father Frank were expertly guided by volunteer Jake Sheffield to an early one-shot harvest of a nice cow on opening day, Saturday, October 10th. This opening morning stalk was conducted within 1,000 yards of the Chimineas Feedlot Pond, a prior wildlife water project financed by an RMEF grant. The few RMEF volunteers permitted by Covid-19 induced social distancing requirements easily helped with the recovery by ATV right near a jeep trail.
The elk cow harvested had an ear tag. Subsequent research indicated that this 2 year old cow, ear tag #1191, was captured & transported from San Luis NWR on 2/01/2019 and released on the CPER. Part of a herd reduction program at the Refuge and a genetic diversity boost for the Chimineas.
As is normal CDFW policy for apprentice hunts on Chimineas, once the primary hunt is done and all the recovery and processing complete, if there is time available then the junior hunter is also allowed to hunt wild pig. Young Wyatt wasted no time in scoring on that target as well. Congratulations to the Wyatt family!
Food service for the weekend was a challenge with rooms in the ranch house restricted to one person or family group. No indoor meal service either. Pop-ups and an inventive chef, SFV chapter Chair John Dodson, made it all work. Nice weather and good comrades made the weekend just about perfect.
Once again, as has normally been the case over the years, this family was not an RMEF family and the son was gifted a membership and the family introduced to RMEF for the first time.