Your Voice: Elk hunt a black eye
by Chico Juarez, Tracy
Jul 06, 2012 | 6156 views | 31 31 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
EDITOR,

There is killing happening in the hills of Tracy.

In my opinion, the hunting of Tule elk is nothing more than legalized poaching. A recent article in the Stockton Record referred to the Tule elk as a Mark Connolly’s elk. Does he own them? These are God’s creatures, not his to do whatever he chooses.

The article also stated he “maintains” the elk with “his agreement” with the state. Is it Connolly who set the bounty of $10,500 dollars per elk? To what kind of “agreement” are we referring? Is the good old boy network still in effect? Was it a backdoor agreement?

That’s all this kill is, just a big game — who benefits from the big-game hunting? Connolly also stated that the elk “don’t like people contact very much.” These big game hunters wouldn’t like people contact if they were getting shot at with a high-powered rifle. Do we have a new group? The new TRAQKE? The Tracy Region Alliance for Quality Killing of Elk? What’s next, agreements to put up bounty and hunt the kit fox?

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Me-tu
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July 09, 2012
" the fate of the sons of men and the

fate of beasts is the same; as one dies,

so dies the other...and man has no

advantage over the beasts; for all is

vanity"
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 09, 2012
People of Tracy,

Is this the same lawyer that was involved in an attempt to shut down the nearby Carnegie Park?

Was, then, state Lt Gov Garamendi in Sacramento, in charge of these state parks?

How does the state give you a herd of tule elk?

How does the state attempt to shut down a neighboring park?

Of course, he is now in Washi gton, right?
shelly13
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July 06, 2012
The problem with many of your theories is that the people coming here to hunt are not doing it because they need the food. They are not out hunting to put food on their table. They don't need to if they can afford to pay that amount to hunt. It is all for sport. It's all about "the thrill of the hunt" and their EGO. Nothing more.
ertion
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July 07, 2012
Do you eat meat? You don't need to eat meat to survive or even be healthy. Are you more virtuous than the hunter because you pay a butcher to kill for you?

You appear to be upset about the amount of money involved in this hunt, even though it is a transaction between two willing parties and really of no concern to any of us what amount they settle on. You also appear to be upset that the hunter enjoys the process of acquiring his venison. Why do you want to deprive others of their legitimate enjoyments?

Mr. Conolly makes money, the hunter acquires some very expensive venison, and the elk population is kept stable. Basically, everyone who has a stake (steak?) in this wins. Bon appetit.

Bird_Man
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July 09, 2012
Shelly - Do you have some sort of ax to grind with hunters? Or just wealthy hunters?

How do you know that wealthy hunters aren't taking the meat and putting it on their table or the tables of friends that are less fortunate financially? Perhaps you imply that because they are people 'of means' that they don't have to hunt to put meat on the table?

Rich hunter or poor hunter (I am one of the latter)... hunting IS thrilling. So is fishing. I love getting out and going after big game. When I was younger, I used a rifle and scope. Now I use a bow. I worry more about my shots today because I don't want to simply injure and animal. If I am going to fire, it needs to go down. It means that I have also developed enough skill to stalk and approach prey. You know what, I often end up just taking a nice ride and walk in the forest and go home empty handed. Rich hunters do too. I hunt with a bow and THAT is ego. I have gotten good and I know it. Not sorry either.

I hunt for the food. I don't have one pelt or head on the wall. Wife won't allow it. But, I don't need trophies when I have the memories.

Try killing what YOU eat and see how humbling it can be regardless of wealth.
shelly13
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July 09, 2012
Yep I love meat!

My point was to the commenting people who said the people who go there go to hunt do so for the food and I believe that they go for the sport.

I never said I was more virtuous. I simply believe (right or wrong) that if you hunt food, you should use it/eat it. I don't like the hunt solely for sport.

I also do not like the Connolly's. I don't think they are interested in what is best for Tracy, only what is beneficial to them.
Bird_Man
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July 09, 2012
OK Shelly... Thanks for clearing that up.

I love meat as well. I hunt for food. Since I enjoy it, it might also be for sport too because I COULD go to a butcher and buy what I end up taking. I just like doing it myself. Since my primary focus is food, it seems you could appreciate hunters such as myself.

I do get where you are coming from though. Don't know if you will believe this but I have never met a hunter that didn't want the meat after the kill. I am sure you are correct though that they exist.

As for the Connolly's... Don't know them. Wouldn't be fair to agree with you on that. The only thing I 'know' is what the Press prints and that is not always a clear story IMHO. So I will just leave it.

Thanks again for commenting back. I get what you are saying. I will say that IF I could afford that hunt, I would probably give it a go. It sure sounds like a once in a lifetime experience.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 10, 2012
Bird_Man,

I have nothing against McBurgers or anything, but I doubt that you could pack all that meat on the freezer at the airplane at the Tracy Airport, then fly back to Montana and recover the $10,500 (let alone the previous pricet at over $14,000).

My guess is the lawsuit against the adjacent motorcycle park was fot sport too and they lost that lawsuit because the motorcycle park was there first. Kinda seems like a dumb place for sibling parks that dont quite mesh well if you ask me but the newspaper wont talk about that, so I guess we will never really know.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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July 13, 2012
RHCP

All a part of connectin th dots. (Th motorcycle off road park)

Oh, an it's not all that difficult or expensive ta ship meat around th country an even most poor hunters can get er done.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 15, 2012
Ornley_Gumfudgen,

I would like you to google this article in the Independant News, titled, Lawsuit Forces State to Follow Environmental Rules at Carnegie.

Then tell me why ertion thinks it is ok for the state to give 14k to the neighbor's water pond, who said couple more lawsuits will close Carnegie for good, in an email.

Sounds to me like you would have had to have a brother in Sacto to get a deal like that?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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July 17, 2012
RHCP

Ya wrote,"Sounds to me like you would have had to have a brother in Sacto to get a deal like that?"

Ya would be right.

Ta be shore Carnegie was afoul of an environmental law but it was corrected an if push comes ta shove it was th state in violation of its own law. That bein corrected ain't a valid reason ta shut th park down.

Additionally, if ya want an eyeopener concarnin illegal activities on th part of th ranch go look at th law suits surroundin th issue of a patented mine located on th property whair th mine owners have repeatedly been denied access ta th mine in violation of law.

Seems ta me if yer talkin about obeyin law ya should obey all of em an not just th ones that personally benefit ya.

An when ya got family members in high places of CA government, say an attorney general, it seems ya can get law ta favor ya a tad bit more than th next guy, just sayin.

RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 17, 2012
My thoughts too. And if (and that is an if) ertion is right about the state of CA giving $14,000 hunting permits so that land owners can trample on state regulated water issues (as precedented in the Carnegie lawsuit) as you mentioned)?

Something does not add up.

I would think there is enough forestry available that the State of California could allow the tule elk to roam free without issueing permits.

Big brother is watching from his congressional district now? Doesn't the tule elk hunting ranch straddle both Alemeda County and San Joaquin County?

And then there is the Measure A mess and the lawsuits against the swim center.

If somebody wants to take a collection to hire a lawyer to investivate. I would throw some money in the hat. We all know the paper wont say anything because they played a part in some of the lawsuits.

rotten
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July 06, 2012
Who benefits from big game hunting? These animals feed families. Didn't your God hunt to feed the people?? Elk and any animals hunted are healthier for you to eat and feed you for almost a year if not more. Sometimes there is so much meat you share it with others. I will remember if there is ever a state of emergency and no food remains, that you will pass your share of the food onto someone else. By the way, I hope your not having steak tonight, because, those cows are treated much worse than the Elk Mr. Connolly's harvest.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 09, 2012
Is that right?

"Mark V. Connolly is President and operates Connolly Ranch, Inc., a 9,000 acre 330 head cow/calf operation located in San Joaquin and Alameda Counties."?

Connollylaw.net?
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 31, 2012
So, "rotten",

Tell us about treatment of cows again?

Did you place that order for your locally (Alameda) grown steaks yet?
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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July 06, 2012
Old news really. But not th whole story by a long shot. Ta get a better picture requires a day be spent lookin over county public records an th thangs that have been goin on without much in th way of public awareness. Then when ya know th histories yer in a better position as ta decide how ya really feel about it. Parhaps if people really knew what has been goin on in th past they would have a much different reaction. But few people seem ta be interested in really knowin what went on an are all too ready ta give thair allegiances based on feelins instead of facts.
ertion
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July 08, 2012
Ornry: There are two different issues here:

1. The fact that Connolly has a right to sell his depredation permit and the hunter has a right to buy it.

2. HOW Mr. Connolly acquired the elk herd in the first place, which you described awhile back in this thread: http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/11660490/article-Your-Voice--Say-’bye-to-swim-center?

In particular, you stated:

"Mark [Connolly], an attorney, sued Safeway because he claimed it was bein built atop an endangered species habitat fer th San Joaquin Valley Kit Fox..

Anyway, a part of th payoff was a three way deal whair Safeway coughed up th money ta relocate this habitat..an Mark, workin with California Game an Fish got himself th reintroduced herd of tulle elk ta manage on his 11 square mile parcel of land.

Now with that management of these greenies get ta sponsor special hunts ta th tune of $10,000 per harvested animal."

I don't dispute the unsavoriness with which Connolly got his position over the elk herd. You could have spelled this out though, instead of rambling incoherently.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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July 13, 2012
ertion

Why? Ya spelled it out just th way I wanted ya to in order ta get my point across.

Th Ornley "Ramble" is one of intent ta make people start thankin fer themselves rather than bein spoon fed information all thair lives.

Th problem I have with what's goin on with th hunt is a matter of connectin th dots. Th hunt is but one dot in a carefully designed dot system that mainly is funded with public moneys fer personal profits an it has been goin on fer years.

Fer one thairs th simple matter of a term called double dippin. Ya don't like it when government workers or politicians do it so why would ya like it any more when a private individual does it?

Now if you don't mind some private individual manipulatin th law fer personal gain at th expense of th citizenry then ya should have no problem with th hunt an as ya say, everyone is happy.

But if ya resent a private individual manipulatin th law, an continuin ta manipulate th law fer personal gain at th expense of th citizenry that ponies up th real bill, then ya would probably be against this sort of thang.

Ain't it funny how those who are champions fer th workin class of citizen always seem ta make thair own millions out of th transaction?

I could "lay it all out" fer ya but ya wouldn't believe it, or just don't want ta. So th best thang I can do is ramble enough ta make ya wanna look inta it yerself so ya can discover all th thangs I have already discovered about it.

But ya see, that requires a little effort on yer part, even though all th information is public information available to those who take th time ta ferret it out.

Note: Th hunt is part an parcel as ta why ya don't have a swim center taday an is all part of connectin th dots ta see what is really goin on in th big game plan. Measure-A, th same but ta understand it all requires ya ta get that big picture yerself frum th public records.

In short, foller th money honey, it will lead ya ta yer path of enlightenment in this respect. Then ya have adequately equipped yerself ta start ta do somethang about it fer th benefit of all an not just fer th benefit of a few.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 23, 2012
I think the reason TRAQ does not want a swim center, is largely due to the fact that the swim center will invalidate everything TRAQ claimed about development. Including TRAQs Measure Z, or A, B, C, or whatever they wrote about development.

It would be like stripping their legacy right out from under them and in this economy grandstanding TRAQs lack of vision around economic development would be far worse than stealing a horse (or an elk) from your uncle Sammeulson). To paraphrase from the title, I'd guess one wont be able to pretend it is mascara, or cover it up with a pair of sunglasses.

To paraphrase Barak, you cannot put lipstick on an elk.
Sneaky
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July 06, 2012
Since the above article really didnt tell me much about the topic I decided to track down the Stockton record article, which appears to be this one: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120618/A_NEWS/206180314

Folks, I suggest reading the other article before with above one. It puts the whole "issue" in much clearer perspective. Connolly has clearly done far more to maintain the existence of these elk than the writer of the above article or anyone else in the state. He is not some dolt intent on wiping them out. An occasional hunt seems quite reasonable.

And yes, they are his. They are on his land. Ever heard of a little thing called property rights?

If these are gods creatures and god is really concerned about them he can wave his magical sky fairy hands and Poof, make them vanish and re-appear in a safer place. If he doesnt bother then I can only assume he approves of their current living situation.
ertion
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July 06, 2012
The hunt helps offset the cost of all this. For $10,500, a hunter can buy a tag to pursue one of the bulls during a four-day guided hunt on Connolly's ranch. Probably only one bull will be taken this year, Connolly said; the number is set so elk will not be over-harvested, but also so the herd does not grow so large that it eats all the grass and starves itself.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 15, 2012
ertion,

If the elk needed a small pond to wallow in, isnt the state alteady paying for that?

Why dont you check with the guys at the next-door, Carnegie motorcycle park and ask them if the state is paying for all the water issues?

Didnt they get sued by the neighboring rancher, and the lawsuit was tossed because all water issues should be controlled by the state water board?

Did you see any "runnoff" in that wallows, if it was installed without state contract, I would think there could be another lawsuit?

Besides, did you forget the Tracy Press picture where they stood on the steps of a local municipality saying open the books?

Why cant we google wallows and find those expenditures listed as "public record"? Did you ask a brother in law?

You said yourself, only one bull was taken, so your theory does not add up if the state pays ALL water issues- can you also charge the hunter for fees as a hunting guide?

ertion
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July 14, 2012
RHCP:

You say: "..I think the only time property owners should be concerned for compensation is if they grow crop that gets eaten by the elk. But even then, the only ciompensation should be a freezer full if meat, this idea of over $14,000 (and now down to $10,500) seems outlandish to me"

What if the rancher has spent the equivalent of $20,000 or $30,000 to put in guzzlers and wallows for these beasts, to help sustain greater numbers of them? You think it's fair to compensate him with $500 worth of venision? Or what if his meadows and pastures and fields sustain a herd of hundreds? One animal is enough? He provides resources that benefit all; he should be compensated for it.

Ornry: most of us have real jobs. If you know of something in the public record, either provide links or pointers, or just keep quiet about it. We don't have time to play 20 questions and don't appreciate being preached to because we don't have time. You want to feed my family, I'll play 20 question with you.
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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July 13, 2012
RHCP

Ya can bet yer bank account that if someone is payin $10,500 ta bag an elk on a customized personal an private four day hunt that they ain't gonna go away empty handed. An if they can be seen frum th road occasionally they shouldn't be too difficult ta find when th owner an his daughter can drive out an find em.

Does anyone really thank that a hunter would be turned loose on th ranch all by himself? No, it's a staged hunt an th bull destined ta end up in th freezer is picked just like most hunts of this nature are done. An if yer talkin wildlife management an humane treatment of animals it would be better ta trank em an then humanely put them ta death instead of a bullet fired frum a high powered rifle by a guy that probably can't shoot all that good anyway. Note: If ya can't kill it with th first shot ya got no business huntin in th wild.

Love ta hunt, hate ta kill. Won't even consider takin a shot unless I am convinced I can make a clean kill on th first shot. Anythang else is inhumane.

An no, th present day hurd didn't migrate thair frum th Mt. Hamilton range. They were relocated thair by Fish an Game about thirty years ago at th expense of th taxpayin hunters that saw an increase in thair huntin license fees in order ta pay fer it. Remembered it frum when it happened, which explains why I know about it now.

But I don't expect anyone ta believe me which is why I tell people ta examine th public records fer themselves. Records BTW that have had several failed attempts ta have sealed away frum public view I will also add.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 10, 2012
ertion,

You're absolutely right. I think the only time property owners should be concerned for compensation is if they grow crop that gets eaten by the elk. But even then, the only ciompensation should be a freezer full if meat, this idea of over $14,000 (and now down to $10,500) seems outlandish to me.
ertion
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July 10, 2012
RedHotChillie Peppers, I'm not sure what arrangement Connolly has with DFG. Growing up in the mountains, it was not uncommon for DFG to give ranchers special permits to compensate them for depredation (deer eating alfalfa, etc) or for work they did to improve deer habitat or other wildlife habitat, which benefited everyone. Prather Ranch, for example, up north, has a number of these permits, which they are allowed to sell to third parties, again, by way of compensation. These can have special seasons, such as during the rut period, where it is extremely easy to bag the buck because they lose all reason/caution during the rut.

I know nothing of Connolly's arrangement or the particulars of that herd's management. But, in general, there are no predators here for elk. They are too big and fast for mountain lions, and coyotes are scared of them. The only predators are wolves because they hunt in packs and can surround the elk. (Reintroduced wolves in Yellowstone have decimated elk herds there.)

Btw, elk are a lot more skittish than deer, and they can get gone quickly. The only time I've got near one is by being downwind in a very stiff breeze.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 09, 2012
Sneaky,

If they are on his land, why did ertion say he sells a $10,500 state issued permit? Its not clear if anyone has all the facts. That's why I think the newspaper should get off their duffs.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 09, 2012
ertion, if the elk are that hard to find, then $10,000 seems like a lot of money for 'compensation for losses'. "Large numbers" and "difficult to spot an elk" are two different stories. That made me think up some questions

I am not against hunting per se but why not let them roam the range for free? What specific "losses" if the land is state owned? Dont they have park rangers who already patrol and check the creek for runoff from the lab? Wouldnt that also put you in a spot to charge a consulting fee as a hunting guide? Did you check? Would you not consider that a conflict of interest to both sell a permit and charge a fee for a hunting swamee? How does that work?
RedHotChilliPeppers
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July 09, 2012
TracyPress.com Staff,

Why do we have to go to the Stockton Record to get rhe news (or editorials)?

If every time there is a lawsuit you have to recluse yourself then who does the paper serve? The readers? The advertisers?

I thought you said you were the "watchdog" of Tracy Hills.

Whose "hills" are you guarding?
ertion
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July 06, 2012
The material I previously posted was a quote from the Record article Sneaky provided a link to.

People are generally unaware of the role that hunting plays in modern game management. Elk have no predators to speak of, nowadays, and their numbers increase unless managed. In Colorado, large numbers had to be shot from helicopters and left to waste because the herds increased to the point of destroying their habitat and causing mass starvation.

Connolly probably has, and is selling, a Depredation permit from the Cal dept of fish and game, in which farmers/ranchers are compensated for losses in agriculture and grazing from these creatures. He is selling a permit only. Elk are hard to hunt and there is a good chance that you won't find one even after paying that fee.
orange_crush
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July 16, 2012
Why on earth would anyone invite hunters next to an off road vehicle park?

I hope the hunt cost drops from fourteen thousand to ten thousand to six thousand to two thousand.

And then the state of California finally revokes this bull$hit.


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