Lead CDFW biologist: Mike Morrison
There are three elk species in California: Tule, Roosevelt, and Rocky Mountain. Tule elk are endemic to California. Explore the natural history of Tule Elk.
The Owens Valley has 5 distinct populations of Tule Elk. At least one of these populations lends itself to easy access for wildlife viewing. Near Tinnemaha, just south of Big Pine on Highway 395, there is often a herd of elk that can be viewed virtually right off the highway. It is a great place to bring binoculars and a camera and take a break from driving when visiting the Owens Valley. Map for Viewing Locations.
Conservation and Hunting: Complementary Actions
Tule Elk were introduced into the Owens Valley in the 1930's as a part of a conservation effort to save a species that had been reduced to a very small population. Subsequently Tule Elk thrived in the Owens Valley to the point of overpopulation. Read the story of how Tule Elk in the Owens Valley have come to be a local wildlife viewing attraction along highway 395 as well as a hunting opportunity for those fortunate enough to get one of the very limited hunting tags offered annually. Tule Elk Introduction to the Owens Valley.