Golden Ram Hunting Club Offers Special Guided Tule Elk Hunt

May 30, 2012

I’m not going to start promoting lots of hunting operations or their special deals, so don’t worry.  I’ll generally only write about an operation, guide, or property with which I have personal experience. 

Such is the deal with Golden Ram Sportsmen’s Club, as I was a member for several years and in that time I hunted blacktail deer and hogs on several of their properties.  One thing I never hunted there was tule elk, as that’s a rare treat for the CA hunter… or for any hunter, as far as that goes.  Tule elk can only be found in California, and while they’re not as big as Roosevelt or Rocky Mountain elk, they’re a rare and sought-after trophy for afficionados of these big ungulates.   Short of winning the DFG lottery and drawing a public land tule elk tag (I’ve been applying unsuccessfully for the entire 15 years that I lived in CA), the only way to hunt these beautiful animals is to pay pretty big money to hunt them on private land. 

Well, the “big money” part hasn’t changed much, although I guess “big money” is relative.  To a lot of public land hunters, a few hundred bucks is “big money”.  However, to those who travel and hunt widely, the term defines a whole other level of expense.  This offer from Golden Ram is for that second group.  Here’s the deal:

Golden Ram has recently gained access to a PLM tule elk hunt in central California (about three hours south of San Jose).  They’re going to sell this hunt for $12,500, fully guided and outfitted to include meals, lodging, and guides.  Sure, this ain’t chump change for most people, so let’s just recognize that from the get-go.  But, this kind of hunt ordinarily goes in excess of $15K, and for a real trophy, that rate gets even higher. 

I’d love to have that kind of money to toss into a hunt, but it’s way out of my league.  Still, the last couple of years that I guided down in the Central Coast area, I watched the elk herd swell and spread.  On one pig hunt that I recall, we sat on a ridge and watched dozens of elk, including a couple of real bruiser bulls, feed unmolested over the countryside.  Every man in the group was practically drooling, and daydreaming of the opportunity to get out and hunt these things. 

If you’re interested, you can contact Golden Ram through their website. 

By the way, if you’re about to make a comment here about how this is too expensive for an elk hunt and how people would be idiots to pay that much for a hunt, please hold your water.  It’s a waste of breath and time.  If it’s out of your league, it’s out of your league.  Don’t denigrate someone else who is willing and able to pay that sort of money to access private land and chase a trophy bull.  This isn’t taking away from you.  If you want a cheap elk hunt, go DIY on public land in CO or OR.      


5 Responses to “Golden Ram Hunting Club Offers Special Guided Tule Elk Hunt”

  1. Dann on May 30th, 2012 18:03

    According to the CA elk manager, almost 26,000 people put in for 355 tags in 2011. The average wait time for a cow tag is around 9 years…slightly better if you have access to military only hunts.

    Why so long you ask? “Cause there’s only around 3,800 Tule elk in the world and they’re heavily managed. They need alot of habitat and there’s not that much left in CA anymore.

  2. Phillip on May 30th, 2012 20:48

    Yupp, it’s a rare opportunity to hunt one at all. Even rarer to hunt a trophy bull. Even the guys who can fork over the big bucks only get a small handful of opportunities.

    The bright side is, these things are doing pretty well right now and spreading fast in some areas. There’s a pretty solid herd (I think it’s part of the La Panza herd?) is running pretty much from the central coast all the way up to San Jose. It’s a pretty significant success story considering how close they were to extinction (in the wild) just a couple decades ago.

  3. J.R. Young on May 30th, 2012 22:39

    The growth of the Tule heards throughout CA is a wonderful success story. It’s a ‘snowballs chance in hell’ to draw or a nearly prohibitive cash outlay for most, but that’s hunting in CA unfortunately. It’s still cheaper than most sheep hunts (Dall and Stone) and a rare treat if you can swing it.

    I figure you can sock away $100 a month for 12-15 years while you hope to draw and just by yourself the hunt by the time you’ve been in for 15 years. Who knows, you may buy your hunt, then get drawn a few years later.

    Or go big at a RMEF raffle for the Marble Mountain tag or similar.

    One day though, I’ll got after a Tule, I’m just not planning on it anytime soon!

  4. Tara Hunter on March 7th, 2013 15:02

    It’s kind of unfortunate that these hunts just go to the highest bidder but I guess that’s free market for you…

  5. Phillip on March 7th, 2013 15:51

    Tara, it does seem that way, and I’m always ambivalent about private sales of public wildlife hunts… but the truth is that the “regular guy” still has a chance (albeit small) in the elk lottery. He just has to put in for the lottery with all the other regular guys and gals.

    If Tule elk were as widespread as Rocky Mountain or Roosevelt elk, it might be a different story, but if you want a premium opportunity on private land, then it’s going to take a pretty penny to get it. Supply and demand isn’t a difficult concept. Meanwhile, with these PLM programs, the State still gets their check out of the deal so at least part of the money (the price of the tag and membership in the PLM program) goes back into the resource.