Sportsmen and wildlife scored a critical victory last week when House and Senate negotiators approved a provision in the 2007 Defense Authorization Act that saves the herds of elk and mule deer on Santa Rosa Island from the court-ordered eradication that was to begin in 2008 and be completed by 2011.
Despite the fact that the elk and deer have inhabited the Island for nearly a century, the National Park Service and environmental groups claim they must be exterminated in order to save a few plant and animal species that have flourished on the Island. Common sense has prevailed with the approval of this herd-saving provision that allows for continued co-existence.
Santa Rosa elk and mule deer are invaluable, as they are free from Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) and other ailments that threaten these species on the mainland. Forty miles of Pacific Ocean offer them a sanctuary. With encouragement from NRA-ILA, along with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, Safari Club International, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Congress correctly determined it is in the public interest to maintain this disease-free sanctuary for these two remarkable species of animals in case of disaster on the mainland. These herds can be used as breeding stock to repopulate after such an event. More remains to be done on this issue, but hunters won a huge victory with passage of this legislation last week.