During the 2017-2018 winter months, Point Reyes National Seashore wildlife staff completed tule elk surveys at Drakes Beach, Tomales Point, and the Limantour/Estero Road area in order to determine 2017 population levels. In the Drakes Beach area, a total of 112 elk were counted (55 cows, 17 calves, 7 spike males, and 33 branched antler males). At Tomales Point, there are a total of 403 elk (212 cows, 97 calves, 13 spike males, and 81 branched antler males).
The 2017 count at Tomales Point represents a significant increase from our 2016 count of 290. Although 97 calves is one of the largest calf counts at Tomales Point, the new calves alone do not account for the population increase this year, suggesting that a group of 15-20 elk was consistently missed during our 2016 surveys. Looking ahead to 2018, rainfall and forage conditions will dictate survival of this large 2017 cohort and whether or not the Tomales Point population continues to increase. The Limantour herd includes those animals to the north and south of Limantour Road and elk on ranches in the Estero Road area north to Abbotts Lagoon. The Limantour herd consists of a total of 145 elk (74 cows, 24 calves, 4 spikes, and 43 branched antler bulls). Contact Dave Press for more information.