A tule elk hunt at the Fort Hunter Liggett military installation in Monterey County and a public deer hunt at Camp Pendleton in San Diego County have been cancelled for national security reasons, the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) announced today.
The base commander^s decision to cancel the elk hunt at Fort Hunter Liggett was made due to a "continued heightened state of readiness" at the base, according to a statement issued by the Fort Hunter Liggett Public Affairs Office. All hunting and fishing privileges at the base have been suspended until further notice as well as access to any other installation areas that are usually open to the public.
According to Jon Fischer, a senior DFG biologist and statewide elk program coordinator, "We are in the process of notifying each of the 34 tule elk tag holders by phone, and will examine alternatives with them." The elk hunt was scheduled to run from Nov. 8, 2001 through Jan. 1, 2002.
The archery-only portion of the Camp Pendleton deer hunt begins Saturday, Oct. 6. With the constantly changing alert status of the base, military officials at Camp Pendleton were not able to make the decision to close the public portion of the hunt until late Friday afternoon. However, the DFG began contacting the 100 civilian tag holders Thursday afternoon to warn them about the potential for a last-minute closure. The 380 military personnel chosen to participate in the hunt through the DFG^s deer tag drawing will still be allowed to hunt on a limited basis because they already have security clearance to enter the base. The 100 civilian tag holders are being offered a refund or an exchange for an available deer tag.
The Camp Pendleton hunt is one of six deer hunts scheduled to occur on military installations this year. The hunts are administered by the DFG with the permission of the military base commander. The Camp Roberts hunt ran from Aug. 27 - Sept. 3; the Beale Air Force Base Hunt began Sept. 8 and was cancelled on Sept. 18 although it was scheduled to run through Oct. 28. Two hunts at Fort Hunter Liggett, scheduled for Sept. 29 and Oct. 13, were already cancelled, and the ongoing hunt at Vandenberg Air Force Base, scheduled to run through Dec. 30, is subject to cancellation.