DEL NORTE COUNTY - If you have driven through Del Norte County, chances are you have seen a herd of elk on the side of the road. Those herds have been growing and now residents are concerned for their properties and their own safety.
These pictures show damage that landowners say are caused by an overpopulation of elk. They are punching up septic systems, destroying vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and posing problems of public safety. Del Norte residents have gone to the Department of Fish and Wildlife for a solution. Due to department code, representatives say residents need to apply for a depredation permit to be able to shoot the elk as a way of population control. They also suggest an elk exclusive fence. But Del Norte residents are not satisfied with this response and are asking for a statewide management plan.
“Depredation permits are available after you go through the documentation process. However, now they're saying that the burden is on all the private property owners to put up an elk exclusive fence which is going to probably be cost prohibitive and actually when 13 to 15 hundred pound bull elk decides to go somewhere, they're going to go through most anything. So it's really not a practical choice,” Helen Ferguson, a Crescent City resident, said.
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