The thought of having a hundred-or-so elk roaming on a property is something many of us may dream about. Beholding these majestic creatures in an 8th Wonder of the World-sort of manner is something common among hunters and outdoor enthusiasts and with good reason.
For one Oregon golf course, however, the herd of animals is now being viewed in a more negative light and is reaching out to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for assistance.
With no interest in wiping out the elk population entirely, officials from the Gearhart Golf Links are simply asking for a reduction in the population to help hamper the damage sustained to their property.
“We’ve been working on getting the elk removed, the herd size reduced for years now,” Gearhart’s Russ Earl said Tuesday at a meeting with Gearhart Golf Links General Manager Jason Bangild and Superintendent Forrest Goodling as reported by the Daily Astorian. “We’ve had (meetings with) four different levels of Fish and Wildlife people, up to the executive director, and we’ve gotten exactly the same results.”
The 100-acre property is the oldest golf course in the state of Oregon and as such, Earl and his team are interested in protecting it along with the healthy elk populations the area has been blessed with over the past number of years.
“We are not seeking to eliminate the entire herd, but at least get the herd down to where it is safe for the town residents,” Goodling said.
The problem, according to Earl is a lack of management on behalf of the department.
“They’ve basically said, ‘Put some signs up around the golf course,’” Earl said. “That didn’t help us at all.”
Acting under their own volition, the golf course went out and acquired a number of coyote decoys to place around the course in an attempt to discourage the elk from hanging around. Kicking it up a level, they have even gone as far as to douse the decoys in coyote urine, to no avail.
In addition to the damage caused by the animals, safety has become somewhat of a concern after a cow elk was reported to have charged a cyclist in Gearhart, just days after menacing nearby beach goers.
Making it as simple as possible, Earl and his team are asking the department to relocate the elk, as hunting is prohibited in Gearhart. Unsurprisingly, transporting the animals comes with a hefty price tag and one the state department and local officials will have to evaluate before any decisions are made.
Feature Image: Sam Beebe