These handsome bucks were part of a herd I spotted near the Point Reyes Lighthouse. Tule elk — found only in California — were once common in Point Reyes, but within a decade of the Gold Rush they had been hunted nearly to extinction. In 1873, the state made them a protected species. About a century later, in 1978, a handful of elk were reintroduced from the San Luis Island Wildlife Refuge near Los Banos. By 2000 there were hundreds of elk in the park (the Point Reyes National Seashore).