Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

RMEF, Partners Team Up to Improve Montana Wildlife Habitat

Below is a news release issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regarding habitat enhancement work that took place in southwest Montana funded, in part, by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Contact: Andrea Jones, 406-994-6931


(Bozeman)—Recent habitat improvement work on Fleecer Mountain and Mount Haggin wildlife management areas (WMAs) in southwest Montana is improving vital winter range for deer and elk while also helping protect smaller wildlife species.

FWP actively manages for cover and habitat that is more productive for wildlife. In doing so, this non-commercial improvement project involves tree-cutting (done by hand) to help stop the encroachment of Douglas-fir trees into areas with more desirable cover types such as bitterbrush, sagebrush and aspen.
In total, 148 acres of critical mule deer and elk winter range in the Charcoal Gulch area of Fleecer WMA have been treated for Douglas-fir encroachment into aspen- and sagebrush stands. Meanwhile, 64 acres of mule deer and elk winter range in the German Gulch area of Mount Haggin WMA have been treated for Douglas-fir encroachment into bitterbrush stands.

Protecting the bitterbrush, sagebrush and aspen means better shelter and cover for smaller mammals and songbirds.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Treasure State Mule Deer Foundation partnered with FWP to help fund this work. FWP funds came from timber receipts from last year’s forestry project on Mount Haggin. Northwest Management, Inc. did the on-the-ground cutting work.

Charcoal Gulch pre-treatment

Charcoal Gulch post-treatment

Getting “Geared Up” to Hunt Elk

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin

Elk hunters are a meticulous bunch. We have to be! There is a lot that goes into a successful elk hunt. Heck, just getting out the door is a highly involved process in and of itself: 
Gun/ammo or bow/arrows…check! 
Hunting license.....................check!
Sharp knife…........................check! 

Now, what else do I need? 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently unveiled its Gear 101 gear list, the elk hunter’s essential gear checklist. It is intended for sportsmen and women who range from most avid elk hunter to the occasional. It is divided up in three sections: daytripper, multi-day and outfitted. From there, users can further customize according to weapon, either rifle or bow.

            Team Elk Pack                                Sitka Jetstream Jacket                Danner Pronghorn Hunting Boots
The checklists are highly interactive and allow the user to personalize his or her own list by clicking on the tabs most appropriate to their preference, clicking “download PDF,” and then taking that list to prepare for the hunt ahead. Specific gear from conservation partners who support the RMEF and its mission are included as a benefit for users. For example, clicking on “pack” brings up the Team Elk pack made by Eberlestock, clicking on “raingear/outer shell” or “base wear” highlights the benefits of Sitka camo outerwear, or clicking on “boots” shows the importance of good footwear, like offerings by Danner, to keep feet warm and comfortable.

Kristy Titus
“Technology has also allowed us to penetrate deeper into the back country,” said Kristy Titus, RMEF Team Elk featured member. “We now have ultra-light weight gear; everything from tents, sleeping systems and stoves that we can easily pack allowing us to stay for extended periods deep in the backcountry afoot instead of on horseback. We are more mobile than ever, able to track for ourselves exactly where we are with GPS, who owns the land we are on and our loved ones at home can even monitor our trek. Get a big bull down and everyone that you need to help you pack out can instantly identify your location and come in with the pack boards.

“With all of the latest and greatest gear, so much on our minds before a hunt, I find it critical to have a system to double-check that I don’t forget the smallest of detail. Trust me, I have been on a hunt where someone forgets their tags and has to drive hours home or to the nearest town to pick them up. Check out the new list from Gear 101—everything you need for your next elk hunt,” said Titus. 

Go here to create your own elk hunting checklist.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Celebrating Labor Day 2015

RMEF Family,

America is a great country for many reasons. Among them are sweat, muscle, brainpower, and the social and economic contributions of so many workers across so many different fronts that opened the door to where we are today.

The first Monday in September is a national holiday set aside to recognize and revere those efforts. Labor Day dates back to the late 1800s. Nowadays, we celebrate it with one last cookout, campout, vacation or other family gathering before our kids return to school in full swing.

As Americans and members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, I hope we all recognize and celebrate the sacrifice, innovation and successful achievement of those who preceded us. At the RMEF we take great pride in being the conservation group of the working men and women of North America. That work ethic made RMEF successful in our land protection and habitat stewardship projects, elk reintroductions, and our hunting heritage outreach efforts.

I want to thank our members and volunteers for your ongoing support that allow us to labor together and carry out work that will have a positive impact on wildlife and landscapes from coast-to-coast for generations to come. Thank you for your time, your financial contributions, your talents and everything you do to help ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Here’s to an even better and brighter future.


David Allen
President and CEO

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ready for Rain: Utah Volunteers Build New Guzzler for Wildlife

What makes a good Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation outing even better? Getting your hands a little dirty for a good cause, of course.

That’s exactly what happened at the 2015 Utah RMEF State Rendezvous. Some five dozen members and volunteers from six RMEF chapters gathered on an early summer weekend in central Utah to celebrate elk and elk country. The hands-on highlight came in the form of a team effort at Monroe Mountain on the Fishlake National Forest.

The Lone Pine Guzzler Project is an example of ingenuity and the power of elbow grease coupled with recycling. Volunteers of all ages used parts of a 20-plus year old water collection system that was in complete disrepair. They rebuilt the apron and fencing around the entire project area. They also installed a new tank, plumbing and watering tank. 

“This was an epic water catchment project that will have huge benefits for the Monroe Mountain elk herd. This is where the famous ‘Spider Bull,’ a world record bull elk at the time, was taken,” said Bill Christensen, RMEF regional director. “Around 60 Utah RMEF volunteers put in a complete guzzler at the Lone Pine Ridge. And they did it in record time.”

Sure enough. Work that began early on a Saturday morning was fully wrapped up by 4 p.m. the same day. 

Video via Kreig Rasmussen

The revamped and overhauled Lone Pine guzzler was now ready for rain. And just 10 days later, the hoped for is exactly what happened! A monsoon weather pattern passed over the arid region and rained down on the mountain, filling the guzzler with water.

Thanks RMEF volunteers!

RMEF Co-Founders, Wives to Lead Habitat Council

Charlie Decker and Bob Munson
(left to right)
“We suck at retirement!”

Those words came out of the mouth of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation co-founder Bob Munson, followed quickly by a hearty laugh. Munson spent 14 years on staff at RMEF including several years as president and CEO. His wife, Vicki, has a lengthy RMEF resume as well. She entered RMEF’s very first member on a computer in the couple’s living room in 1984 and carried out a wide range of responsibilities with RMEF until 1992.

Come early 2016, the Munsons along with co-founder Charlie Decker and his wife Yvonne will step up their volunteer efforts by becoming co-chairs of the Habitat Council (HC), a group of members who show their commitment and dedication to the RMEF mission with their enthusiasm and their philanthropic giving.

“It is a full plate,” said Charlie Decker. “I think everybody knows us so it has some up-sides. She (Yvonne) chewed on me constantly about what we should be doing so it’s a good thing. We really enjoy going and meeting the volunteers and other folks.” 

Decker continues to oversee a family logging business in northwest Montana. The Munsons are “retired” in the greater Seattle area where they enjoy their six children and 18 grandchildren who all live nearby. 

Yvonne Decker and Vicki Munson
“We want to give and train and impart all the love that we can for our personal family. I believe that is what drives both the Deckers and us to get involved with the RMEF family so we really immerse ourselves in it and it’s a huge blessing,” said Munson.

Bob and Charlie remain intimately involved with the conservation organization they founded. Both are lifetime honorary board members. Along with their wives, they log thousands of miles each year traveling to dozens of banquets, Habitat Partner receptions and other RMEF gatherings and events from coast to coast. 

“When we were told that the founders were being considered as Habitat Council chairman, we were very excited. The selection of the ‘Fab Four’ demonstrated the commitment of the organization to the HC. Who better to represent this group? Knowing the personalities it's going to be fun,” said current HC co-chairs Nancy and Howard Holland.

The Hollands wrap up a three-year term as HC co-chairs in February 2016. Under their leadership, the HC continues to grow in scope and in size. Their mentoring of members led to the addition of 10 new couples who attended the 2015 HC Summer Meeting in Park City, Utah.

Nancy and Howard Holland
“I think that was a great thing that created a new asset with new people. Both Howard and Nancy have been both innovative and creative in terms of involving themselves within the membership of the Habitat Council. Their leadership transcends the HC as they’ve been really great ambassadors for the RMEF wherever they traveled,” said Munson.

“The Hollands did an awesome job and they leave pretty large shoes to fill. My wife made the comment that maybe it will take four of us to replace the two of them to get the job done,” said Decker.

The Deckers and Munsons have goals of their own for their tenure. Among them are to continue the growth and excitement generated by the Hollands, reach out to additional corporate and business partners, establish a new development plan which would trigger a new era for philanthropy in the RMEF as a whole, and establish a transition process for more leadership coming out of HC membership.

In the meantime, the founders and their wives will continue to travel around the country in their spare time to rub elbows with those who support and strengthen the organization they established back in 1984.

“I’m blown away by the energy. That has always amazed me! That kind of chemistry where you see people so engaged in something because of the feeling that they own it inspires us to just want to be around more people with the RMEF,” said Munson.

“We’ll get ‘er done,” said Decker.

Determined words from a foursome of go-getters who excel at carrying out a conservation-related vision, but maybe not so much at “retirement.”

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RMEF Land Project Opens Access to 6,000 Acres of Public Land

Below is a news release regarding an access project in north-central Montana. Maps are located below.

MISSOULA, Mont.—A 93-acre land transaction brokered by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation opens the door to approximately 6,000 acres of previously difficult-to-reach public land just in time for Montana’s big game hunting season.

“Access to our public lands is a key component to RMEF’s mission and is important to sportsmen and women as well as all Americans who seek to enjoy the outdoors,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “This particular project permanently secures access to huge tracts of public land that are home to elk, mule deer, antelope, sage grouse, bighorn sheep and other wildlife.” 

Located near the Missouri River watershed’s Upper Missouri River Breaks National Monument and the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge in north-central Montana, the property is primarily grassland habitat accompanied by rugged features associated with the Missouri Breaks region. 

RMEF plans to transfer the property to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in 2016. Until that happens, BLM will assist in managing this property and provide immediate public access to it as well as adjacent public lands. 

“The RMEF has secured access to thousands of acres of BLM land for public use and enjoyment with this acquisition. It also secures an important access for natural resource management,” said Stanley Jaynes, BLM Havre field manager. 

Hunters, hikers and others previously parked on a county road (Cow Island Trail Road) and had to walk more than two miles to reach lands administered by the BLM and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Now, they will have access to the 6,000 acres of public land by foot, and even greater acreage by horseback. 

A RMEF member and hunter who lives nearby notified the RMEF about the property after reading inBugle magazine about a similar 2013 project that opened the door to access 18,000 acres of public land. 

Project partners include the BLM, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and the Cinnabar Foundation.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 205,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 6.6 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RMEF to Host Youth Wildlife Conservation Field Day

Montana youth and the outdoors go together like peanut butter and jelly. Come Saturday, September 12, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will host a Youth Wildlife Conservation Field Day at its headquarters in Missoula, Montana.

Missoula area businesses and conservation-minded groups will be on-site to provide different hands-on conservation and outdoor-related activities for youth and their families.

The event runs from 9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and is open to the first 150 youth who register. The first 50 youth to pre-register will receive a free RMEF youth membership. All youth will receive a backpack and there will be a drawing for more than 40 different prizes as well as free RMEF giveaways.

Registration is required by calling (406) 523-4500, extension 236 or emailing lhummel@rmef.org.

Event activities: 
  • Youth BB Gun Shooting Range presented by Cabela’s 
  • Archery for Beginners presented by Sportsman’s Warehouse 
  • Be Bear Aware Exhibit & Bear Spray Training 
  • Rock Climbing Wall presented by Wild Walls, Inc. 
  • Poaching Trailer Exhibit by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
  • Laser Shot presented by RMEF
  • Paint Ball Elk Target Game presented by RMEF
  • Bouncy House by Big Sky Bouncers 
  • Balloon Entertainment by Inflated Panache
  • Conservation Activity Corner presented by RMEF and much more!