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

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Call to Action: Provide Comment to CPW Commission in Favor of Predator Management Plans

Colorado RMEF Members,

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission will consider the implementation of two predator management plans on December 14 at its 8:45 a.m. meeting at the Fort Collins Marriott.

RMEF supports these efforts to remove a limited number of mountain lions and black bears from the Piceance Basin as well as mountain lions from the Upper Arkansas River to determine potential predator impacts on mule deer survival rates.

Go here to email your comments to the commission in favor of these measures.

As you know, RMEF has been and remains a staunch supporter of sound, science-based wildlife management practices such as these.

Go here to read our RMEF letter to the CPW commission.

Thank you for your support.


David Allen
RMEF President & CEO

Three-Antlered Bull

We received a series of photos and the story of a unique bull elk taken in Montana by Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation member Ed Coyle. The story, in his words, is below.

We also asked RMEF Director of Science and Planning Tom Toman how a bull could look like this. Here is Tom's response:

Typically antler shape, mass and differences can be attributed to one of two causes, genetics or injury. Injury can result in a broken skull and if it heals sometimes the base is in a slightly or in some cases an exaggerated position. This can cause the antler to grow in a different direction. In some cases, injury to the body can have an effect on antler growth and it is often on the antler on the opposite side of the body from the injury. In this case, my best guess would be that the third antler was the result of genes. I do not think an injury would result in growing an additional antler. Three antlered elk are not common but not as rare as you think either. Just one of Mother Nature’s curiosities!

Tom Toman
RMEF Director of Science & Planning

How it happened via Ed Coyle:

After an early morning unproductive hunt, hunting private land that I manage outside of Ennis, Montana, my partner I was hunting with had never been to an area of public land adjacent to the property. Being a beautiful spot, and thinking our hunt was over, I suggested we go on sort of a sightseeing hike up to the saddle. When we got to the saddle, we heard this bull bugling not far from us. We went right in that direction and the wind was howling right in our face.

I got what I thought was a pretty good look at him as he was feeding from right to left and still bugling every few minutes at 8:30 A.M. He looked like a really nice 6-point in the 300 class and I felt it was definitely a bull worth pursuing. I set up behind a dead snag with a small white bark pine to my right, and my partner was about 50 yards behind me. I bugled and he started coming. He stopped about 50 yards in front of me, and I couldn't see him very well, but I could tell he was just ripping up the ground with his antlers and bugling his head off. He was pissed! My partner gave a few cow calls and I'll be damned if he didn't pick his head up and start coming. Luckily he came to my right side of the snag. He continued past the live white bark pine where I was able to draw, and he walked right by me. I noticed something not right with his brow tines but I was trying not to mess it all up and concentrate on his front leg and shoulder. I let an arrow fly at 15 yards and he ran off until I cow called and he stopped broadside at 60 yards and stood there. I thought he would drop, but he turned and walked downhill out of sight.

Long story short, we were sitting on the blood trail when a large grey wolf ran right through us, right down the trail like a damn shark! Then another, and another. My bow was way off to my left so all I could think of was to cow call so maybe my partner could get a shot. The big black one stopped at 20 yards and stared at us with its yellow eyes until the movement of reaching for the pistol scared him off.

Ed's partner glassing his bull
Anyway, we quickly followed the blood trail and we came upon those wolves messing with the bull I had just stuck with an arrow. I shouted and they ran off uphill, and the bull side hilled off to the ridge top and bedded down. We could watch him and it seemed like he was gonna die, until he stood up and went out of sight.

Devastated, I felt like I needed to make a move, so we hiked way up and over and came down on him since the wind was coming up hill at this point. Luckily he didn't go far, just out of sight from our last vantage point. I peeked around the rock outcrop and he stared at me so I let an arrow fly. WHACK. He didn't even budge or blink. Just kept staring at me. I thought I'd better get another one in him if I could so I peeked around again and WHACK. This time he gets up and took off like a freight train and runs off down the steep rocky terrain. All we hear is crashing.

We didn't even follow blood, just muddy tracks and he was piled up about 100 yards away. That's when I saw his third antler for the first time.

Ed Coyle

RMEF Supports Colorado Predator Management Plans

Below is a letter submitted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission regarding two predator management plans. 

December 6, 2016

Mr. James C. Pribyl
Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission
6060 Broadway
Denver, CO 80216

Chairman Pribyl and members of the Commission:

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) appreciates the opportunity to comment on the two predator management plans before the Commission.

The Piceance Basin and Upper Arkansas River Predator Control Plans are the exact strategies needed to determine whether predator-prey relationships are affecting mule deer in these areas. The 2015 Colorado Mule Deer Strategy referenced declining mule deer populations in these areas and reviewed scientific data suggesting need for predator control to reverse population trends. We support Colorado Parks & Wildlife’s proposed research projects to remove limited numbers of mountain lions and black bears from the Piceance Basin and mountain lions from the Upper Arkansas River as part of controlled experiments to determine potential impact on survival rates. RMEF has consistently advocated for and helped fund science-based management practices and applauds Colorado Parks & Wildlife for taking this approach.

These studies may well confirm predators are a significant reason for declining mule deer populations in these areas. Predators have contributed to significant wildlife declines in other areas as well. RMEF helped fund a three-year study that concluded in 2014 in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley to determine the reason for the rapid decline of the area’s once abundant elk herds. The study involved collaring 44 cow elk to monitor their movement and fitting 286 elk calves with radio transmitters to indicate when and where they died. The project yielded important information about the different habitats in the study area that support elk at different times of the year as well as those which produced more calf recruitment and survival. Surprisingly, the study also confirmed mountain lions were responsible for killing 36 percent of the calves in the study that did not survive. The conclusions of this study are already helping Montana’s wildlife managers make better game management decisions in this and other areas.

We expect the Piceance and Upper Arkansas River projects will help provide Colorado’s wildlife managers the scientific information they need to make sound, defensible management decisions. We urge the Commission to support these proposals so they can be initiated promptly.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments.


David Allen
President & CEO

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four RMEF Life Members, Three Generations, Three Bull Elk

Elk Camp in the Wyoming
high country
A love of elk, elk hunting and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation runs deep in the Warning family. How deep, you ask? Jim Warning, his sons Keith and Kevin, and grandson Nick Fogelton are all RMEF life members. Keith and Kevin, like their father, are also habitat partners. And Kevin stepped up his volunteer efforts to serve as a former Illinois state chair.

The four of them recently made the trek west from their homes in Illinois to the rugged mountains of Wyoming where they hooked up with Jake Clark to set up elk camp. The goal was to make memories in the wild country and return home with meat to fill the freezer.

Kevin armed himself with a Kimber rifle he purchased at the RMEF Shawnee Chapter Big Game Banquet held earlier in the year in Carbondale, Illinois. He posed his rifle for a scenic photo. He used that rifle in a much more memorable photo—one that shows him with his beauty of a 6 x 6 bull elk.

Kevin was not alone in his success. Two other members of the party took bull elk.

Congratulations to the Warning crew and thank you for your support!

Go here to learn more about becoming a RMEF volunteer.

Nick Fogelton, Kevin Warning, Jim Warning and Keith Warning
(left to right)

California Elk Research, Habitat Work Get a Boost

Below is a complete listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2016 grants for the state of California. Go here for more information.

Colusa County—Provide volunteer manpower from five different RMEF chapters to modify half a mile of fencing to allow for easier passage by elk and other wildlife as well as rebuild and reinforce an upper head cut in Craig Canyon on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land within the Cache Creek Natural Area.

Humboldt County—Remove encroaching conifers on 275 acres followed by planting native vegetation to restore coastal prairie habitat on BLM managed land in the King Range.

Mendocino County—Provide funding to assist with securing a 5,200-acre conservation easement on private land located in the northernmost range for tule elk.

Merced County—Provide funding to assist wildlife managers determine elk populations throughout California and better develop sustainable harvest strategies, hunting quotas and track long-term population trends by creating and validating new methods of population estimates through the collection of fecal samples.

Modoc County—Remove encroaching juniper across 4,531 acres in the Blue Mountain area to restore sage steppe habitat to benefit wildlife on the Modoc National Forest; restore 370 acres of aspen stands on the Modoc National Forest’s Warner Mountain Ranger District which has sustained a 40 percent decline in aspen habitat.

Monterey County—Provide funding to help stock fish and purchase prizes for those attending an annual youth trout fishing derby at Fort Hunter Liggett to promote fishing as a family bonding experience.

Placer County—Provide funding to help offset the cost of practice, ammunition, supplies and tournament fees for the Roseville High School Trap Team which offers participants the opportunity to learn shooting and team-building skills in a safe environment.

Sacramento County—Provide funding for the annual California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus Shoot which provides a forum for members and staff from the California Legislature, who share a common goal in protecting and advocating the interests of sportsmen and women, to shoot firearms and archery in a safe and fun setting.

San Luis Obispo County—For the tenth year in a row, provide funding and volunteer manpower to host an elk hunt for a first-time youth hunter and their family.  

Santa Barbara County—Provide funding to assist the Debra Takayama Memorial Junior Pheasant Hunt which also educates young hunters about hunter safety, wildlife law enforcement, wildlife management, shooting skills (trap and target), and techniques of pheasant hunting.

Shasta County—Prescribe burn 550 acres in the Green Mountain area on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest as part of a landscape-scale project to enhance habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife, improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Siskiyou County—Provide research funding for collars to be placed on approximately 140 elk to assist wildlife managers in determining population trends, reproductive rates, movements, survival of cows and calves and other information in establishing sustainable elk populations and sound hunting proposals (also benefits Modoc, Del Notre, Humboldt and Lassen Counties); provide funding to assist research investigating elk population demographics, abundance and space use of elk populations in northern California (also benefits Modoc and Shasta Counties); and provide funding for the purchase of new bows, arrows and targets for the Siskiyou Bowmen which hosts a youth archery range at the Annual Sportsman Expo.

Yolo County—Assist the NorCal Longshots Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) youth shooting team’s goal of raising enough funds for its qualifying members attend to the SCTP National Championship in Ohio.

Statewide—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for the purchase and donation of 816 RMEF youth membership knives to hunter education classes; provide funding to assist University of California-Davis researchers in developing a comprehensive set of  tools for quantifying and mapping the genetic diversity of the state’s three elk subspecies –Roosevelt, Rocky Mountain and tule elk – to help manage for genetic integrity over time; provide funding to assist the California Council of Land Trusts which serves as a unified voice for more than 150 land trusts working in local communities to advance land conservation including policy, funding and education; and provide funding to assist the California Trappers Association in its quest to reverse a decision to ban bobcat trapping in California. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giving Thanks

RMEF Family,

We are transitioning from one of my favorite seasons to another—from hunting season to Thanksgiving and then the Christmas holiday season.

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, gratitude and joy. We all have so many things for which to be thankful. 

I am particularly grateful for my wife, my boys, other family members and the bonds we cherish together. Growing up, Thanksgiving was as a time we spent with family at my grandparents’ ranch, our last days of hunting for the year and the family Thanksgiving dinner; the memory is as fresh in my mind today as it was over 50 years ago. I am also grateful for all of our friends and other associates who enrich our lives. 

Filled with pride and heartfelt gratitude, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each of you as volunteers and members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. We number over 220,000 strong and while we don’t know all of you by name or face, the results of your continued support and dedication to our shared conservation mission are clearly evident. Just recently, RMEF rolled past the one million acre mark in lifetime public access projects and very soon we will surpass seven million acres in wildlife habitat permanently protected or enhanced.

Together, we are making a profound impact for good on elk and other wildlife populations and elk country from coast to coast. Thank you!


David Allen
RMEF President/CEO

Thursday, November 17, 2016

RMEF + Arthur R. Dubs Foundation = Kids Win!

You just can’t beat a winning combination. And when it’s youth that come out as the big winner, it’s that much better.

The Arthur R. Dubs Foundation, which seeks to empower youth and improve their connection to the outdoors, joined the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at its 2016 Oregon Rendezvous to sponsor youth conservation activities. 

The partnership included providing the $50 entry fee so youth could attend for free, providing $20 RMEF youth memberships for all attendees and funding raffle prizes.

Youth age 7-17, whose names were drawn in the raffle, won their choice of either a Mossberg 7 mm-08 rifle with a scope or a Tristar youth 20-gauge shotgun. Those under the age of 7, whose names were drawn in their raffle, received a RMEF Red Ryder BB gun. 

In all, 26 boys and girls attended the rendezvous. RMEF co-founders Bob Munson and Charlie Decker drew and announced the winners. In all, four went home with rifles, four with shotguns, two with BB guns and all 26 with a nice, new pocket knife.