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


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Celebrating Winchester’s 150th Anniversary

When Oliver F. Winchester started a firearms business in 1866, he never imagined the company might someday mark its 150th anniversary. Or maybe he did. After all, Winchester was a man of remarkable vision. He saw the future of firearms, refined the lever-action rifle design, and then built one of hunting’s most endearing brands.

Today, of course, the sesquicentennial is being celebrated both by Winchester Repeating Arms and Winchester Ammunition—as well as by fans including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

“Winchester is fortunate to have a rich legacy that we can share with our customers, our families and those who appreciate our contributions to the shooting sports, hunting heritage and conservation,” said Brett Flaugher, Winchester vice president of sales, marketing and strategy. “RMEF is a model conservation organization and we are committed to their efforts and mission.”

Click on image to enlarge
As part of its hat-tip to Winchester, RMEF is hosting a special anniversary sweepstakes. RMEF members can enter to win one of 150 prizes—Winchester rifles, shotguns and knives – worth more than $71,000! It’s the biggest sweepstakes in RMEF history! The grand prize is a full set of five collector-edition guns (click on image to the right) including a model 1866, 1873, 94, 70 and 101. Only 200 of these sets were made. And they’re already selling for up to $37,000—more than double their original retail value!

Proceeds from the sweepstakes will be used to support RMEF’s mission in elk country.

“The guns that Winchester presented to RMEF for this fundraiser all have matching serial No. 9,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “This is not just an opportunity to win an unprecedented, rare, appreciating, authentic piece of Western history. It’s also another example of Winchester’s longstanding devotion to conservation.”

RMEF members should watch their mailboxes for more details on how to enter this once-in-a-lifetime sweepstakes, support elk country in the process, and join the visionary spirit of Oliver F. Winchester in celebrating his company’s 150th Anniversary!

NILO Farms (see short video below) serves as a reminder of Winchester’s commitment to conservation.



Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Landscape-Scale Habitat, Elk Research, Other Oregon Projects Funded by RMEF Grants

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

Benton County—Provide RMEF volunteers and co-sponsor 14th annual Youth Outdoor Day at E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area, an outdoor education and recreation event for kids ages 5 to 14 that offers instruction about conservation of habitat, hunting, fishing and the great outdoors.

Cook County—Provide funding to assist in thinning 213 acres of juniper and seeding seven miles of closed roads to benefit winter elk, mule deer and pronghorn winter range in the Paulina Ranger District of the Ochoco National Forest (also benefits Grant County); provide funding for a 600-acre prescribed burn, reinforcement of 3.75 miles of previously closed unauthorized roads and riparian restoration on 12 acres of critical winter, summer and elk calving and big game migration corridors in the 45,700-acre McKay Watershed on the Ochoco National Forest.

Douglas County—Provide funding to create six acres of new meadows, fertilize 37 more acres of existing openings and mow to regenerate winter browse to benefit elk, black-tailed deer and other wildlife habitat on the Umpqua National Forest.

Grant County—Continue a project aimed at improving important elk winter range and a critical migration corridor between the North Fork John Day Wilderness and the Bridge Creek Wildlife Area by applying noxious weed treatments and planting 200 quaking aspens to benefit elk and other wildlife on 754 acres of private land that allows public hunting; apply prescribed burning to 1,330 acres to improve forage quantity, quality and composition on a portion of the Desolation Winter Range 15 miles south of Ukiah on the Umatilla National Forest; and restore 51 acres of aspen stands/meadow complexes on calving grounds for elk, deer and other wildlife by cutting encroaching conifers, fencing aspen and utilizing prescribed fire to increase aspen recruitment in Summit Creek on the Malheur National Forest.
                     
Harney County—Apply juniper and ponderosa pine thinning, noxious weed and road treatments as well as repairing and protecting 10 water developments across 6,000 acres on the Malheur National Forest to restore aspen, shrub and riparian  habitat to benefit elk and other wildlife in the Central Malheur River and 2007 Egley Wildfire areas

Klamath County—Thin, pile and burn lodgepole pine on 120 acres of calving grounds to continue meadow enhancement within three drainages in the Hemlock Creek Key Elk Area on the Deschutes National Forest; provide funding for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s annual youth pheasant hunt at the Klamath Wildlife Area for approximately 100 youth ages 12-16 (also benefits Lake County); provide funding for equipment for Mazama High School’s National Archery in the Schools program launched the previous year; and provide funding and volunteer manpower for approximately 2,400 children and 1,500 adults from southern Oregon and northern California to attend the fifth annual Promoting Life-Long Activities for Youth (PLAY) Outdoors event.

Lake County—Provide funding for the first of a seven-year landscape-level aspen restoration project within the North Warner Mountains applying thinning and prescribed burning across 11,426 acres of elk calving and summer range on the Fremont-Winema National Forest; and thin encroaching conifers from 1,700 acres within aspen stands on elk calving and summer range in the South Warner Mountains on the Fremont-Winema National Forest as part of a landscape-level aspen restoration project.

Lane County—Provide funding for a combination of herbicide treatments, conifer thinning, seeding and prescribed burning to improve forage for elk on 159 acres of the Willamette National Forest; restore and maintain meadows, ponds, pools and wetlands in 12 big game emphasis areas in the Upper McKenzie River Watershed area on the Willamette National Forest via prescribed burning 49 acres, seeding on 39 acres, reducing encroaching conifers and shrubs on 62 acres and enhancing 15 natural and man-made pools and wetlands (also benefits Linn County); and burn 144 acres and thin 10 acres to improve big game forage on the Middle Fork Ranger District of the Willamette National Forest as part of a multi-year project to restore 1,600 over-stocked, non-commercial size pine plantations to an open pine/oak savannah as per historical conditions.

Morrow County—Replaced 1.5 miles of woven wire fence with 3-strand barbed wire fence with drop-rail wildlife jump sections and vinyl reflective fence markers to benefit migrating big game and other bird and animal life on private land adjacent to the Umatilla National Forest in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

Tillamook County—Provide funding for RMEF's Tillamook County Chapter to host an elk hunt for a terminally ill youth on Stimson Lumber Company land for the seventh consecutive year.

Umatilla County—Apply thinning and prescribed burning to 70 acres of year-round elk range (15 of the 70 acres also being seeded) to improve forage and regenerate aspen habitat on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

Union County—Provide funding for research at the Starkey Experimental Forest and Range that will offer new information regarding nutritional influences on elk populations to better enable landscape planners and biologists to link habitat conditions as well as changes in conditions to productivity and size of elk herds; apply noxious weed treatments to 647 acres as well as remove four miles of barbed wire fencing and apply pre-commercial thinning of 236 re-forested acres on a RMEF-held conservation easement in the Blue Mountains used as winter and summer range by estimated 500-800 elk; and assist in thinning 327 acres to reduce density of young conifer trees to increase forage for elk on public land within the  Dry Beaver-Ladd Canyon Elk Enhancement Area on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest as part of a multi-year habitat enhancement project.

Wallowa County—Treat 700 acres as part of an ongoing, integrated weed management program on elk calving grounds, winter and summer range, and migration corridors across federal, state and private lands in the canyons and grasslands of the Grande Ronde and Imnaha River watersheds (also benefits Union County).

Wasco County—Provide funding to assist in thinning confers and then piling and burning slash on 250 acres of elk winter range and migratory habitat on the Barlow Ranger District of the Mount Hood National Forest to improve forage, provide cover and reduce dependency on nearby private agricultural land.

Statewide—Provide funding to help purchase trail cams for the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife division in an effort to curtail poaching and other illegal activity; provide funding for food and supplies for volunteers participating in RMEF habitat projects in various parts of the state; and co-sponsor the Oregon 4-H State Shooting Sports Contest for youth age 9-19 from across the state. 

Monday, September 19, 2016

RMEF Featured at Federal Reserve Banking Conference

What do the banking industry and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation have in common? Those who attend a conference in St. Louis, Missouri, will soon find out.

The “who’s who” of the American banking world will gather at what's called the Federal Reserve/Conference of State Bank Supervisors Fourth Annual Community Banking Research and Policy Conference. It takes place September 28-29, 2016.

There are about 6,400 banks in the United States. One hundred of those (JP Morgan, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, etc.) hold the majority of assets and provide needed services nationwide. The remaining 6,400 banks are considered “community banks” which tend to have smaller asset sizes but are more intimately involved with local business and the local economy.

One of those small banks, First Montana Bank in the small town of Libby, played a big role in helping RMEF get off the ground back in its early days in the mid-1980s.

The Federal Reserve recently visited RMEF headquarters to learn more about this association and how the small town bank benefited a conservation organization that now has 220,000 members who share a mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. Below is a short video produced by the Federal Reserve to be shown at the conference.


Friday, September 16, 2016

RMEF Hits DC

RMEF Board Chair Chuck Roady (left)
amd Lands & Conservation Committee
member Dwight Fielder
Staff and board members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation visited Washington, D.C. September 13-15 to attend the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation annual banquet and to visit with key members of Congress to advocate for passage of land management and sportsmen provisions before the Energy Conference Committee. RMEF visited with six members of the conference committee including Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID), Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR) as well as senior staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and House Natural Resources Committee. 

Board Chair Chuck Roady and board members Jerry Pionessa and Fred Lekse made the trip with Lands & Conservation Committee member Dwight Fielder, Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning and Government Affairs Director Mark Lambrecht. RMEF asked the conferees for forestry reform, wildfire funding reform, litigation relief, Land & Water Conservation Fund reauthorization, sportsmen’s bill language and wolf delisting to be included in the final conference committee report. It appears there will be no energy conference agreement before Congress recesses until after the November elections, though negotiations are ongoing.

RMEF also visited with key officials from the US Forest Service, the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management to discuss ongoing and planned conservation projects, congressional issues, national monument designations and management options for wild horses and burros.

Go here to learn how you can be more involved in taking action in behalf of issues benefiting elk, elk country, hunting and conservation.
Fielder, Roady, Board members Fred Lekse & Jerry Pionessa, Government Affairs Director Mark
Lambrecht & Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning (left to right)

RMEF Volunteer Honored in Washington

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Rodger Wallace recently honored Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteer Rodger Wallace with its Volunteer of the Award for Region 5, for his dedication, passion and hard work in assembling RMEF volunteers to conduct habitat work. The write-up used at the presentation is below.

WDFW Asst. Wildlife Manager Anna Sample, Ramona & Rodger Wallace, and WDFW Wildlife Area Manager
Daren Hauswald (left to right)





Volunteer of the Year - Rodger Wallace

Rodger has been a very integral part in helping enhance fish and wildlife habitat on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. Over the last few years Rodger has coordinated volunteers from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the local Toutle Community to help plant trees, control noxious weeds, and build structures to protect trees and shrubs from being over-browsed by elk. Rodger never misses a chance to recruit additional volunteers, talking to everyone he meets on the Mudflow, going to community meetings, and getting the message out to all of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation members statewide to come help out. This year alone he has coordinated volunteers to work on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area for 11 days, resulting in more than 1,000 hours of service, planting more than 10,000 trees and controlling noxious weeds on more than 150 acres. During these volunteer work parties, Rodger has organized campouts adjacent to the Wildlife Area, potlucks and the evening comradery. Rodger is also a very good cook and grills lunch every day during the work party events keeping everyone well fed.

Rodger does not limit himself to only helping out on the Mt. St. Helens Wildlife Area. He also helps coordinate work parties on the Asotin and Oak Creek Wildlife Areas, enhancing and protecting elk habitat across the state. Rodger and his wife Ramona, who is often by his side during the volunteer events, are life members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and serve on the State Resource Committee for the organization. They also help out at many of the Elk Foundation fundraising banquets on the west side of the state, spending several weekends in a row on the road helping to raise money to protect wildlife habitat in Washington and across the country. Much of the money raised at these events comes to WDFW through grants funded by the Elk Foundation to improve elk habitat.

Rodger we want to thank you for your countless hours of hard work and dedication in helping to enhance and protect natural resources across the state. Once again thank you for your stewardship and a job well done.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Call to Action: Comment Now to Delist Yellowstone Grizzly Bears

RMEF Members,

PROVIDE PUBLIC COMMENT IN FAVOR OF DELISTING YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLY BEARS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently reopened its comment process regarding the delisting of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation agrees with wildlife managers that the population is recovered and needs to be placed in the hands of state agencies which already manage all wildlife including black bears, elk, mountain lions and deer. 

Grizzlies were delisted in 2007 but a lawsuit by environmentalists and animal rights groups influenced a federal judge to overturn that ruling. Many who oppose delisting grizzly bears are now more opposed to state-based management authority than to the actual delisting itself. In fact, there is a calculated, coordinated movement by those groups to do away with states managing wildlife. For you and me, the stakes are much higher than just delisting grizzly bears.

Please take the time to weigh in on this important issue. Go here and then click on the “Comment Now!” button to do so. This 30-day comment period closes on October 7, 2016.

The GYE grizzly population is estimated to be 700 or greater and occupies more than 22,500 square miles. Individual bears are being documented in places not seen in more than 100 years. 

Hunters and anglers who purchase licenses have played a key role in providing funding to grizzly bear recovery efforts in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This is a testament to how sportsmen and women pursuing their passions help fund other important wildlife programs. 

Thank you for commenting on this timely, vital wildlife management issue. 

Sincerely, 






David Allen
RMEF President & CEO

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Respecting the Symbol of Elk

Elk are really a totem: an animal that represents so much of what wildness and freedom mean. They’re a symbol of wild land. They’re a symbol of our heritage. They’re a symbol of a way of life. And I think they’re a symbol of the future and what we intend to make happen. The critical thing for us is to lead, not to follow along in the dust when decisions are made about elk and elk habitat.

Jack Ward Thomas 
(1934-2016)

Source: Garfield Milne