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

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Boy Scouts Do Their Duty, Help Nevada Elk

“Do a good turn daily!” That is the slogan of the Boy Scouts of America. And that’s exactly what a group of them from Smoky Valley Boy Scout Troop 41 did as they worked shoulder to shoulder with family members, six Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers, and Nevada Department of Wildlife and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) personnel to make life a lot easier, and safer, for elk in central Nevada.

"I think the boys did a great job," said Jeff Paulick, Troop 41 former scoutmaster.  "I think it was a good learning experience being able to be involved to help out the wildlife, the community, and being able to work in a team environment with all the groups involved."

"It was really hard shoveling because of the rocks in the ground," said 11-year-old Brian Millard.  "I was glad there were adults there to help."

The group capped off an ambitious project by building six “elk jumps” encompassing a 651 acre piece of prime sagebrush, meadow and riparian habitat on the USFS-owned Warner Ranch property of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in northern Nye County. The crossing structures allow elk and mule deer to more easily negotiate the newly constructed fence, minimizing the risk of injury, entanglement, or death. (A young bull elk got caught up in the barbed wire and died in 2007.)  The structures will also reduce damage that might be caused to the fence by crossing elk and incorporate the use of guy wire markers covering the top two wires of the fence. RMEF funds purchased materials for the construction including treated wood posts, barbless fencing wire, and fence staples.
A crew hired by the USFS rebuilt the old, dilapidated 5.5 mile perimeter fence during the late summer/fall of 2012, and the new fence was tied into the newly constructed crossing structures. Trail cameras will monitor activity on the elk jumps.

The fencing will also protect the meadow by managing livestock use in the area. A myriad of wildlife species regularly utilize the meadow including elk, mule deer, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, Toiyabe spotted frogs and many others. The acreage is also core habitat for the Columbia spotted frog, a candidate species for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

"I thought it was great fun because I got to learn about wildlife from biologist and forest service personnel," said 11-year-old Cody Hawkins.  "I also got to get away from town and spend time in the mountains."

"This is a great group of boys," added Paulick.  "They very much enjoyed being able to come out and help. They look forward to the next time we've invited with a project."
Thank you Troop 41 for living up to the Boy Scouts of America Oath:

On my honor, I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.

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