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

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

RMEF Volunteers Deliver, Conservation Wins BIG

They stood on their chairs. They cheered. They stood on table tops. They cheered. They hugged. They cheered. They rang cow bells. They cheered. They fired confetti bombs into the air. They cheered some more.

They give of their time, their talents, their money, and their energy. They number more than 10,000 strong across the United States. Who are they? They are volunteers for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation! And they are indeed the heart and soul of an organization! 

RMEF recently honored its volunteers at the most rowdy and spirited event at its annual Elk Camp national convention in Las Vegas dubbed, appropriately enough, Volunteer Fun Night. More than a thousand colorfully clad, energetic volunteers and members packed the Mirage to cheer for themselves and their counterparts from chapters across the country. 

Below is a listing of chapter and individual volunteer accomplishments for 2012 celebrated at Elk Camp. 

Top Fundraising States 
1. Wyoming                $1,659,708 
2. Montana                    1,520,412 
3. California                  1,519,533 
4. Colorado                   1,358,168 
5. Washington              1,190,802 
6. Oregon                     1,062,012 

Top Fundraising Chapters 
Wyoming #1 State

1. Tucson, Ariz.               $412,970
2. Fresno, Calif.                 357,785
3. Grand Junction, Colo.    308,826
4. Billings, Mont.                271,821
5. Gillette, Wyo.                 227,180
6. Dime Box, Texas            214,286 

Top Fundraising New Chapters 
1. Etna, Wyo.                       $49,371
2. Fort Morgan, Colo.             28,666
3. Cedar Falls/Waterloo, Iowa 22,456 
Tucson #1 Chapter

Supporting Members 
1. Salt Lake City, Utah      1,165
2. Grand Junction, Colo.       526
3. Denver, Colo.                   500 

Sponsor Members 
1. Tucson, Ariz.               163
2. Grand Junction, Colo.  124
3. Poplar Bluff, Mo.           78 

David Allen

New Chairman of the Board
Lee Swanson
Life Members 
1. Grand Junction, Colo.   60*
2. Tucson, Ariz.                22
3. Libby, Mont.                  9
4. Salt Lake City, Utah       9
*all-time single year record 
Major Gifts 
1. Fresno, Calif.            $250,000
2. Billings, Mo                153,000
3. Vansant, Va.              150,000 

Big Game Banquet Net 
1. Dime Box, Texas       $173,050
2. Tucson, Ariz.               142,842
3. Midland, Texas            127,679 

Big Game Banquet Net/Gross                     Specific Event Net
1. Jefferson City, Mo.      87%                        1. Florence, Ky.           $122,202
2. Dime Box, Texas         82                           2. Tucson, Ariz.                65,012
3. Beaumont, Texas         80                           3. Lander, Wyo.               58,022

                                          New $3 Million Chapter (lifetime)          
Grand Junction, Colo.        $3,113,642 

New $2 Million Chapters (lifetime) 
Kalispell, Mont.                 $2,085,111 
Houston, Texas                   2,050,764 
Salt Lake City, Utah            2,038,992 
Albuquerque, N.M.             2,015,267 

New $1 Million Chapters (lifetime) 
Tillamook, Ore.                  $1,074,245 
Bellevue, Wash.                   1,073,174 
Riverton, Wyo.                    1,064,873 
Dallas, Texas                       1,057,987 
Pinetop, Ariz.                       1,047,057 
Aberdeen, Md.                    1,033,560 
Jackson, Wyo.                     1,030,058 
Florence, Ky.                       1,027,035 
Reno, Nev.                           1,017,116 
Eugene, Ore.                        1,009,646 
Lander, Wyo.                       1,008,601 
Everett, Wash.                      1,000,140 
Olympia, Wash.                    1,000,094 

Greg Harris & Outgoing
Chairman of the Board
John Caid
2012 Chairman’s Award Recipients
Chairman Awards are given each year to recognize standout RMEF volunteers. Four recipients are chosen by their peers for their dedication to the Elk Foundation’s mission. 

Idaho—Greg Harris, Moscow, Idaho, RMEF Palouse/Whitepine Chapter 
A founding member of his chapter, Harris made a lifelong commitment to ensure today’s youths have the same hunting, fishing and outdoor opportunities he had. Harris helps with banquets, mentors new members and volunteers, and leads by example every day. 
Steve Hopkins

Arizona—Steve Hopkins, Tucson, Ariz., RMEF Tucson Chapter
As an RMEF life member, past state chair and Tucson Chapter committee volunteer for nearly two decades, Hopkins committed a great deal of time and energy to wildlife conservation. The Arizona Game and Fish Department and Tucson’s mayor honored him for his ongoing efforts. 

Tim Jacobson

Wisconsin—Tim Jacobson, Kenosha, Wis., RMEF Des Plaines River Chapter 
Shortly after his first elk hunt in 1993 and a visit to RMEF headquarters in Montana, Jacobson founded the Des Plaines River Chapter. He turned the annual chapter banquets into a family affair. His passion and leadership led the chapter to raise more than $500,000 in just 15 years. 
Taylor Orr

Kentucky—Taylor Orr, London, Ky., RMEF Cumberland Valley Chapter
Orr’s service on the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission is one example of his great leadership and love for elk and elk country. He also travels around the state to attend banquets and generously gives of his time and money to advance RMEF’s mission.

RMEF volunteers work tirelessly to host big game banquets in their individual chapters. Funds from those gatherings are turned around and put back on the ground in their own states to further RMEF’s mission of enhancing the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. Volunteers also provide the backbone and muscle for a wide range of on-the-ground projects to benefit elk and elk country. Since 1984, RMEF volunteers helped to preserve or enhance more than 6.2 million acres of habitat, assisted in opening or securing nearly 645,000 acres for public access, and helped complete more than 8,000 permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration, and conservation and hunting heritage projects. 

Are they busy? Yes! Do they love it? Yes! Would they love you to join them? Absolutely yes! (Find more information on becoming an RMEF volunteer here.) 

Thank you volunteers!
Ronnie Dunn sent everyone home happy after rocking Volunteer Fun Night

Thursday, March 21, 2013

RMEF Recognized for Virginia Elk Restoration Efforts

Buchanan Co., Virginia
Elk are back on their native range in Virginia for the first time in more than 150 years. In recognition of their successful return, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently received national recognition for helping make the reintroduction a reality (see video below).

The Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) honored RMEF, the Virginia Oil and Gas Association, and other partners with its Chairman’s Stewardship Award, IOGCC’s highest honor for exemplary efforts by the oil and natural gas industry in environmental stewardship. Specifically, the group received the Environmental Partnership Award for innovative projects led by non-industry organizations with the cooperation of industry.

Here is a summary as presented by IOGCC: 

“Virginia has not seen its native elk roaming since 1855. Unsuccessful attempts to re-introduce the elk ended in 1970. These attempts lacked adequate planning, management and funding to achieve success. To overcome these obstacles, Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries (VGIF) partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. 

“The two organizations developed a plan in which elk from Kentucky would be relocated to Buchanan County, Virginia. This particular habitat included reclaimed surface mines and active natural gas well locations. Both provided vegetation conducive to elk survival. 

“Launching the project required a $300,000 donation from RMEF to VGIF. The RMEF agreed to donate the money on the condition that it was repaid. A local RMEF chapter included a member, Leon Boyd, whose profession and connections with the natural gas industry made the repayment a possibility. Thus, another unique partnership was born: the RMEF, the VGIF and the natural gas industry.”

Recipients include RMEF Lands Program Manager Kim Delozier (sixth from right) & RMEF Regional Director Chris Croy (ninth from right)
Virginia became the sixth state where RMEF helped restore elk, releasing 18 animals on May 18, 2012. Plans are in the works to add more elk to the herd. Just across Virginia’s western border, RMEF helped reintroduce elk to Kentucky 16 years ago, where a herd of 10,000 strong continues to grow and thrive.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SAFE Event Turns Gloomy Day Brighter for Wisconsin Youth

It was a gloomy, overcast day in June 2012, but that didn’t stop 75 children from coming out for the West Salem Rod & Gun Club’s 8th Annual Youth Day, co-sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation's La Crosse Chapter. 

Kids up to 13 years old participated in a variety of activities during the two-hour event, including casting, archery, hatchet throwing, slingshot shooting and a bean bag toss. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see a child’s face light up after they’ve shot a bow or a slingshot or made a great cast for the first time, you have an idea of the smiles that plastered the faces of the kids all afternoon. 

Seven La Crosse Chapter members also conducted a SAFE (Shooting Access for Everyone) event at the affair, where they introduced young and novice shooters to safe and responsible firearms use, and also educated them about the hunter’s role in conservation and the North American Wildlife Conservation Model. Participants also have the opportunity to shoot an air rifle with help from an experienced adult. 

The SAFE event was such a hit that when raindrops finally began to fall, both children and their parents alike opted to get wet rather than give up their spot in line. 

The volunteers had a great time working with the kids, of course, and can’t wait for an opportunity to do so again. The La Crosse Chapter plans to conduct three SAFE events in the local area in 2013. 

--Eric Shoenfeld
RMEF La Crosse Chapter Chair

Friday, March 15, 2013

RMEF CALL TO ACTION on Wolves in Minnesota

Feeling pressure from animal rights groups, a Minnesota state Senate panel voted 7-6 Thursday in favor of a five-year moratorium on future wolf hunting and trapping seasons. The current wolf population is booming at approximately 3,000 with a management plan minimum set at 1,600. So what’s the bottom line?

RMEF calls on its members and others to contact legislators with this simple but mandatory message: LET THE MINNESOTA DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES DO ITS JOB OF CARRYING OUT SCIENCE-BASED MANAGEMENT FOR WOLVES!

Minnesota Senate contact information: http://www.senate.leg.state.mn.us/members/index.php?ls=#header

Wolf hunting “is totally a social issue. There’s no biological reason against having a regulated hunting season.”
—Dr. David Mech, senior research scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, and founder of the International Wolf Center

The bill must advance through several other committees before receiving a full Senate vote.

Media report on wolf moratorium vote: http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2013/03/14/politics/senate-committee-approves-wolf-hunt-bill

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Young Paul Stands Tall at World Elk Calling Championships

You don’t have to be high in stature to stand tall among your peers. Take Paul Griffiths for example. The kindergartener from tiny Kila, Montana, is among the best elk callers in the world. 

Competing at the recent 2013 RMEF World Elk Calling Championships in Las Vegas, Paul stood shoulder-to-shoulder, figuratively anyway, as he competed as the shortest and youngest member in the voice division. In that competition, contestants could only use their voice to make elk sounds, although they could use grunt tubes to project calls. Paul’s “grunt tube” was a neon green, kid’s plastic baseball bat. 

Just so you know how the competition works, the contestants are called to the stage by their numbers so the judges, hidden backstage behind a thick curtain, cannot see who is performing. Each caller is asked to produce cow and calf sounds and bull elk sounds within 15 seconds from the time the announcer asks. A buzzer eventually sounds to signify the end of the time limit. 

How did things turn out for the youngster? Let’s leave the exciting details to Paul’s father, Chris. 

“I just wanted to drop a line letting you all know how much fun my son and I had at the world finals elk calling contest. My son, Paul, competed in the natural voice competition and also played the part of Spiderman for the team finals. Paul placed 3rd in the natural voice division and when he realized that he would be getting an actual trophy he was beside himself. While in Vegas he proudly displayed his trophy and showed it to anyone who would give him the time. He was a celebrity at the airport as many folks on our flight recognized him from the contest. The following Monday he brought in his trophy to show his buddies in his kindergarten class. The memories made at this Elk Camp will be cherished forever and will be close to ones that will be made at the real elk camps. Good times. Thank You. Chris Griffiths.” 

So here’s to Paul Griffiths, the elk calling pride of northwest Montana and a youngster who stands head and shoulders above so many of us. Congrats Paul! Here's looking up to you kid!

William Card, Paul Griffiths & Russell Nemetchek (front row, L to R)
Trent Penrod & Lindsay Ross (back)
Voice Division:
1. William Card, Fallon, Nev.
2. Russell Nemetchek, Saskatoon, Sask.
3. Paul Griffiths, Kila, Mont.
4. Trent Penrod, Lakeside, Ariz.
5. Lindsay Ross, Clayton, Okla.

Recognizing Those Who Do So Much for Elk and Elk Country

Elk Camp 2013 in Las Vegas was not only a time to celebrate elk and elk country, but a time to recognize those who work hard to maintain and improve vital elk habitat. 

Eight out of every 10 wild elk spend all or part of the year on the 72 million acres of national forests and grasslands across the country. In addition, of the total 277 million acres of elk habitat in the western United States, approximately  43 million acres (16%) are managed by the Bureau of Land Management.   
That’s why the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the US Forest Service (USFS) and the BLM continue to work diligently to conserve critical winter, summer and calving ranges, improve forest, rangeland, grassland and riparian health and conduct research on public lands. Along with other federal, state, tribal, conservation and private partners, RMEF and USFS provided more than $196 million to fund more than 2,500 projects to conserve and enhance more than 2.8 million acres of elk country. Likewise, RMEF and the BLM joined with other partners to invest more than $107 million to complete over 840 projects - successfully conserving nearly 1.5 million acres of elk habitat on BLM-managed public lands.

The purpose of the Elk Country Awards is to acknowledge BLM and USFS employees and units for outstanding conservation, habitat enhancement, and partnership efforts on public lands in elk country. Awards are granted in four categories: habitat enhancement, individual achievement, partner coordination, and special achievement. 

2013 Elk Country Award winners: 

Rod Triepke (RMEF), Dale Gomez & Steve Segovia (USFS) 
Dale Gomez, wildlife biologist on the Rio Grande National Forest, received the 2013 RMEF Elk Country Award for Individual Achievement for his long-standing commitment to excellence in wildlife habitat enhancement. This national award recognized his wildlife habitat work on the Rio Grande National Forest in cooperation with RMEF, nine projects since 1998, but also for the eight cooperative projects when he was a wildlife biologist on the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. His projects resulted in nearly 14,000 acres of wildlife habitat improvement projects benefiting elk and a wide variety of other wildlife found in elk country. 

Dwight Fielder (BLM), James Sparks & Triepke
James R. Sparks, wildlife biologist with the BLM's Missoula Field Office, received the 2013 RMEF Elk Country Award for sustained dedication and to elk conservation and habitat enhancement. This national award was presented jointly by RMEF and BLM for Sparks' outstanding work from 2006 through 2012. Sparks is a consummate professional, working tirelessly on projects to improve wildlife habitat including prescribed burning, noxious weed control, forest thinning and fence removal. He has been the lead on nine cooperative projects with RMEF. His projects treated more than 2,700 acres of wildlife habitat in elk country. Sparks is also active with projects that engage youth in elk and wildlife management through educational efforts and by incorporating student groups in conservation projects. 

The Willamette National Forest received the 2013 RMEF Elk Country Award for Wildlife Habitat Management, a national award that recognizes excellence in restoring the long-term health and productivity of elk habitat at a landscape level. The forest and RMEF cooperated on 41 projects dating back to 1989. More than 75 percent of the forest has been reserved for mature and late successional terrestrial or aquatic species. However in the remainder of the forest, the Willamette in partnership with RMEF continues to thin and fertilize approximately 2,500 acres per year to rejuvenate essential forage and an additional 1,150 acres of seeding and planting of desired forage grasses, annuals and shrubs and weed treatments to maintain early seral habitat for Roosevelt elk and other wildlife in elk country. 

Penny Harris, Ruby Seitz, Daryl Whitmore (Willamette National Forest), Segovia & Triepke
Thank you to these good folks and all others who do so much to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Yellowstone Elk Population Falls, Concern Grows

Data from a the latest aerial survey of the Northern Yellowstone Elk population indicates numbers continue to decline. The overall count of 3,915 elk is 6 percent lower than the 2012 winter count of 4,714.  

A Yellowstone-sponsored report from the mid-1990s stated "Fifteen North American wolf experts predicted that 100 wolves in Yellowstone would reduce the elk by less than 20 percent, 10 years after reintroduction." In reality, that number turned out to be 44 percent. If you look back at the elk count of 1994, the year before the start of the wolf reintroduction program, the size of the elk herd is now down by 80 percent!  

Year               Elk Population               
2012                3,915                      
2011                4,174                                     
2010                4,635                       
2009                6,070                   
2008                6,279                     
2007                6,738
2006                6,588
2005                9,545                   
2004                8,335
2003-02           9,215
2001                11,969
2000                13, 400 (prior to late season elk hunt)
1999                14,538  (prior to late season elk hunt)
1998                11,742
1997                 no count taken                                
1996                 no count taken               
1995                16,791 (when wolf reintroduction began)                    
1994                19,045 (year before wolf reintroduction)                          

Below are comments from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation President and CEO David Allen:

About the nicest thing I can say is this trend continues to disappoint in major proportion. While wolves are certainly not the exclusive factor for the dramatic decline in this once showcase herd of elk in world; there is no denying a correlation of this herd's decline with the introduction of wolves in the greater Yellowstone region. All the rhetoric in the world will not change this issue.
David Allen

Combine this decline with all the other issues elk face in this region including other predators, habitat issues and man's growing presence causes one to consider where and when this does change, how does this end? Additionally, we have environmentalists now calling on Congress to consider re-listing wolves in all states stating that "science supports this..." The manipulation of this entire wolf restoration program into a "fundraising" tool has to be seen for what it is. 

The insanity of this has to stop and let state game agencies in all states do their jobs. Like it or not, a huntable, sustainable population of elk is critical to the long term existence of many state game agencies.

M. David Allen
RMEF President & CEO

A Call to Action in Colorado

To RMEF members, 

As most you know, there are a number of gun control-related bills making their way through the Colorado Legislature. Among them is Senate Bill 196 which holds all manufacturers, distributors and owners of ANY rifle –excluding bolt-action— they produce, sell or use, liable if that gun is misused to harm another person. If passed, this would prevent the presence of these rifles at RMEF big game banquets and, therefore, could drastically reduce RMEF’s ability to raise funds at banquets to do conservation work in Colorado. 

RMEF urges its individual members, volunteers, and all others concerned with such legislation to contact your state Senator and/or state Representative via email or by telephone (303 866-2316). Go here for complete list of contact info: http://www.leg.state.co.us/CLICS/CLICS2011A/csl.nsf/directory?openframeset

Senate Bill 196— Assault weapons manufacturer liability
House Bill 1224— Bans magazines with a capacity greater than fifteen rounds
House Bill 1226 – Repeals current law allowing individuals with a concealed carry permit to carry a firearm for self-defense on a college or university campus
House Bill 1228 – Imposes a “gun tax” for a background check when purchasing a firearm
House Bill 1229 – Criminalizes the private transfer of a firearm

Monday, March 4, 2013

World Elk Calling Champions Claim Their Titles

LAS VEGAS, Nev.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation crowned a series of champions at the 25th annual World Elk Calling Championships in Las Vegas.

Headlining the bunch is Bryan Langley of McMinnville, Oregon, who successfully defended his 2012 crown in the professional division. It was also a banner weekend for the Jacobsens, the “First Family” of Elk Calling. Jacobsen family members took first place in the peewee and women’s divisions, and topped the field in the first-ever Champion of Champions competition, an invitational involving previous winners of the professional division.

Winners are listed below. More details will soon follow.

PeeWee Division 
1. Isaac Jacobsen, Boise, Ida.
2. Sutton Callaway, Maricopa, Calif.
3. Kason Hulsey, Eagar, Ariz.

Youth Division
1. Greg Hubbell, Jr., Belmont, Calif.
2. Brayden Langley, McMinnville, Ore.
3. Elias McMillan, Grand Junction, Colo.

Voice Division
1. William Card, Fallon, Nev.
2. Russell Nemetchek, Saskatoon, Sask.
3. Paul Griffiths, Kila, Mont.

Women’s Division 
1. Misty Jacobsen, Monterey, Calif. (pictured)
2. Jessi Diesing, Loveland, Colo.
3. Kristy Titus, Bend, Ore.

Men’s Division 
1. Dirk Durham, Moscow, Ida.
2. Chris Griffiths, Kila, Mont.
3. Brad Cain, Mesa, Ariz.

Professional Division
1. Bryan Langley, McMinnville, Ore.
2. Corey Jacobsen, Boise, Ida.
3. Rockie Jacobsen, Kamiah, Ida.

Champion of Champions
Corey Jacobsen, Boise, Ida.

Friday, March 1, 2013

A Monumental Moment, Honoring a Man & Spreading His Legacy

They rose to their feet as one. More than a thousand elk and elk country lovers clapped and cheered to recognize the magnitude of the moment.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation just entered a new stratosphere of conservation thanks to the vision and passion of one man and his family. RMEF President and CEO David Allen announced the creation of the $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment that came from the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, formerly known as the Double H Ranch, which was owned by the late Bob Torstenson and gifted to RMEF a decade earlier. 

Gwen and Eric Torstenson & David Allen
On stage at Elk Camp, before a full house at RMEF's national convention, Bob’s youngest son Eric and his wife, Gwen, acknowledged the response. Eric, at times overcome with emotion, expressed his love for his father, and his father’s love for family, elk and elk hunting. 

Bob Torstenson
Allen then promised Eric that RMEF would spread Bob Torstenson’s passion and legacy via on-the-ground conservation and hunting heritage projects that would positively affect future generations. RMEF founders Bob Munson and Charlie Decker immediately followed and pledged to do the same. 

The mantle is now passed. It now rests with RMEF. Time to go forward and deliver! 

Check out this Outdoor Life article for a Q & A with David Allen about the transaction. 

(Below is a news release announcing the Torstenson Family Endowment.) 

$30 Million Torstenson Family Endowment a “Game Changer” for RMEF Conservation

.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is the recipient of one of the largest endowments ever gifted to a hunter-based, wildlife conservation organization. The $30 million Torstenson Family Endowment will allow RMEF to vastly accelerate the rate at which its carries out its mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

“This is a monumental game-changer for RMEF,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Thanks to the generosity of the Torstenson family, this endowment allows RMEF to expand Bob Torstenson’s passion and vision for wildlife and conservation in ways we could have never imagined.”

The Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) comes as a result of the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, former known as the Double H Ranch, a sprawling 93,403 acre ranch in west-central New Mexico gifted to the RMEF by Bob Torstenson in 2002.

RMEF will use proceeds from the TFE to further its core mission programs: permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

“The impact this endowment will have on RMEF’s on-the-ground projects is incredibly far-reaching,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “This gives us the potential to increase our mission accomplishments substantially. RMEF plans to invest half a million dollars this year alone toward improving elk habitat and supporting hunting heritage projects.”

The TFE allows RMEF to increase project funding by attracting matching funds both from the private and public sectors. It also allows RMEF to much more quickly meet and head off the habitat changes and challenges taking place across the United States.

RMEF also maintains a conservation easement on the entire 93,403.4 acres of deeded land which stretches between two mountain ranges—the Datils and the Gallinas—and two portions of the Cibola National Forest. It harbors thickly timbered ridges, deep coulees and steep hillsides. At the property’s center is an expansive plain, 80-acre lake and accompanying riparian habitat. It is home to elk, deer, pronghorns, mountain lions, coyotes, quail and a variety of song bird and other species. The easement looks the same today as when Bob Torstenson originally placed it on the property, meaning the habitat remains conserved and protected forever.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
RMEF is leading a conservation initiative that protected or enhanced habitat on more than 6.2 million acres—an area larger than Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Yosemite and Rocky Mountain national parks combined. RMEF also is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. RMEF members, partners and volunteers, working together as Team Elk, are making a difference all across elk country. Join us at www.rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

RMEF “Girls” Just Wanna Have Fun

I think Cyndi Lauper hit the nail on the head in her 1983 mega-hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.” And the women of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation fall right into line with Lauper’s words of wisdom. You want evidence? Take the opening day auction schedule at Elk Camp, RMEF’s national convention at the Las Vegas Convention Center. 

Let’s start with the Hunters Lunch and Auction. The Hunters Auction is open to men and women but men dominate the scene. An estimated 500-strong fill the auction hall with their western-style shirts and cowboys hats where the atmosphere is rather tame. The Hunters Auction goes as planned as item after item is displayed, auctioned, and purchased. There may be a victorious thumbs up or slight fist pump gesture, but that’s about the extent of it. Generally speaking, it’s a regimented, business-as-usual kind of event. 
On the other hand, you’ve got the sold out Ladies Auction where men are NOT invited!

The women of RMEF are a colorful, spirited, vocal bunch. Many of them show up dressed for the occasion in a tribute of sorts to special guest Flint Rasmussen, the most famous rodeo clown or rodeo barrelman in the sport of bull riding. The music blares. They dance. They visit. They laugh. They enjoy.

Like their male counterparts, they open their checkbooks. And when they win, there’s little doubt from any of the 300-strong who is heading home with their purchased prize.

And that brings us full circle back to Cyndi Lauper… 

“When the working day is done,
Oh girls. They wanna have fun.
Oh girls. Just wanna have fun!”

Thanks RMEF ladies for your support, your enthusiasm, and your passion!