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

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy 29th Birthday RMEF!

What a difference 29 years makes! On May 14, 1984, four hunters from Northwest Montana pulled the trigger on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an organization dedicated to elk, elk hunting and elk habitat.

Charlie & Yvonne Decker, Bob & Vicki Munson
(Spokane, 1985)
To make it happen, the Charlie Decker, Bob Munson, Bill Munson and Dan Bull –a logger, a realtor, a drive-in owner, and a pastor— drained their bank accounts and borrowed whatever other funds they could get their hands on to get started. They printed 32,000 copies of the premier issue of Bugle magazine. By the end of 1984, membership grew to almost 2,500. RMEF had its first convention in April of 1985 in Spokane, Washington. At that gathering, Anheuser-Busch announced a $500,000 gift for the fledgling organization. That year also marked the first-ever RMEF habitat project—a grant that helped pay for a prescribed burn in the appropriately named Elk Creek on the Kootenai National Forest near Libby.

By 1988, RMEF had 12 staffers, 2,000 volunteers, 70 chapters, 32,000 members and enhanced more than 110,000 acres of elk country. Busting at the seams of office space in three separate locations, RMEF packed its bags and moved 180 miles south and east to its present day home of Missoula. The first stop was a converted warehouse that also became overcrowded after time because of tremendous growth. 

Fast forward to May 14, 2013, and the ball keeps rolling as RMEF celebrates its 29th birthday. Coming off the best year in its history, the organization can proudly proclaim it enhanced or protected more than 6.3 million acres of habitat across the country. Riding its fourth consecutive year of record membership, RMEF now boasts more than 196,000 members and 10,000+ volunteers in more than 500 chapters around the country. But one thing that remains the same from May 14, 1984, to now is the lingering passion for and dedication to elk and elk country. 

Happy birthday RMEF! Here’s to an even stronger future of enhancing the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

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