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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Giving Thanks

Dear RMEF Family,

We live in an ever-evolving, fast-paced world. Technology is changing by leaps and bounds and most of us seem to be wrapped up in more activities than ever before. One thing that should not and must not change is our recognition of all the many blessings we enjoy, especially when the day set aside to do just that is poached more and more by the hustle and bustle of Black Friday. 

President George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God." Can it be stated any better than that?

We are a blessed people and we need to slow down a moment, especially this Thanksgiving holiday if not always, and recognize that. Ours is a free and bounteous country. I am thankful for my wife, my two boys, my friends and my RMEF family. I am grateful to be part of this grand conservation effort to enhance the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. I recognize and so appreciate the efforts of RMEF volunteers and members from coast-to-coast. Together, we are doing great things for elk and elk country while fortifying and passing on our hunting tradition. 

As you gather this Thanksgiving season, pause with me to look around, let it all sink in, give thanks and express sincere gratitude to loved ones and our Maker for the many blessings in each of our lives. 


M. David Allen
RMEF President/CEO

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

RMEF Helps Mississippi Town Still on the Mend

Alice Ortiz/Monroe Journal
It’s just a check. It’s also a morale boost for a small Mississippi town of just 857 residents nearly wiped off the map by a tornado in 2011. 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently awarded a $2,500 grant for Smithville High School to purchase equipment to begin a new archery program. The school now has the financial backing to take part in the Archery in Mississippi Schools or AIMS program which is designed to introduce archery to participants in grades 4-12. 

A powerful EF-5 tornado, nearly three miles tall and half a mile wide with winds in excess of 200 miles an hour, roared through town on April 27, 2011, killing 17 people, and destroying 80 percent of the town including 153 homes, 14 of Smithville’s 16 businesses, and leveling the school campus, which serves about 600 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The death toll reached 339 across a seven state region, making the storm outbreak the deadliest in the nation since 1925. 
Locals rallied by picking up the pieces to rebuild their homes, their lives and their school. Construction on campus includes a new tornado-proof dome, the first of its kind in Mississippi that will double as a gymnasium and rec complex. Once completed, chances are it will also be home to flying arrows and archery targets. RMEF is happy to assist the community heal in just a small way by helping establish a new program for its youth.

WTVW/Drew Powell
“We are a conservation organization and raise money to support the different conservation education programs. I talked to Mississippi about their AIMS program and they referred us to Smithville. They asked for help and we delivered,” RMEF Regional Director Randy Waterhouse told the Monroe Journal, “We are thrilled to help kick archery off here in Smithville.”

“We are happy to have archery at Smithville,” said Jill Horne, archery instructor. “Your donation will go a long way in helping us get the equipment we need.”

Monday, November 11, 2013

Access Granted!

“Access Provided by RMEF.” That is what the sign reads in north-central California’s elk country. A committee member from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Mendo-Lake Chapter came across it while out in the wild. The sign stands in stark contrast to many other signs – "No Trespassing," "Do Not Enter," etc. – found across the country.

In a day and age when both elk habitat and access to land is decreasing, RMEF is stepping up efforts to open and secure public access. In fact, public access is at the heart of RMEF’s mission. Since 1984, RMEF opened and/or secured public access to more than 667,000 acres of land across the country. 

Courtesy Kevin Root
Take this specific piece of California, for example. RMEF’s acquisition of the Indian Creek property, thanks to a generous donation by the late Ted Martin, linked together two existing parcels of public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and provided access to an area that was not previously available to the public. It’s also critical habitat used by more than 100 Tule elk year-round, a vital calving grounds, and is also one of the best and most popular places to view elk in all of California. RMEF acquired the 231-acre tract from a private landowner with a goal to transfer it into public ownership. The BLM is already managing the property and will assume ownership in a couple of years.

So here’s to public access! And securing more of it!

Indian Creek, California

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Giving Thanks for Our Veterans

Dear RMEF Family,

History always gives us a good perspective not only where we’ve been but what we have today and what our future holds tomorrow. Let’s keep that in mind as we celebrate Veterans Day on Monday, November 11, 2013. 

There is great significance to the fact that Veterans Day falls on November 11. Veterans Day, or Armistice Day and Remembrance Day as it’s referred to in other parts of the world, is observed to mark the end of World War I which formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 when the armistice with Germany took effect. 

When President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, he said, "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”

There is no more special group of Americans among us than our veterans. They literally put their lives on the line to defend and protect the many freedoms we enjoy as individuals and as an RMEF family. To them – many of whom are family members, friends, RMEF volunteers, staffers and members – we thank you for your dedication to and sacrifices for our great nation.


RMEF President/CEO

Friday, November 8, 2013

A Personal Testimonial of Conservation, RMEF

Below is a reprint of an article by Edward Gramza IV from HuntingLife.com.

My take on Conservation by Edward Gramza IV

Teddy Roosevelt
Edward Gramza IV
Theodore Roosevelt once said, “In a civilized and cultivated country, wild animals only continue to exist at all when preserved by sportsmen.” This is true more today than ever before. The fact that people are expanding their presence throughout the country, the wild areas where animals reside is constantly shrinking. Without the help of conservation groups and sportsmen, more of the animals we pursue as prey would be scarcer. 

Roosevelt was an avid hunter and member of the Rough Riders. However, Roosevelt was also an advocate for the preservation of animals and wild places. During his years as President, he was instrumental in the formation of numerous National Parks and National Monuments. Roosevelt saw the value in preservation and conservation for the benefit of future generations. In 1905, Roosevelt used his authority as president to protect wild animals and public lands by creating the U.S. Forest Service.

Fast forward to today, and you have a countless number of local and national conservation groups. A few of the most popular include the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Safari Club International, and the National Wild Turkey Federation. The one thing that these groups advocate is the preservation of both game animals and their habitat. A large portion of the funds that are raised go towards reintroduction programs and rehabilitation of current and historical ranges. Funds are raised through donations, auctions, membership fees, local banquets, and sales of merchandise. 

Kentucky elk release
One group that I personally support is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. Every year I renew my membership and attend a local banquet. The RMEF has local chapters throughout the country and raises millions of dollars each year. In turn, RMEF uses these funds to help states pay for reintroduction efforts along with habitat protection. Since 1984, the RMEF has protected over 6 million acres of land throughout the country that is open to sportsman to pursue their next trophy.

In 1996, the RMEF pledged $1.4 million to reintroduce elk to eastern Kentucky. Currently there is a population in the state of over 10,000 elk. Starting in 2001 Kentucky started a hunting program by selling 12 tags to harvest an elk. Now Kentucky has a very successful hunting program within the state and a very sought after tag by both residents and non-residents. Other states throughout the country are gradually increasing their elk herds with the help of the RMEF in hopes of having limited hunting seasons.

Kentucky today
One of the most important aspects of conservation is regulated hunting efforts. Hunting is a way of helping to control animal numbers and prevent over population. While anti-hunting groups feel that hunting is animal cruelty, the true act of cruelty would be to allow populations to explode which would lead to starvation and over grazing of the natural habitat. This in turn would cause more animals to die of starvation than the number of animals that are taken during legal hunting seasons. 

In 1939, the federal government introduced an excise tax on all hunting and fishing equipment. The money generated from this tax is distributed to state agencies that fund protection to hunted and non-hunted species. With sportsman and hunters paying the excise tax, it helps to generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year for state and local conservation efforts.

With what Theodore Roosevelt said many years ago, we as hunters and sportsman have an ethical duty to preserve both animals and the habitat they inhabit. Without the efforts of many organizations and government agencies, hunting would not exist as it does today. If left unregulated, most game animals would go the way of the buffalo. Only through conservation organizations and support by sportsmen and women can we continue to enjoy hunting as we know it today.