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

Monday, September 29, 2014

Good Times at Elk Festival!

What lasts four days, draws folks from across the Upper Midwest and ends with scores of people --young and old-- returning home with full sets of antlers? It's gotta be the annual Elk Festival in tiny Atlanta, Michigan. This year's festival was the event's 30th. Activities included a parade, fish fry, street vendors, raffles, fun run, greased pig contest, live entertainment, pie eating contest and much more.

Among those on hand were volunteers of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. They offered youth and adults alike the opportunity to learn the proper aspects of firearm safety and shooting through the SAFE (Shooting Access for Everyone) Challenge program. SAFE offers participants the chance to shoot a BB gun and also learn about the hunter's role in wildlife management, the importance of hunting as a conservation tool and education about the North American Wildlife Conservation Model. Boys and girls, and their parents, also learned more about elk and elk habitat.

Historically speaking, settlers killed Michigan's last elk in 1877, but by 1915, the state released 23 elk brought from Yellowstone Park. Nine of those went to Cheboygan County. The herd prospered, growing to 1,500 animals by the 1960s. Habitat loss and poaching reduced it to 200 animals by 1975, but better habitat management helped the herd bounce back. Today, about 1,000 wild elk live in Michigan.

Thanks to our dedicated volunteers for helping to spread the word about the RMEF, conservation, elk and elk country!

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