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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Kids Flock to Youth Wildlife Conservation Field Day

More than 100 boys and girls and their parents converged on the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation headquarters in Missoula, Montana, last October for a free Youth Wildlife Conservation Field Day to learn about RMEF’s conservation and hunting heritage mission, North America’s wildlife and the value of spending time outdoors.

Created by RMEF through the generosity and vision of Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA, this event had previously been a part of Elk Camp in Las Vegas. 

“We hoped these kids would leave the event with a curiosity about the outdoors, and a healthy respect for the importance of wildlife conservation,” says Ralph Cinfio III, RMEF vice president of fundraising services. 

The local Cabela’s store staff gave kids an opportunity to shoot BB Guns in their inflatable BB gun range and held a fly-fishing seminar. In addition, the local Sportsman’s Warehouse hunting manager taught basic archery skills and kids got a chance to practice shooting at targets set up outside in the parking lot. Volunteer big game measurers from the Boone & Crockett Club hosted a beginner’s scoring session, where youths learned how to score elk antlers. The Montana Trapper’s Association president, vice president and district director also were on hand to teach about the value of trapping and show how it can be an efficient and effective management method.

As part of the National Be Bear Aware & Wildlife Stewardship Campaign, local Girl Scouts and the Be Bear Aware staff demonstrated the importance of appropriate safety techniques for hiking, camping and hunting in bear country, and for viewing and living with wildlife safely and responsibly. The youths were asked to test their knowledge about bears, mountain lions and other wildlife. They even got to practice the proper technique for discharging bear spray, using test cans containing a benign spray formula, as taught by the Be Bear Aware staff. 

After a free on-site lunch, the event wrapped up with drawings for both young people and adults for Daisy Red Ryder BB Guns, Browning Yukon Backpacks, a Tikka rifle and RMEF Team Elk Packs. No one went home empty-handed though, as everyone received a free grab bag with a copy of Bugle, a Team Elk Season 3 DVD, a RMEF bandana or hat, decals, a RMEF calendar, an elk call and a free RMEF youth membership for all youth participants. 

“The future looks bright for conservation and our hunting heritage, thanks to the generosity and vision of the Potterfields and MidwayUSA,” says Cinfio.

“This event was a great way for young people and their families to learn about the importance of conservation and what RMEF is all about,” says Crystal Parrish, RMEF chapter services coordinator, who volunteered to help out with the weekend event. “I enjoyed watching the kids have fun learning about activities they can do outdoors, and I really hope it encourages both the kids and their families to get out and enjoy elk country.”

Lauren Hummel
RMEF Field Program Manager

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