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


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Cold and Wet Should Describe More than Your Dog’s Nose

'Tis the season when hunters head afield in search of meat to fill the family freezer. It is also the time of year when temperatures are chilly or down-right cold and those who are in the backcountry often build warming fires to begin or cap off the day’s hunt.

Those fires, when not properly extinguished, can smolder and eventually come back to life. Fire prevention specialists urge hunters and all others who build fires in the wild to use water and dirt before going on your way. It is vital to make sure your fire is dead out so you can have peace of mind. Cold and wet should describe more than you dog’s nose.

Below is a message from the Bridger-Teton National Forest but it applies to all who hunt on public or private lands across the nation.

Unfortunately, when the hunt season starts in early September, we see more and more warming fires left behind from hunting activity. Most often, 90 percent of the time, the fires are in very remote areas off or near a trail and a small amount of trash might be left behind.

These fires become visible after the sun warms the fire and winds start up. They then become visible to others in the area or from passing aircraft overhead. To help determine fire cause, we look at lightning maps and other fire source indicators to eliminate the potential causes and narrow it down to actual source for the fire. 

Within two weeks on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, we have had 13 fires. All have been determined to be warming fires from hunters spotting for big game. 

We are very grateful for the hunters who do take the time to try and put out these same fires and also for taking the steps to call in the locations of these unwanted fires enabling firefighters can get to the incident before the fires get too big and costly.

Lesley Williams Gomez 
North Zone Fire Prevention, Education and Information
Forest Service
Bridger-Teton National Forest, Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

California Rendezvous: Sprucing Up Elk Country

What do you get when you have more than 30 members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation from eight different chapters gather in one meadow? After a few hours of sweat and flexed muscle, you get better habitat for elk and other wildlife.

The volunteers came together near Pondosa in northern California, some 30 miles southeast of Mount Shasta. The area is prime California elk country. 

With that in mind, the participants of all ages focused their pruning shears, saws, tools and other efforts on removing conifers that were choking out native grasses and other forbs that provide feed for elk. Volunteers hacked down small trees and removed other vegetation to better open the way for sunshine.

As they worked shoulder-to-shoulder, they also renewed old friendships and formed new ones.

When the day’s work was done, the dedicated volunteers not only firmed up this little portion of elk habitat but also firmed up relationships between chapters, learned more about RMEF accomplishments and celebrated those accomplishments…together!


RMEF’s Biggest Little Volunteer

Ahnie Ivie
Still in elementary school, she’s a legacy partner wild about conservation

Even amongst the most dedicated Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation members, few can say they were movers and shakers for conservation in elementary school, much less an RMEF legacy partner, for that matter. Ahnya Ivie—partial to her nickname Ahnie—is that 9-year-old, headed solidly into a lifestyle built around giving back for wildlife.

No stranger to the RMEF mission, Ahnie hit legacy partner status this year with a $900 donation to RMEF. How’d she do it? Selling candy bars for conservation.

She’s always cooking up ideas, says her mom, Katie Moody, co-chair of the Buffalo Chapter in Wyoming. This year, Ahnie told her mom she wanted to sell something to raise money for the Elk Foundation. After some thought, Ahnie proceeded to use her own hard-earned money to buy 90 candy bars. She works for her money by picking up extra chores; mucking stalls and cleaning her mom’s pickup truck.

“I’ve never seen it cleaner,” Katie says. “I was just saying I need another raffle so that my truck can get cleaned again.”

With her supplies in hand, Ahnie was on a mission, chatting with everyone and selling candy bars until they were all gone. “She’s a heck of a sales lady,” Katie says.

The bars sold for $10 apiece, racking up the $900 donation, one of the largest in the chapter. It also officially made Ahnie an RMEF legacy partner. But this isn’t Ahnie’s first venture at raising money for elk country.

Last year, she turned heads when she raised money at her RMEF-themed birthday party. Katie said when they talked about her party, “she very promptly replied that instead of birthday presents for her maybe people could give the RMEF a present to make money for the elk.” Mom helped her plan how to make it happen and Ahnie raised $200 at her party. Instead of simply donating it to RMEF, Ahnie used the money to purchase a .22 revolver that was later raffled off at the chapter’s annual big game banquet for $3,100.

Ahnie has a simple take on things—she just wants to have fun and donate. With hopes to one day become a veterinarian helping animals, especially horses, Ahnie spends her time cooking up ideas to help wildlife. She is a frequent attendee at chapter events, showing up at the Thermopolis Chapter's “Women for Wildlife” ladies' event this year and also volunteering at the Powder River Chapter's annual big game banquet, helping sell raffle tickets.

Getting involved clearly runs in the family, and Ahnie’s desire to raise money stems from watching others. “The Wyoming chapter is like a big family unit,” Katie says. “She went and saw other people getting involved and realized she could too.”

Kathryn Brandos
Bugle Intern

Friday, September 25, 2015

National Hunting & Fishing Day -- A Day to Celebrate

RMEF Family,

Okay, it’s not exactly Christmas morning or Opening Day of hunting season but Saturday, September 26, 2015, is significant. It marks the 43rd anniversary of National Hunting and Fishing Day, which recognizes the significant contributions of hunters and anglers for their conservation efforts and promotes outdoor recreation.

President Richard Nixon signed the first National Hunting and Fishing Day proclamation on May 2, 1972, and said, "I urge all citizens to join with outdoor sportsmen in the wise use of our natural resources and in insuring their proper management for the benefit of future generations."

Isn’t that what it’s all about? Those of us who hunt and fish are the strongest advocates of land and wildlife conservation. Hunters and anglers helped restore ailing historic wildlife populations to today’s more healthy levels by paying a disproportionate share of the costs through excise taxes on equipment and the payment of license fees.

Now the ball is in our court. We need to help those around us experience a personal, hands-on reawakening of the beauty of the great outdoors. 

So if you’re armed with a bow, muzzleloader, rifle, fishing pole, camera or just a pair of hiking boots, share that love and appreciation with others. Take them into the hills, forests or onto the waterways. And when you do so, make sure you take along members of the younger generation. They will thank you for it. 

Thank you for your commitment to our land and wildlife resources.

Sincerely,


David Allen
RMEF President & CEO




Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Honoring a North Carolina Wildlife 'Lifer'

Kim DeLozier and wife Donna
Plain and simple, it was an evening dedicated to those who make a real difference for wildlife and conservation in North Carolina. They gathered from across the state for the North Carolina Wildlife Federation’s 52nd Annual Governor’s Conservation Achievement Awards. The awards are the highest natural resource honors given in the state and recognize those who have shown an unwavering commitment to conservation in North Carolina.

Among those on hand was Kim Delozier, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation conservation program manager serving over the eastern United States. Kim was among 20 honorees who work for species ranging from elk, falcons, song birds and bear as well as water quality and land stewardship advocates, those helping to preserve unique ecosystems and others connecting youth to nature. 

“Our natural resources sustain the lives of countless species and are a part of our rich heritage,” said Governor Pat McCrory. “From the mountains to the coast, North Carolina can boast of preserving wildlife habitats that make our communities stronger and keep our state beautiful. It is my privilege to join the North Carolina Wildlife Federation in congratulating this year’s honorees for their dedication to protection of wildlife and wildlife habitats in North Carolina.”

Delozier’s efforts have proven instrumental in working with various state agencies to assist with elk restoration projects east of the Mississippi River.

Below are the introductory remarks made before Kim’s acceptance speech. 

Kim DeLozier worked for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for 32 years, and for 32 years DeLozier had his hands in some of the most complex, intriguing wildlife issues of the era. Black bears, wild hogs, river otter, peregrine falcons, elk, red wolves, skunks, deer—from reintroductions to re-locations to restoring vanished populations, Delozier was the go-to, hands-on guy for a huge range of Great Smokies wildlife.

And then he retired, and DeLozier learned something about himself. After three decades of working on some of the thorniest, and most rewarding, wildlife issues of the Southern Appalachians, his heart was so wound up in the wildlife of the high country that he couldn’t stop, caring, couldn’t stop thinking, couldn’t stop working for wildlife.

And that’s what this retiree has done ever since. DeLozier has worked with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, NC Wildlife Federation, The Conservation Fund, NC Wildlife Resources Commission and other partners to establish the first wildlife management area for elk in North Carolina in Maggie Valley in Haywood County. Thanks to Kim’s biological training, educational efforts, and interpersonal skills, the Wildlife Commission and others have begun to recognize the conservation and economic benefits that a sustainable elk population can bring to Western North Carolina. 

Use it or lose it seems to be DeLozier’s mantra. Use the expertise and insight and passion of 32 years of wildlife service—or see the high country lost its chance to thrive in an ever-challenging world. Kim DeLozier is the Wildlife Conservationist of the Year.

Congratulations to Kim and all the other award winners for their dedication to conservation and wildlife.

As a side note, Kim is also author of the Wall Street Journal best seller Bear in the Backseat, Adventures of a Wildlife Ranger. The compilation of short stories chronicles his experiences in a previous career working as a ranger in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

It’s also a pretty good read—not surprising when you consider Kim’s dedication to wildlife coupled with his zest for life.

Department of Natural Resources Director of Government Affairs Matthew Dockman, Delozier & NC Wildlife
Federation Vice Chair Dr. Bob Brown (left to right)

Thursday, September 10, 2015

From Struggling Preemie to Future Elk Hunter

Below is a letter we received from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation member Bo Dailey.

Wilson's first Bugle magazine
Hi, first off I want to say I love your organization and your publication! I live in Polson, Montana, so elk, hunting and the outdoors are a huge part of my life. 

This picture is of our son Wilson while he was in his incubator in the NICU at Benefis in Great Falls. Wilson was born 15 weeks premature or over two and a half months early at just 25 weeks. He was touch-and-go for a long time and there where multiple times we thought he might not make it, but thankfully he did and spent the first three months of his life in the hospital. 

One day one of the nurses told us that it is good for preemie babies to look at pictures and books and such. So me, dreaming of the day I could take Wilson to the woods chasing elk, figured why not get him started right away with his first lesson with my favorite magazine, Bugle, so he was ready when we hit the woods. As you can see in the picture he seems very interested and studying the elk and seemed to really enjoy it! 

Wilson is now two and a half years old and doing great and I plan on taking him to the woods with me this fall on his first elk hunt and can't wait for the day he gets to hunt with me with his own elk tag in hand. 

You don't have to use this pic for anything if you don't want but I just wanted to share it with you because it always makes me smile that Wilson's first reading material was a Bugle!

Thanks!
Bo Dailey

Thanks for the letter Bo and best of luck in the field to both you and Wilson.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Pausing, Remembering and Honoring on September 11th

RMEF Family,

Where were you 14 years ago today? That’s a question not many of us can remember right off the top of our heads, but if I say “Where were you on September 11, 2001, when terrorists struck our country?’ you would immediately remember.

Nineteen terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners. Two of the airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Another slammed into the Pentagon and the fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. Many people lost their lives on 9-11. 

That day caused us as a nation to collectively shake and tremble. It also strengthened our resolve to reach out to our friends, neighbors and fellow citizens to mourn and then stand tall together as Americans. 

September 11 is recognized as Patriot Day. It is a day of reflection. It is also a day of service—a day to look beyond ourselves and volunteer to help those around us. That is something that our RMEF family members know very well. We have more than 11,000 dedicated volunteers who work tirelessly to further our mission of ensuring the future of elk and elk country. 

Join me on September 11 to pause, remember and honor those we lost 14 years ago. Then let’s keep moving forward together and recognize the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Let’s continue to make a difference by serving each other and the land and wildlife we love.

Gratefully,




M. David Allen
RMEF President/CEO



Thursday, September 3, 2015

RMEF, Partners Team Up to Improve Montana Wildlife Habitat

Below is a news release issued by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks regarding habitat enhancement work that took place in southwest Montana funded, in part, by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        SEPTEMBER 3, 2015
Contact: Andrea Jones, 406-994-6931

HABITAT IMPROVEMENT IMPORTANT FOR WILDLIFE BIG AND SMALL

(Bozeman)—Recent habitat improvement work on Fleecer Mountain and Mount Haggin wildlife management areas (WMAs) in southwest Montana is improving vital winter range for deer and elk while also helping protect smaller wildlife species.

FWP actively manages for cover and habitat that is more productive for wildlife. In doing so, this non-commercial improvement project involves tree-cutting (done by hand) to help stop the encroachment of Douglas-fir trees into areas with more desirable cover types such as bitterbrush, sagebrush and aspen.

In total, 148 acres of critical mule deer and elk winter range in the Charcoal Gulch area of Fleecer WMA have been treated for Douglas-fir encroachment into aspen- and sagebrush stands. Meanwhile, 64 acres of mule deer and elk winter range in the German Gulch area of Mount Haggin WMA have been treated for Douglas-fir encroachment into bitterbrush stands.

Protecting the bitterbrush, sagebrush and aspen means better shelter and cover for smaller mammals and songbirds.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Treasure State Mule Deer Foundation partnered with FWP to help fund this work. FWP funds came from timber receipts from last year’s forestry project on Mount Haggin. Northwest Management, Inc. did the on-the-ground cutting work.

Charcoal Gulch pre-treatment

Charcoal Gulch post-treatment

Getting “Geared Up” to Hunt Elk

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
Benjamin Franklin


Elk hunters are a meticulous bunch. We have to be! There is a lot that goes into a successful elk hunt. Heck, just getting out the door is a highly involved process in and of itself: 
Clothing….............................check! 
Boots….................................check! 
Gun/ammo or bow/arrows…check! 
Hunting license.....................check!
Sharp knife…........................check! 
Food…..................................check! 
Water….................................check! 
Vehicle…...............................check! 

Now, what else do I need? 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently unveiled its Gear 101 gear list, the elk hunter’s essential gear checklist. It is intended for sportsmen and women who range from most avid elk hunter to the occasional. It is divided up in three sections: daytripper, multi-day and outfitted. From there, users can further customize according to weapon, either rifle or bow.

            Team Elk Pack                                Sitka Jetstream Jacket                Danner Pronghorn Hunting Boots
The checklists are highly interactive and allow the user to personalize his or her own list by clicking on the tabs most appropriate to their preference, clicking “download PDF,” and then taking that list to prepare for the hunt ahead. Specific gear from conservation partners who support the RMEF and its mission are included as a benefit for users. For example, clicking on “pack” brings up the Team Elk pack made by Eberlestock, clicking on “raingear/outer shell” or “base wear” highlights the benefits of Sitka camo outerwear, or clicking on “boots” shows the importance of good footwear, like offerings by Danner, to keep feet warm and comfortable.

Kristy Titus
“Technology has also allowed us to penetrate deeper into the back country,” said Kristy Titus, RMEF Team Elk featured member. “We now have ultra-light weight gear; everything from tents, sleeping systems and stoves that we can easily pack allowing us to stay for extended periods deep in the backcountry afoot instead of on horseback. We are more mobile than ever, able to track for ourselves exactly where we are with GPS, who owns the land we are on and our loved ones at home can even monitor our trek. Get a big bull down and everyone that you need to help you pack out can instantly identify your location and come in with the pack boards.

“With all of the latest and greatest gear, so much on our minds before a hunt, I find it critical to have a system to double-check that I don’t forget the smallest of detail. Trust me, I have been on a hunt where someone forgets their tags and has to drive hours home or to the nearest town to pick them up. Check out the new list from Gear 101—everything you need for your next elk hunt,” said Titus. 

Go here to create your own elk hunting checklist.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Celebrating Labor Day 2015

RMEF Family,

America is a great country for many reasons. Among them are sweat, muscle, brainpower, and the social and economic contributions of so many workers across so many different fronts that opened the door to where we are today.

The first Monday in September is a national holiday set aside to recognize and revere those efforts. Labor Day dates back to the late 1800s. Nowadays, we celebrate it with one last cookout, campout, vacation or other family gathering before our kids return to school in full swing.

As Americans and members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, I hope we all recognize and celebrate the sacrifice, innovation and successful achievement of those who preceded us. At the RMEF we take great pride in being the conservation group of the working men and women of North America. That work ethic made RMEF successful in our land protection and habitat stewardship projects, elk reintroductions, and our hunting heritage outreach efforts.

I want to thank our members and volunteers for your ongoing support that allow us to labor together and carry out work that will have a positive impact on wildlife and landscapes from coast-to-coast for generations to come. Thank you for your time, your financial contributions, your talents and everything you do to help ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Here’s to an even better and brighter future.

Gratefully,





David Allen
President and CEO

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Ready for Rain: Utah Volunteers Build New Guzzler for Wildlife

What makes a good Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation outing even better? Getting your hands a little dirty for a good cause, of course.

That’s exactly what happened at the 2015 Utah RMEF State Rendezvous. Some five dozen members and volunteers from six RMEF chapters gathered on an early summer weekend in central Utah to celebrate elk and elk country. The hands-on highlight came in the form of a team effort at Monroe Mountain on the Fishlake National Forest.

The Lone Pine Guzzler Project is an example of ingenuity and the power of elbow grease coupled with recycling. Volunteers of all ages used parts of a 20-plus year old water collection system that was in complete disrepair. They rebuilt the apron and fencing around the entire project area. They also installed a new tank, plumbing and watering tank. 

“This was an epic water catchment project that will have huge benefits for the Monroe Mountain elk herd. This is where the famous ‘Spider Bull,’ a world record bull elk at the time, was taken,” said Bill Christensen, RMEF regional director. “Around 60 Utah RMEF volunteers put in a complete guzzler at the Lone Pine Ridge. And they did it in record time.”


Sure enough. Work that began early on a Saturday morning was fully wrapped up by 4 p.m. the same day. 

Video via Kreig Rasmussen

The revamped and overhauled Lone Pine guzzler was now ready for rain. And just 10 days later, the hoped for is exactly what happened! A monsoon weather pattern passed over the arid region and rained down on the mountain, filling the guzzler with water.

Thanks RMEF volunteers!

RMEF Co-Founders, Wives to Lead Habitat Council

Charlie Decker and Bob Munson
(left to right)
“We suck at retirement!”

Those words came out of the mouth of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation co-founder Bob Munson, followed quickly by a hearty laugh. Munson spent 14 years on staff at RMEF including several years as president and CEO. His wife, Vicki, has a lengthy RMEF resume as well. She entered RMEF’s very first member on a computer in the couple’s living room in 1984 and carried out a wide range of responsibilities with RMEF until 1992.

Come early 2016, the Munsons along with co-founder Charlie Decker and his wife Yvonne will step up their volunteer efforts by becoming co-chairs of the Habitat Council (HC), a group of members who show their commitment and dedication to the RMEF mission with their enthusiasm and their philanthropic giving.

“It is a full plate,” said Charlie Decker. “I think everybody knows us so it has some up-sides. She (Yvonne) chewed on me constantly about what we should be doing so it’s a good thing. We really enjoy going and meeting the volunteers and other folks.” 

Decker continues to oversee a family logging business in northwest Montana. The Munsons are “retired” in the greater Seattle area where they enjoy their six children and 18 grandchildren who all live nearby. 

Yvonne Decker and Vicki Munson
“We want to give and train and impart all the love that we can for our personal family. I believe that is what drives both the Deckers and us to get involved with the RMEF family so we really immerse ourselves in it and it’s a huge blessing,” said Munson.

Bob and Charlie remain intimately involved with the conservation organization they founded. Both are lifetime honorary board members. Along with their wives, they log thousands of miles each year traveling to dozens of banquets, Habitat Partner receptions and other RMEF gatherings and events from coast to coast. 

“When we were told that the founders were being considered as Habitat Council chairman, we were very excited. The selection of the ‘Fab Four’ demonstrated the commitment of the organization to the HC. Who better to represent this group? Knowing the personalities it's going to be fun,” said current HC co-chairs Nancy and Howard Holland.

The Hollands wrap up a three-year term as HC co-chairs in February 2016. Under their leadership, the HC continues to grow in scope and in size. Their mentoring of members led to the addition of 10 new couples who attended the 2015 HC Summer Meeting in Park City, Utah.

Nancy and Howard Holland
“I think that was a great thing that created a new asset with new people. Both Howard and Nancy have been both innovative and creative in terms of involving themselves within the membership of the Habitat Council. Their leadership transcends the HC as they’ve been really great ambassadors for the RMEF wherever they traveled,” said Munson.

“The Hollands did an awesome job and they leave pretty large shoes to fill. My wife made the comment that maybe it will take four of us to replace the two of them to get the job done,” said Decker.

The Deckers and Munsons have goals of their own for their tenure. Among them are to continue the growth and excitement generated by the Hollands, reach out to additional corporate and business partners, establish a new development plan which would trigger a new era for philanthropy in the RMEF as a whole, and establish a transition process for more leadership coming out of HC membership.

In the meantime, the founders and their wives will continue to travel around the country in their spare time to rub elbows with those who support and strengthen the organization they established back in 1984.

“I’m blown away by the energy. That has always amazed me! That kind of chemistry where you see people so engaged in something because of the feeling that they own it inspires us to just want to be around more people with the RMEF,” said Munson.

“We’ll get ‘er done,” said Decker.

Determined words from a foursome of go-getters who excel at carrying out a conservation-related vision, but maybe not so much at “retirement.”