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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Conservation Partners Power Elk Country Legacy Program

There’s a reason why the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation refers to its sponsors as “conservation partners.” That’s because those supporting businesses truly believe in RMEF’s mission to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

“We find again and again that these outdoor industry leaders are ‘all in’ on what we’re about. They stand shoulder-to-shoulder in assisting us to carry out our conservation programs that benefit elk and elk country,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing.

Current Elk Country Legacy program sponsors include Browning, Winchester, Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak, Cabela’s, Sitka and Grand View Media.

The Elk Country Legacy program focuses on four core RMEF programs:

Permanent Land Protection
RMEF aims to keep the most vital elk habitat wild and open to the public through permanent land protection. We achieve this through acquisitions, conservation easements, land exchanges and land donations. Founded by public-lands hunters, RMEF takes pride in each new acre we conserve and open, retiring “No Trespassing” signs and replacing them with ones that say, “Hunters Welcome.”

Habitat Stewardship
RMEF practices habitat stewardship by working with federal, state, tribal and private partners to deliver boots-on-the-ground projects like prescribed burning, forest thinning, noxious weed treatments, water development efforts and other projects that improve essential forage, water, cover and open space for elk and other wildlife.

Elk Restoration
RMEF works to restore wild, free-ranging elk to their native range from coast-to-coast and to ensure those populations not only survive, but thrive. To date, RMEF assisted with restoration projects in seven states and provinces.

Hunting Heritage
RMEF upholds the opportunity for every American to hunt wild, free-ranging animals in healthy landscapes and works to maintain our proud hunting heritage. We strive to educate the public about hunters’ crucial role in wildlife restoration and habitat conservation in the past, present and future. And we work to instill the passion in tomorrow’s hunters and conservationists.

“Through the Elk Country Legacy program, RMEF is improving and protecting habitat for elk and other wildlife, restoring elk to their native ranges and driving home to millions of people the value of our hunting heritage and that Hunting is Conservation,” says Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of marketing. “We are very thankful to our Elk Country Legacy sponsors. These companies are leaders in our industry, investing in the future of hunting and conservation.”

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day! July Fourth truly is a grand holiday. And it’s an opportunity for all of us to come together as family and friends to recognize our past, present and future.

Our founding fathers certainly were inspired in establishing this great nation 240 years ago. On July 4, 1776, they officially adopted the Declaration of Independence which boldly affirmed United States’ independence from Great Britain. 

Independence Day calls on all of us to recognize and honor the freedoms we all enjoy. Our way of life is not one we should take lightly or for granted. Much was sacrificed for us to enjoy the freedom and independence we have. Let’s honor it and protect it today and tomorrow for all who follow in our footsteps.

On behalf of all of us at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, have a safe, enjoyable and memorable Fourth of July.


David Allen
RMEF President/CEO

Monday, June 27, 2016

RMEF, FWP to Host to Montana Land Project Celebration

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks will host a celebration and dedication of the Madison-Wall Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) addition on Saturday, July 9, 2016. It will take place at the WMA in the Madison Valley approximately 24 miles south of Ennis.

Activities begin with a 9 a.m. volunteer fence removal project followed by burgers and refreshments (please RSVP) at noon. The dedication ceremony will begin at 1 p,m.

RMEF acquired 631 acres of grassy rangeland immediately adjacent to the WMA in late 2014. The entire southern edge of the property borders the existing WMA while the eastern edge borders Bureau of Land Management land that runs clear to the Madison River. RMEF conveyed the property to FWP in 2016 which enlarged the overall acreage of the WMA by approximately ten percent.

Find directions here. (The house, shown in the link, has since been removed from the property.)

To RSVP & for more information, contact:

Mike Mueller, RMEF, at 406-493-6650, mmueller@rmef.org
Matt Ashley, RMEF, 406-351-2335, mashley@rmef.org
Julie Cunningham, MTFWP, at 406-994-6341, juliecunningham@mt.gov

Thursday, June 23, 2016

PLAN to HUNT Workshop Coming to RMEF

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will host the first of a series of PLAN to HUNT Workshops in Missoula, Montana, presented by a host of partner sponsors. Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks with further information.

Region 2 · 3201 Spurgin Road · Missoula, MT 59804
Contact: Vivaca Crowser, Information Officer, (406) 542-5518, vcrowser@mt.gov, fwp.mt.gov/regions/r2/

Missoula to Host ‘Plan to Hunt’ Adult Education Series

Missoula will host a Plan to Hunt workshop series from June through October for adults that are new to hunting or just want to expand their skills and understanding in order to hunt more confidently in Montana.

These free workshops will offer hands-on training and access to local experts and mentor hunter instructors. Attend all or just one, and no pre-registration is required.

Workshops are hosted and instructed by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Garden City Harvest, The Trail Head, and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The complete schedule includes:

The hunting experience you want
June 28—6 pm—Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (5706 Grant Creek Rd)
Discover how to decode the hunting regulations and what permits, licenses, gear, mapping and other tools are available to help you plan and prepare for your hunt.

Getting into the game 
July 12—6 pm—Pattee Canyon Picnic Area
Experienced hunters will share how to map, scout, track and better understand the behavior and movement patterns of the game you are pursuing.

Packed and sighted-in 
Aug. 2—6 pm —Deer Creek Shooting Center (E. Missoula, off Deer Creek Rd)
See what gear is in the pack of Montana’s hunters and the firearms and archery equipment you need for the animals you are pursuing. Shoot at the range under the direction of experienced hunters.

From field to freezer
Aug. 23—6 pm —-MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks (3201 Spurgin Rd)
Learn the steps—from field dressing, to transport, to wild game processing, that help you move an animal from the field to freezer. This workshop includes hands-on field dressing and other demos.

Locally grown and served
Sept. 13—6 pm —PEAS Farm (3010 Duncan Dr)
Local hunters and Missoula farmers will show you how to take your harvest and turn it into easy, healthy and creative wild harvest meals. Enjoy a meal as you learn.

Pre-season questions
Oct. 4—6 pm —The Trail Head (221 E. Front St)
Join us for an open-session Q&A with local experts to help ensure you are ready for opening day.

Celebrate the hunt!
Dec. 6—6 pm —The Loft (119 W. Main)

A post-season potluck filled with locally harvested and gathered ingredients. We’ll share stories, talk about what we learned and plan for the 2017 season, all while enjoying food and refreshments.

Students can also opt to receive additional training and access to local expertise by enrolling in a more intensive field training and mentorship program. This option is also free, but space is limited. To enroll, email vcrowser@mt.gov or call 406-542-5518.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Volunteers Help Out Aspens, Elk in Oregon

There is nothing better than leaving the woods knowing you left them better than you found them. We had a fantastic weekend with staff from the North Fork John Day District of the Umatilla National Forest by building and repairing Aspen enclosure fencing.

Although it was a scorcher, seven cases of water kept us hydrated and on task. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers built nearly 200 yards of new buck and pole fence and repaired the remainder of a five-acre enclosure to protect historical Aspens. A large enclosure was split into two smaller enclosures creating a travel corridor for the elk with the hopes the on-going destruction to the enclosure will be minimized. 

RMEF members joined forces with two volunteers from Oregon Hunters Association, a Forest Service vet crew, Forest Service employees and their families. RMEF volunteers contributed 110 hours towards this conservation project. 

Special thanks to Mr. Ian Reid, District Ranger, and Diane Shirley, Forestry Technician and Aspen Program Manager, for planning this project with us and keeping us plenty busy for nearly two days.

Tim Campbell 
Pendleton Oregon Chapter Chair 
Mission Team Leader Eastern Oregon

Father's Day, A Time to Remember

Dear RMEF Family,

This is the time of year for two special days to remember special people in our lives. Six weeks ago we rolled out the red carpet for our mothers on Mother’s Day and now we turn our attention to our fathers on Father’s Day.

Our parents play key, influential roles in our lives. I am extremely grateful to my mother and father for shaping me into the man and father that I am today. We all owe each of our parents a huge debt of gratitude.

For many of us, it’s our fathers who introduced us to ethical hunting and the importance of conservation, wildlife and developing an appreciation of the outdoors. There are many fathers and mothers throughout the volunteer and membership ranks of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation who are dedicated to carrying out our conservation mission. To them we say “thank you” for your good works.

However you celebrate the weekend, remember to recognize and honor those who mean so much to us.


David Allen
RMEF President & CEO

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for the BLM

They rolled into the parking lot of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s headquarters by the van full. Approximately 35 employees of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) came to Missoula, Montana, for some senior executive leadership meetings. The group, which included BLM Director Neil Kornze, Department of Interior (DOI) Deputy Assistant Secretary Jim Lyons and DOI Assistant Secretary Janice Schneider, spent approximately 90 minutes at RMEF for an informal yet informational reception.

Following some social mingling among themselves and with a handful of RMEF employees, Kornze emphasized the importance of BLM’s relationship with RMEF.

“They have just crossed the incredible mark of a billion dollars of conservation work and over $100 million of that has been in partnership with us,” said Kornze. (His complete remarks are below.)

RMEF Vice President of Lands and Conservation Blake Henning offered a Power Point presentation highlighting RMEF’s mission, accomplishments and the cooperative BLM-RMEF work carried out across a number of different states. BLM staffers also asked questions, provided comments and then enjoyed a tour of RMEF headquarters. 

Neil Kornze comments:

BLM Director Neil Kornze
Sportsmen represent and take a very important and role in the environmental debate. They are for use. They are for conservation. They understand the importance of economics that roll with all these things. They’re for good management so we appreciate the role they play in all our planning efforts. Blake (Henning) and I got to know each other in a very frank conservation in my first couple of months where something wasn’t working. They came and we had an honest conversation and those are the kind of relationships that we really value. 

They have just crossed the incredible mark of a billion dollars of conservation work and over $100 million of that has been in partnership with us. One of the specific things that I really love that they’re pushing is recreational access through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. We got a three-year extension of that authorization recently. We need to do more. There are great leaders like RMEF, like Senator (Martin) Heinrich from New Mexico that are really pushing on making sure that money is used for access and public lands that are locked up or otherwise would not be accessible to the public.

So much work is going on here. We appreciate the partnership. Thanks for having us.

Friday, June 3, 2016

One Million Views! A Blog about Our Blog

When I was a little kid I remember riding in the back of the family station wagon as we drove past the local McDonald's, looking up and wondering, "How in the heck do they keep track of the number of people that eat there?" The old sign used to have a spot for a rotating, ever-changing number. Did they save all the receipts from all the restaurants around the nation? If so, who had the job of sitting there to count them all up? Did McDonald's have turnstiles? I'd never seen any. Just how did they keep track? Or maybe it was just sheer marketing genius. Such were the thoughts of a young boy whose family usually bypassed McDonald's in favor of picnic lunches at the nearby park.

Here I am many decades later and I wake up this morning only to stare at another number--1,000,000!  Yep, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation blog, Elk Tracksjust rolled over that pageview milestone sometime overnight.

We launched the blog in September of 2012 with a post about a winery in Washington state that, still to this day, donates a portion of its proceeds to a local RMEF chapter. Since then, we made an additional 427 posts about all sorts of things including RMEF habitat stewardship and volunteer projects, calls to action, official comment letters, feature stories, newsy issues and highlighted videos.

In this day and age, we don't have to guesstimate how many people take part in a given activity--in this case, reading an Elk Tracks blog post. Nowadays it's all about analytics. Thanks to the sophisticated, high-tech gadgetry of the Internet, pageviews are broken down by blog post, source, browser, operating system, referring site, keyword, country and by frequency--today, yesterday, this week, this month and all-time. It's all pretty amazing.

So let's do our own little analytical breakdown. Below are the blog's top five most popular stories. Just click on the hyperlinks to read them and see the photos and videos:
1. Integrity Shines Through, Young Hunters Rescue Elk Calf from Wallowy Fate (74,100 views)
2. A Deer Tale to Top ALL Deer Tales! (53,761 views)
3. Hunters Motivated by Meat, Elk Does a Body Good (26,590 views)
4. The Biggest Bulls You'll Probably Never See in Person (22,161 views)
5. When Anti-Hunters Attack (20,585 views)

Pageviews by country (as of 6/3/2016):
Pageviews by operating system
1. United States        824,202
2. Norway                  35,370
3. Canada                  22,835
4. United Kingdom     18,349
5. France                    10,652
6. Russia                    10,443
7. Ukraine                    9,102      
8. Germany                  8,285
9. Australia                   2,397
10. Turkey                    1,600

Pageviews by frequency (as of 6/3/2016):
Pageviews by browsers
Today                      2,007
Yesterday                  629
Last Month           40,736
All-Time           1,001,819

The bottom line is we at the RMEF are grateful to be in the business of conserving elk and elk country. It is a noble calling. And we're grateful for so many people from so many places who reach out to us and support our mission in so many different ways. It is indeed a good day!

Hmmm...think I may celebrate it with a McDonald's burger.

(Check that! I think I'll celebrate with an elk burger on my own barbecue instead!)

Mark Holyoak
RMEF Director of Communication (and burger lover)