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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Four RMEF Life Members, Three Generations, Three Bull Elk

Elk Camp in the Wyoming
high country
A love of elk, elk hunting and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation runs deep in the Warning family. How deep, you ask? Jim Warning, his sons Keith and Kevin, and grandson Nick Fogelton are all RMEF life members. Keith and Kevin, like their father, are also habitat partners. And Kevin stepped up his volunteer efforts to serve as a former Illinois state chair.

The four of them recently made the trek west from their homes in Illinois to the rugged mountains of Wyoming where they hooked up with Jake Clark to set up elk camp. The goal was to make memories in the wild country and return home with meat to fill the freezer.

Kevin armed himself with a Kimber rifle he purchased at the RMEF Shawnee Chapter Big Game Banquet held earlier in the year in Carbondale, Illinois. He posed his rifle for a scenic photo. He used that rifle in a much more memorable photo—one that shows him with his beauty of a 6 x 6 bull elk.

Kevin was not alone in his success. Two other members of the party took bull elk.

Congratulations to the Warning crew and thank you for your support!

Go here to learn more about becoming a RMEF volunteer.

Nick Fogelton, Kevin Warning, Jim Warning and Keith Warning
(left to right)

California Elk Research, Habitat Work Get a Boost

Below is a complete listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2016 grants for the state of California. Go here for more information.

Colusa County—Provide volunteer manpower from five different RMEF chapters to modify half a mile of fencing to allow for easier passage by elk and other wildlife as well as rebuild and reinforce an upper head cut in Craig Canyon on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land within the Cache Creek Natural Area.

Humboldt County—Remove encroaching conifers on 275 acres followed by planting native vegetation to restore coastal prairie habitat on BLM managed land in the King Range.

Mendocino County—Provide funding to assist with securing a 5,200-acre conservation easement on private land located in the northernmost range for tule elk.

Merced County—Provide funding to assist wildlife managers determine elk populations throughout California and better develop sustainable harvest strategies, hunting quotas and track long-term population trends by creating and validating new methods of population estimates through the collection of fecal samples.

Modoc County—Remove encroaching juniper across 4,531 acres in the Blue Mountain area to restore sage steppe habitat to benefit wildlife on the Modoc National Forest; restore 370 acres of aspen stands on the Modoc National Forest’s Warner Mountain Ranger District which has sustained a 40 percent decline in aspen habitat.

Monterey County—Provide funding to help stock fish and purchase prizes for those attending an annual youth trout fishing derby at Fort Hunter Liggett to promote fishing as a family bonding experience.

Placer County—Provide funding to help offset the cost of practice, ammunition, supplies and tournament fees for the Roseville High School Trap Team which offers participants the opportunity to learn shooting and team-building skills in a safe environment.

Sacramento County—Provide funding for the annual California Legislature Outdoor Sporting Caucus Shoot which provides a forum for members and staff from the California Legislature, who share a common goal in protecting and advocating the interests of sportsmen and women, to shoot firearms and archery in a safe and fun setting.

San Luis Obispo County—For the tenth year in a row, provide funding and volunteer manpower to host an elk hunt for a first-time youth hunter and their family.  

Santa Barbara County—Provide funding to assist the Debra Takayama Memorial Junior Pheasant Hunt which also educates young hunters about hunter safety, wildlife law enforcement, wildlife management, shooting skills (trap and target), and techniques of pheasant hunting.

Shasta County—Prescribe burn 550 acres in the Green Mountain area on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest as part of a landscape-scale project to enhance habitat for elk, deer and other wildlife, improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire.

Siskiyou County—Provide research funding for collars to be placed on approximately 140 elk to assist wildlife managers in determining population trends, reproductive rates, movements, survival of cows and calves and other information in establishing sustainable elk populations and sound hunting proposals (also benefits Modoc, Del Notre, Humboldt and Lassen Counties); provide funding to assist research investigating elk population demographics, abundance and space use of elk populations in northern California (also benefits Modoc and Shasta Counties); and provide funding for the purchase of new bows, arrows and targets for the Siskiyou Bowmen which hosts a youth archery range at the Annual Sportsman Expo.

Yolo County—Assist the NorCal Longshots Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) youth shooting team’s goal of raising enough funds for its qualifying members attend to the SCTP National Championship in Ohio.

Statewide—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for the purchase and donation of 816 RMEF youth membership knives to hunter education classes; provide funding to assist University of California-Davis researchers in developing a comprehensive set of  tools for quantifying and mapping the genetic diversity of the state’s three elk subspecies –Roosevelt, Rocky Mountain and tule elk – to help manage for genetic integrity over time; provide funding to assist the California Council of Land Trusts which serves as a unified voice for more than 150 land trusts working in local communities to advance land conservation including policy, funding and education; and provide funding to assist the California Trappers Association in its quest to reverse a decision to ban bobcat trapping in California. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Giving Thanks

RMEF Family,

We are transitioning from one of my favorite seasons to another—from hunting season to Thanksgiving and then the Christmas holiday season.

Thanksgiving is a time of reflection, gratitude and joy. We all have so many things for which to be thankful. 

I am particularly grateful for my wife, my boys, other family members and the bonds we cherish together. Growing up, Thanksgiving was as a time we spent with family at my grandparents’ ranch, our last days of hunting for the year and the family Thanksgiving dinner; the memory is as fresh in my mind today as it was over 50 years ago. I am also grateful for all of our friends and other associates who enrich our lives. 

Filled with pride and heartfelt gratitude, we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with each of you as volunteers and members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. We number over 220,000 strong and while we don’t know all of you by name or face, the results of your continued support and dedication to our shared conservation mission are clearly evident. Just recently, RMEF rolled past the one million acre mark in lifetime public access projects and very soon we will surpass seven million acres in wildlife habitat permanently protected or enhanced.

Together, we are making a profound impact for good on elk and other wildlife populations and elk country from coast to coast. Thank you!


David Allen
RMEF President/CEO

Thursday, November 17, 2016

RMEF + Arthur R. Dubs Foundation = Kids Win!

You just can’t beat a winning combination. And when it’s youth that come out as the big winner, it’s that much better.

The Arthur R. Dubs Foundation, which seeks to empower youth and improve their connection to the outdoors, joined the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation at its 2016 Oregon Rendezvous to sponsor youth conservation activities. 

The partnership included providing the $50 entry fee so youth could attend for free, providing $20 RMEF youth memberships for all attendees and funding raffle prizes.

Youth age 7-17, whose names were drawn in the raffle, won their choice of either a Mossberg 7 mm-08 rifle with a scope or a Tristar youth 20-gauge shotgun. Those under the age of 7, whose names were drawn in their raffle, received a RMEF Red Ryder BB gun. 

In all, 26 boys and girls attended the rendezvous. RMEF co-founders Bob Munson and Charlie Decker drew and announced the winners. In all, four went home with rifles, four with shotguns, two with BB guns and all 26 with a nice, new pocket knife.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Congress Must Address Dire Condition of Forests

Below is an opinion piece from Dale Bosworth, former U.S. Forest Service chief, and Jack Blackwell, former Pacific Southwest Region forester, submitted to the Independent Record newspaper in Helena, Montana. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports their efforts and echoes this call to Congress to take steps to better manage our forests.

Many of our National Forests are in dire condition, and Congress must take urgent action to address this worsening crisis.

Catastrophic wildfires have once again wreaked havoc this year, leaving nearly 5 million acres burned, destroying hundreds of homes, unleashing untold amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, and, most tragically, claiming several lives. These unacceptable outcomes are hardly new; they have been harsh realities for many years running. And with tens of millions of dead and damaged trees across many National Forests, the problem will only grow worse.

Source: NOAA Photo Library
As Forest Service professionals who dedicated our professional lives to protecting these forests, we have closely examined the science related to the causes and facilitators of catastrophic wildfire. The science overwhelmingly shows that excessive fuel loads, overly-crowded tree stands, and trees weakened by drought, insects and diseases all contribute to the severity of wildfires. In our judgment, more active management to address these factors, including more responsible and timely harvesting, is unquestionably needed.

While the Forest Service is working to increase treatments on at-risk acres, we urge Congress to address the many barriers to achieving the level of management that is necessary. Funding for hazardous fuels reduction has grown considerably over the past decade, but more investments in reducing excessive fuels and improving the health of our forests is critical. And it is crucial that Congress treat the worst catastrophic wildfires as natural disasters to make them eligible for emergency funding.

In addition, Congress should reduce red tape and accelerate science-based forest restoration projects. We urge support for putting projects developed by diverse collaborative stakeholders on the fast track. And because many projects involving timber harvests have multiple benefits, such as enhancing habitat and increasing recreation, we also urge Congress to streamline such integrated management projects in the same fashion as projects designed specifically to reduce hazardous fuels and address insect and disease damage.

Further, we implore Congress to go a step further by discouraging obstructionist litigation that continues to slow too many forest restoration projects. Over the past decade a small number of fringe groups have filed hundreds of lawsuits against projects in western National Forests. There are roughly thirty active lawsuits impacting projects in Montana and California, alone. Most of these lawsuits are against projects that were developed by diverse collaboratives.

Such chronic litigation undercuts the tireless work of collaborative participants and slows needed restoration work. It also forces the Forest Service to divert limited personnel to attend to the lawsuits, as well as bulletproof new projects with excessive, time-consuming analysis, both of which delay the development and implementation of new projects and result in large costs to taxpayers. We urge Congress to require courts to give maximum deference to the expertise of Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service specialists, and to make it harder for courts to halt forest restoration projects with an injunction.

In addition, we urge Congress to codify into law the Obama Administration’s position in U.S. Forest v. Cottonwood Environmental Law Center, which involves the regulatory process federal agencies must follow after the listing of an endangered species or designation of critical habitat. The Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service perform robust, and necessary, endangered species analysis for each and every project, but the Ninth Circuit Court's decision in this case created additional regulatory burdens that will only slow the development and implementation of important forest restoration projects. The Supreme Court recently chose not to hear the Administration's appeal, leaving the agency at risk of facing additional regulatory burdens.

We applaud recent actions by Montana Senator Steve Daines and California Senator Dianne Feinstein for working together in a bipartisan fashion to call for faster management tools and discouraging litigation by establishing a pilot arbitration program to resolve conflicts and carry out projects faster.

Finally, we urge Congress to promote new markets for wood products coming from our National Forests. Wood has tremendous potential as a renewable source of energy, and new technologies allow for safe and reliable use of wood in tall structures. We encourage Congress to find responsible incentives to help ensure that the wood removed from our National Forests is put to such sound, innovative uses.

These much-needed reforms will reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and improve the environmental stewardship of our National Forests. They will also create and protect forest jobs and enhance the economies of our forested communities. We urge Congress to enact these commonsense solutions before the final embers of this year’s devastating fire season are extinguished.

Dale Bosworth is the former chief of the U.S. Forest Service, and Jack Blackwell is a former Pacific Southwest Region forester for the U.S. Forest Service.

Honoring Our Veterans

RMEF Family,

There are many holidays sprinkled across our calendars. In my opinion, Veterans Day is among the most sacred.

Held November 11th every year, it traces its roots back to the formal end of World War I which took place at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. We commemorate and celebrate all those who served in our armed forces. We also honor their families, many of which lost loved ones.

Thanks to them, we enjoy countless freedoms to live our lives the way we choose. 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation salutes our military veterans and those who currently serve. They include family, friends, RMEF volunteers, members and staffers. Thank you for your dedicated efforts and passionate service in behalf of our great nation.


David Allen
RMEF President & CEO

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Hunting, Conservation Issues Win at the Polls

Hunting and conservation issues are among the winners from Election Day 2016.

Voters in Indiana and Kansas both overwhelmingly passed constitutional amendments to protect our outdoor heritage. In Indiana, the vote to protect the right to hunt and fish was victorious by a margin of more than three and a half to one, or 78 percent to 22 percent. In Kansas it was even higher where the difference to constitutionally protect hunting, fishing and trapping was 81 percent to 22 percent.

Authors behind both proposals say they drafted the amendments to head off any attempts by animal rights groups to halt the outdoor activities. Indiana and Kansas join 19 other states that constitutionally protect the rights of its residents to hunt and fish.

In Montana, voters resoundingly rejected a constitutional initiative authored by an animal rights group that aimed to ban trapping on public lands. The margin was 63 percent to 37 percent. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was among a coalition of sportsmen and wildlife groups strongly opposed to the measure.

Voters in Colorado approved an amendment that makes it more difficult to alter Colorado’s Constitution. In essence, it now requires that any proposed amendment must be approved by voters in each of the state’s 35 Senate districts. Environmental and animal rights groups have used the ballot process in other states to try to usurp wildlife management and conservation efforts.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Idaho Grants Benefit Research, Habitat, Hunting Heritage

Below is a complete listing of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2016 grants for the state of Idaho. Go here for more information.

Ada County—Provide a RMEF Elk Education Trunk to Mountain View Elementary in Boise to assist students in grades 1-6 learn about wildlife, conservation, habitat and wildlife management, responsible hunting and other outdoor-related issues.

Blaine County—Remove encroaching conifers from 50 acres of aspen stands on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land followed by prescribed burning, noxious weed treatment and fencing to promote aspen recovery as a benefit for winter elk range.

Boise County—Apply noxious weed treatment along 38 miles of non-motorized trails on the Boise National Forest to benefit elk calving grounds.

Bonneville County—Provide funding to assist the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) in suppressing cheatgrass invasion on approximately 8,000 acres of the 34,000-acre Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area, which was severely impacted by the 2016 Henry’s Creek Wildfire and is vital winter range for upwards of 3,500 elk and 4,000 mule deer..

Caribou County—Apply noxious weed treatments on 526 acres within the backcountry in the Montpelier and Soda Springs Ranger Districts on the Caribou National Forest (also benefits Bear Lake, Lincoln, Franklin and Bonneville Counties).

Clearwater County—Provide Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) funding for ongoing research focused on an elk monitoring program in the Clearwater Basin of north-central Idaho that includes: 1) establishing a land use habitat matrix to be used as the foundation for management and monitoring of elk, 2) applying the new Oregon-Washington elk nutrition and habitat models, and 3) capturing and collaring elk for subsequent monitoring (also affects Idaho County); and provide TFE funding toward proposed extensive landscape restoration in the Clearwater Basis of north-central Idaho to bolster early seral habitat to assist elk and other wildlife (also benefits Idaho County).

Elmore County—Plant bitterbrush seedlings on 800 acres of elk and mule deer winter range on the Boise National Forest as part of a multi-year restoration effort in an area that experienced large wildfires in 2012 and 2013.

Lemhi County—Remove encroaching conifers from 150 acres of aspen stands on BLM land to benefit wildlife forage (also affects Custer County).

Owyhee County—Plant approximately 140,000 Wyoming big sagebrush seedlings across a 4,700-acre area along the Jarbidge River Canyon on BLM lands that burned in the 2007 Murphey Complex Wildfires to provide calving habitat and cover for elk and other big game species.

Twin Falls County—Providea RMEF Elk Education Trunk to Harrison Elementary School in Twin Falls as a supplement to the science program in all grades which will be used to introduce students to wildlife in their own backyards and the importance of conserving natural wildlife habitat.

Washington County—Provide funding to purchase 20 GPS collars for cow elk in Game Management Units 22, 31 and 32 on the Payette National Forest to better understand elk movements and provide information to assist with management objectives (also affects Adams County).

Statewide—Provide TFE funding for the Foundation for Wildlife Management to assist with wolf management in areas where elk and other ungulates suffer the highest wolf predation; provide funding to bolster the Upper Snake River chapter of the Idaho Hunter Association's shooting trailer in order to attract more young hunters to community events; provide funding to the Idaho Sportsmen's Alliance (of which RMEF is a member) which works to protect and advance the outdoor heritage of hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting in Idaho by reviewing issues in the Idaho Legislature, IDFG and other agencies that affect sportsmen and women; sponsor the Be Bear Aware Campaign's bear avoidance and bear spray information and training events across northern Idaho; provide funding to the Idaho Coalition of Land Trusts which has a mission to support and advance professional excellence in voluntary private land conservation for people and nature; and provide funding to the Boy Scouts of America's Camp Bradley near Stanley to assist with the purchase of science kits, survival supplies and the improvement of nature trails that help youth study wildlife and wildlife habitat.

Election Day 2016: Doing Our Civic Duty

RMEF Family,

America is a great country! Sure, we have our challenges but we all have the ability to have our voices heard and we can make a difference.

Now is the time for each of us to step up and help shape our shared future by carrying out our civic duty as we head to the polls. As you do so, please make sure you are informed about candidates. The leaders we elect will determine a direction for the future.

Same thing goes for the issues. There are many initiatives, amendments and proposals in many different states that could have dramatic effects on our landscapes, wildlife, conservation efforts, hunting and fishing. 

I am especially grateful for our military members who have served and continue to serve our country. It is their selfless service that allows us the freedoms we enjoy as Americans. 


David Allen
RMEF President & CEO