November 27, 2022

RMEF Eyes New Leadership, Maintains Same Conservation Mission

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced Chief Executive Officer David Allen is stepping down effective January 31, 2018.

“With David’s cooperation, RMEF has been able to implement a transition plan to ensure RMEF’s continued success in the years to come,” said Philip Barrett, RMEF chairman of the board. “David and his family have become an integral part of the RMEF family. We thank him for his contributions and leadership and wish him the best of success in his future endeavors.”

As RMEF moves forward, it maintains a focus on its long-standing conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

During Allen’s tenure, RMEF recorded nine consecutive years of record membership growth, conserved or enhanced nearly 1.8 million acres of wildlife habitat, opened or improved access to nearly 600,000 acres of public land and erased $16 million in debt to become debt-free for the first time ever. The organization also increased its volunteer base to more than 11,000 and assisted with successful elk reintroductions in Missouri, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Additionally, RMEF significantly boosted its hunting heritage outreach and advocacy efforts, secured in excess of $50 million in endowed funds, including the establishment of the Torstenson Family Endowment, and launched the Elk Network, an online digital platform dedicated to all things elk and elk hunting.

“I have enjoyed every day of my nearly 11 years here at RMEF. This is a great organization with some of the best wildlife professionals anywhere,” said Allen. “I support the board of directors’ search for a new CEO to take RMEF to the next level. I expect great things for RMEF in the future. I have other projects that interest me and this is a great time to pursue those opportunities.”

RMEF will release developments in its search for new leadership in the near future.



David Allen Will Be Leaving RMEF – Search Begins for Replacement

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation announced today the initiation of a search committee to find a replacement for David Allen, RMEF’s President and CEO, whose contract expires in August 2018.

‘RMEF has flourished under David’s leadership for the past ten years and there is no question that he is leaving RMEF much better than he found it,’ explained Philip Barrett, the Chair of RMEF’s Board of Directors, ‘and the end of David’s tenure next August provides an opportunity for the Board to transition to a new leader to secure the continued growth and success of RMEF.’

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, with over 222,000 members, 146 employees, $93,000,000 in assets, and programs and services that touch virtually every state in the country, is one of the largest and most robust conservation organizations in the United States. Mr. Barrett indicated that the vacancy is expected to draw interest from scores of exceptionally qualified individuals, and he noted that the committee has been formed now with the goal of enabling RMEF to conduct an exhaustive search. He added ‘RMEF will issue more information at an appropriate time concerning the search as it gets underway.’

Further information about RMEF and its mission, programs, and membership can be found online at


World Series: Elk Hunter vs. Elk Hunter

Press Release from Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.-The 2014 World Series features an intriguing yet contrasting matchup between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants.

The media has already labeled it “Destiny versus Dynasty.” The Royals are competing in baseball’s Fall Classic for the first time in 29 years while the Giants are seeking their third world championship in the last five years.

The managerial matchup, though, is a straight-up draw: elk hunter versus elk hunter.

“I know both of these guys and one thing they share is a passion for elk and the outdoors,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “There’s only one place where Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost would rather be right now other than out in the backcountry chasing elk and that’s in the dugout trying to out-manage each other and win the World Series.”

The similarities don’t stop there. Both Yost and Bochy are former big league catchers with strikingly similar career averages. Bochy batted .239 with 26 home runs and 93 runs batted in over nine years while Yost batted .212 with 16 home runs and batted in 64 runs over a six-year playing career. They both played for three different teams. They are both in the midst of managerial stints with their second ball clubs and are also both 59 years old.

Bochy managed the Giants to championships in 2010 and 2012. Immediately prior to the 2014 Spring Training schedule, he shared the same microphone with Allen in a suburban Phoenix baseball stadium at a roast as part of an RMEF gathering.

“My passion is hunting. A former teammate of mine, Goose Gossage, had a ranch in Colorado. We used it as therapy for after the season,” said Bochy. “In my office in San Francisco, I’m the only manager with an elk head hanging in his office.”

Yost, who has a World Series ring as Atlanta’s bullpen coach in 1995, is also well-known around baseball circles as an avid hunter. He also briefly enjoyed a second career as a taxidermist between his playing and coaching careers.

“Ned was a long-time friend and hunting partner of my friend Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. for many years,” said Allen. “They spent a great deal of time in the woods together.”

When the World Series ends, chances are the two will swap a hunting story before returning to the woods in search of a different kind of trophy.

“Both of these men are fine gentlemen, outdoorsmen and sportsmen. And we are especially grateful they are both supporters of the RMEF,” added Allen.


PBR Honors RMEF’s David Allen with Lifetime Achievement Award

From the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – Press Release:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Professional Bull Riders (PBR) announced it will bestow the Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award upon Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation President and CEO David Allen. The honor, just the fourth ever awarded by the PBR, recognizes a non-bull rider for significant contributions made to the sport.

“I am extremely humbled and honored to receive this recognition,” said Allen. “I have many passions in my life including God, family, our great country, conservation, hunting and helping the PBR grow. My associates at the PBR are among my greatest friends. I could hardly begin to thank all of them enough including, Ty (Murray) and Cody (Lambert), Tuff (Hedeman), Randy Bernard and many, many others.”

“David Allen has been one of those people behind the curtain since the inception of the PBR willing to do whatever it took to help the PBR succeed,” said Randy Bernard, former long-time CEO of the PBR. “Every bull rider in this world is a little better off thanks to all the efforts of David in the early years of PBR. He was an incredible sounding board/advisor/promoter that helped PBR reach its accomplishments. It is truly wonderful that he is being honored with the Jim Shoulders award as he is so deserving of it.”

“The original 20 founders of the PBR (the bull riders) were all friends of mine as I had been in the pro rodeo world for over 20 years at that time,” said Allen. “They had asked me to help them with marketing and sponsorships and they were up front that they didn’t have any money to pay me. But they offered me the rights to some PBR events as the promoter, so I took them up on the opportunity. The PBR has evolved into a world class entertainment product beyond any of our wildest dreams from the beginning days.”

Allen supported the PBR since its beginning in 1992 and was behind its first event in Kansas City where he hired Flint Rasmussen. He establish the Ty Murray Invitational in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which recently concluded its 18th year. He also started the Denver event, which is held every January in conjunction with the National Western Stock Show.

“David’s one of the most unique individuals,” said Jim Haworth, PBR CEO. “What I love about David is he has a no-nonsense approach to anything you ask him. If you want to know something and you ask him, be prepared, because he’s going to give you a straight answer.”

“The concept of putting decals from sponsors on vests came from Randy and I trying to figure out how to make sponsorships of bull riders have value and not look cheap. It was a natural to borrow from how NASCAR did things in those days and so we did,” added Allen.

Allen will receive the award at the PBR Ring of Honor ceremony which is part of PBR Heroes & Legends Celebration on Tuesday, October 21, in Las Vegas.The Jim Shoulders Lifetime Achievement Award is named for Shoulders, a cowboy and bull rider who won 16 World Championships during his career, including seven bull riding titles. It recognizes a non-bull rider whose efforts helped build the PBR into the success it is today.


Female Hunting Participation Increasing, RMEF Hails Growth

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation applauds recent research that indicates more female hunters are heading into the woods, mountains and backcountry than ever before.

“Hunting is not just for ‘good old boys,’” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “More and more young girls, teenagers and women of all ages are getting out in the field. That’s a great thing and not just for them personally, but also because it bodes well for ensuring the future of conservation and our hunting heritage.”

Data accumulated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation from participation studies conducted by the National Sporting Goods Association shows a combination of 3,346,000 women, toting either a rifle or a bow, actively hunted in 2012 compared to 3,041,000 in 2008. That growth of 305,000 represents a 10 percent increase in just four years. In contrast, hunting participation over that same time period was just 1.9 percent for males.

Those numbers also mirror the overall growth of hunter participation on a larger scale in other recent research. The 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation showed a nine percent increase among American men and women 16 years and older from 2006 to 2011. Over that same time period, the percentage of female participation among all hunters jumped from 9.6 percent in 2006 to 11 percent in 2011.

“Hunting is an American tradition. That way of life holds true despite gender, ethnicity or location. The fact that more girls and women are making their way in the woods or on the water only increases our ties to the wildlife and land around us,” added Allen.


RMEF Launches Youth Membership

MISSOULA, Mont.–In an effort to better promote and protect the present and future of conservation, a love of the outdoors and hunting, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation initiated a new youth membership category.

“We remain committed to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat, and our hunting heritage. And who holds the keys to that future if not our sons and daughters and grandchildren?” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “As far as gifts go, this membership ranks right up there with your first rifle or bow. It will attract, engage and help young hunter-conservationists fall to love with elk, the places they live and the challenge of hunting them.”

The new RMEF Youth Membership costs $20 per year and is designed for girls and boys age 17 and under. It will offer six digital issues of Bugle magazine, e-newsletters, an RMEF hat, a membership card, member discounts and decals. Members will also have access to social media sites specifically designed for them that include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and a blog to share their photos and videos. There will also be online contests for outdoor gear and other interactive activities.

Since its founding nearly 30 years ago, RMEF invested in tomorrow’s future by reaching thousands of youth through the sponsorship of quality programs like the National Archery in the Schools Program, 4-H Shooting Sports, state hunter education courses, the Boy Scouts of America, the Future Farmers of America and scores of hunting, shooting, archery, fishing and other outdoor-related camps and programs.

In 2013 alone, RMEF promoted and sponsored more than 200 youth activities and programs across the country and introduced thousands of young and novice shooters to safe, responsible and enjoyable firearm use at nearly 60 SAFE Challenge (Shooting Access for Everyone) events.

“Right now, we’re busy passing on our hopes and dreams and the things we love most to our youth,” said Allen. “Before we know it, though, we’ll be passing on the reins to this next generation of hunters and conservationists. We need to make sure their ranks are strong.”

RMEF welcomes Remington as the first sponsor of the youth membership category.


Public Comment Period Extended for National Delisting of Gray Wolf

MISSOULA, Mont.–The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) extended the public comment period until October 28 on two proposed rules to remove the gray wolf from the List of Threatened and Endangered species.

“It is imperative that we as conservationists, outdoorsmen and women let our government know that wolves are no longer threatened or endangered. They are clearly recovered and need to be delisted,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Wolves surpassed minimum recovery objectives more than a decade ago in the Northern Rockies, thrive in the Great Lakes, and number well into the thousands in Canada and Alaska.”

The proposals also maintain protection and expand recovery efforts for the Mexican wolf.

An FWS comprehensive review determined that the current listing for gray wolf, developed 35 years ago, erroneously included large geographical areas outside the species’ historical range. In addition, the review found that the current gray wolf listing does not reasonably represent the range of the only remaining population of wolves in the lower 48 states and Mexico that requires the protections of the Endangered Species Act – the Mexican wolf population in the Southwest.

“There are some who claim wolves remain threatened if they do not occupy their entire native range. That does not mean they are endangered. The best available scientific research shows the gray wolf is recovered well beyond the point that it needs to be delisted. There are many such species, like elk, that do not cover their historic range. That does not mean they are endangered,” added Allen.

Principles of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, the only one of its kind and most successful in the world, indicate that wildlife belongs to all Americans and that they need to be managed in a way that their populations will be sustained forever.

“State agencies are charged with the management of elk, deer, bears, lions and other species. We maintain that the wolf is no different,” said Allen. “It should be state agencies – not the federal government – that oversee the management of wolves.”

The proposals come after a comprehensive review confirmed the successful recovery of wolves in the western Great Lakes states and Northern Rockies following management actions undertaken by federal, state and local partners following the wolf’s listing under the Endangered Species Act more than three decades ago.

FWS also announced a series of public hearings to ensure all stakeholders have an opportunity to comment. The first public hearing is September 30 in Washington, DC followed closely by hearings in Sacramento, CA, on October 2, and Albuquerque, NM, on October 4. The Albuquerque hearing will be a combined hearing on the gray wolf delisting proposal and the proposal to revise the existing nonessential experimental population designation of the Mexican wolf.

“I encourage RMEF members, other sportsmen and women, and all those who value our wildlife and beautiful landscapes to let the federal government know where we stand,” said Allen.

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RMEF’s $140,000 Gift Opens Door to 18,000 Acres of Public Access

MISSOULA, Mont.–A 40-acre acquisition by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will improve access to nearly 18,000 acres of National Forest public lands in central Montana for hunting and other recreational enjoyment.

“This strikes at the heart of what RMEF is all about,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are committed to opening more land for hunting and other year-round recreational public access and now the gate is open for hunters to more easily access thousands of acres of elk country previously almost impossible to reach.”

Recently acquired by RMEF, the property contains a 30-foot common boundary with a corner piece of the Lewis and Clark National Forest (LCNF), best known as home of the Big and Little Snowy Mountains. The transaction is a cooperative effort between the RMEF, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, the LCNF, and willing landowners Marshall and Leslie Long.

RMEF purchased the land for $190,000 and will offer it to Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks for $50,000, in effect donating the remaining balance of $140,000 to FWP. To complete the land transfer, FWP will launch a public environmental analysis to get the land acquisition approved by the FWP Commission and the Montana Land Board.

RMEF and its partners signed an agreement that sets the stage for the FWP to provide an entrance, parking area, signage and a defined access trail into the forest. The goal is to have the improvements in place by October 26, opening day of the 2013 general big game rifle season.

“This small but critical piece of land offers both big game habitat and exceptional access to public land that supports a prized elk population,” said Gary Bertellotti, FWP Region 4 supervisor. “FWP wants to thank the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for its efforts to secure the Red Hill property and partnering with FWP to provide access to elk and National Forest public lands for future generations.”

“This is a big win for hunters and other members of the public because there was realistically no easy way to reach this part of the Snowys. This public access will allow hunters to play a more active part with management of an elk herd that is over objective.” added Allen.

Aerial surveys conducted by FWP this past February revealed a population count of approximately 4,000 elk in the Big and Little Snowy Mountains with a calf to cow ratio of 30:100.

The transaction conserves a diverse mixture of aspen and forest, grasslands, meadows, wetlands, and a spring and intermittent stream; and provides important habitat for elk, mule deer, whitetail deer, black bear, grouse and a vast array of other wildlife.

Funding for the project came from the Torstenson Family Endowment which is used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

To date, RMEF projects opened or improved access to approximately 668,000 acres of elk country across the nation.


RMEF Receives Intervenor Status in Wyoming Wolf Lawsuit, Seeks Same in Another

MISSOULA, Mont.–A U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. granted the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s request to intervene in a lawsuit by animal rights groups seeking to return federal protection to Wyoming’s wolf population. That means the judge will consider RMEF’s arguments in the case. RMEF also filed to intervene in a similar lawsuit regarding Wyoming wolves based in a Cheyenne, Wyo., U.S District Court.

“This matter is no different than the current case in the Great Lakes or past legal cases in the northern Rocky Mountains,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Individual states need to be given the opportunity to manage the wildlife species within their borders. These Wyoming lawsuits seek to frustrate the science-based management plan already laid out and approved by the federal government.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed Wyoming wolves from the federal list of threatened and endangered species in August 2012 with a minimum population estimate at that time of 328 wolves, including 48 packs and 27 breeding pairs. That total included 224 wolves, 36 packs and 19 breeding pairs outside Yellowstone National Park.

A subsequent hunting season led to the harvesting of 42 wolves in the trophy-hunting zone bordering Yellowstone with 26 taken as unprotected predators elsewhere in the state. Wyoming Game and Fish since proposed reducing wolf hunt quotas by half for the 2013 fall season. Wildlife managers must maintain at least 100 wolves, including 10 breeding pair, outside of the Wind River Reservation and Yellowstone.

Addressing the situation, a spokesman for Wyoming Governor Matt Mead, Renny MacKay, stated, “Wolves in Wyoming are clearly recovered. Our management plan is based on the best available science, committing to the sustainability of the wolf population and genetic connectivity in the Northern Rockies. More importantly, our wolf management since delisting has proven the state’s ability and commitment to responsibly manage wolves.”

RMEF has a rich heritage of 26 years of work in Wyoming that includes 514 projects that enhanced or protected more than one million acres. RMEF also made contributions of more than $3.7 million to protect and enhance habitat, manage wildlife, and support conservation and hunting heritage outreach programs in Wyoming.

“RMEF invested nearly $7 million in wildlife research efforts around the country to better understand elk habitat use, population dynamics, predation, habitat management and other such issues. We need to strongly consider and abide by these findings and not frustrate science-based management by allowing these lawsuits to go through. They could affect Wyoming’s elk, deer, moose, wild sheep and other big game species from here on out,” added Allen.

RMEF joins a combination of government and sportsmen organizations including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, State of Wyoming, Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association as defendants. RMEF recently received intervenor status in the Great Lakes region wolf lawsuit.


Montana Releases Latest Wolf Numbers, RMEF Maintains Call for Proper Management

MISSOULA, Mont. – The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintained its call for the science-based management of wolves as Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) released its 2012 estimate of the state’s wolf population. FWP reports there are a minimum of 625 wolves in Montana, which amounts to a four percent drop since the last count in December 2011 and equates to a wolf population remaining well above the state’s management objective.

“This is a step in the right direction, but it’s a small step,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “What we need to remember is that even though hunters and trappers together had more success this season than in the past, overall wolf numbers remain well above objective. We also need to recognize that this latest calculation is a minimum estimate.”

While the new count is the first decrease since 2004, Montana’s minimum wolf pack and breeding pairs estimates actually increased slightly from 2011. The 2012 calculation does not include the 95 wolves taken by hunters and trappers between Jan. 1 and Feb. 28 of this year. Overall, hunters and trappers harvested 225 wolves during the 2012-2013 season compared to hunters alone who took 128 a year ago. With more than 650 wolves reported by FWP at the end of 2011, population data indicated a harvest of nearly 400 wolves would be required to reduce the minimum population below 500.

“The best news is that hunters and trappers, the core of Montana’s wildlife conservation program, are helping us manage Montana’s most recently recovered native species,” said Jeff Hagener, director of FWP.

Hagener also stressed that even with this season’s hunting and trapping success – and 104 depredating wolves removed from the population as a result of more than 70 control actions – Montana’s wolf population remains robust.

“There is a ‘sky-is-falling’ mindset by some who believe wolf management equates to extermination. Nothing is further from the truth. Proper management is mandatory to ensure the future of all wildlife,” added Allen. “We applaud Montana and other states for their ability to manage wolves, just as they do other wildlife, with all the tools in the management tool box.”

“We need to achieve a reduction,” Hagener said. “Montana has made room for wolves, we are long past the period of recovering wolves, and we are committed to managing for a recovered population. We also need to remember it is FWP’s responsibility to manage with an eye to how all of our special wild resources affect each other and address issues such as public tolerance, including that of landowners. That is what we continually hear the public asking us to do. FWP is working to manage wolf numbers and will continue to use reasonable tools to maximize harvest opportunities.”