September 22, 2023

Selling Out Hunting Heritage to Big Money Auction Tags

This information was released by the Idaho for Wildlife organization:

The Boone and Crockett club has decided to follow the SFW [Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife] and MDF’s [Mule Deer Foundation] agenda of selling off our big game to the highest bidder and support auction tags.

B&C has decided to abandon the North American Model of Wildlife conservation‘s most important provision that was created to prevent North America into becoming another European wildlife model where only the rich or elite hunt.

The 4th sister in our current Wildlife Model states, “Every citizen has an opportunity, under the law, to hunt and fish in the United States and Canada.” “Regardless of your social status, race, creed, religion or gender, you have the right to legally hunt and fish on most public lands in North America.”

Auction tags are hunting heritage killers – just like wolves! The graph below illustrates what happened to the hunting opportunities in Utah when they decided to put their big game up for sale! Idaho Sportsmen, please fight against adding more big game auction tags (Governors Tags!)

Do you want your kids and grand-children to hunt?

Why are auction tags so deadly to our hunting heritage? Hunting is reduced considerably in these areas so big bucks and bulls can grow older and sport huge racks. This translates into the end of the traditional father/son, opening-morning, hunt for a raghorn bull or two point buck. This is a dangerous path and a very slippery slope that Idaho lawmakers need to closely consider before they endorse it.

How much [money], habitat success, and conservation projects can compensate for eliminating our hunting heritage?

What is the real price of auction tags? We can lose 50% of our youth hunters very quickly, but is it worth it?

How has all this conservation [money] helped Utah mule deer populations? Back in 1961, 132,000 deer were tagged in Utah. In 1985, they had 200,000 hunters who harvested 82,552 deer. This year, there were only 84,600 total permits issued, which covered archery, muzzleloader and general rifle hunts. Now Utah’s Mule deer harvest averages approximately 25,000, but the biggest tragedy is over 50% of Utahans have given up hunting!

How much good has all this auction tag [money] been to improve Utah’s declining Mule deer populations when Utah decided to put a $50.00 bounty on coyotes to improve Mule deer numbers? I support the coyote bounty but I wonder if raising all this [money] to justify auction tags is really making that much difference to benefit the mule deer?

Auction tag supporters tout the big [money] being raised for conservation, but is it truly worth the price of eliminating thousands of youth hunters and threatening the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation?

It’s amazing how the “checkbook” of a few wealthy proponents of auction tags can “Inspire” our big Sportsmen’s groups and state agencies to sell off our big game to the highest bidder!

Those that are pushing for more auction tags, need to realize they are jeopardizing the hunting opportunities of not only our next generation of hunters but their own children and grandchildren! Other states’ data can, and will, substantiate this!

For the rich guys who are always the primary architects behind this short-term, self-serving agenda, remember your grand-kids may not have your wealth and privilege.

Your decisions can and will reduce their hunting opportunities. Is this what you want?

Please consider the long-term consequences for our youth and their hunting heritage.



No Derby Wolves But Girls Bag Rabbits Receive New Rifle

Newsweek carries the story of how 30 coyotes, two rabbits and zero wolves were taken during a predator hunting derby over the weekend. HOWEVER:

Steve Alder, executive director of Idaho for Wildlife, wrote: “I attached some pictures of the young girls who bagged their first trophy’s and their fathers taught them to field dress and make a stew from their harvest! When we heard these little girls were hunting in sub zero weather for 3 days we found the $ to award each girl with a new 22 rifle!”

Hopefully, this act, a reflection of love and compassion, along with real American heritage, will put a big fat burr across the butts of many anti human, perverted, predator lovers.






RMEF Grants Enhance Minnesota’s Hunting Heritage, Elk Habitat

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded grants to improve elk forage and assist with various projects to help ensure the future of Minnesota’s hunting traditions.

The grants total $43,770 and directly benefit Beltrami, Kittson, Marshall and Roseau Counties. Seven other projects have statewide benefits.

“Minnesota has some of the most dedicated sportsmen and women in the country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This funding helps promote hunting and outdoor traditions for youth and adults at a variety of activities. It also helps pay for prescribed burning, noxious weed treatments and other needed habitat enhancement projects that improve native grasses and forbs for elk and other wildlife.”

Allen thanked RMEF volunteers in Minnesota who carried out fundraising projects at their banquets, through membership drives and other events to generate the funding. He also thanked volunteers and members around the nation for their dedication to conservation.

“Our volunteers make all the difference for the RMEF. We thank them so much for their passion and dedication to elk and elk country,” added Allen.

RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, listed by county:

Beltrami County—Apply brush-shearing operations to trigger new forage growth on 250 acres of habitat for elk and other wildlife within the Grygla, Moose River and Wapiti Wildlife Management Areas (also affects Marshall County); and provide sponsorship of the 12th Annual Minnesota Governor’s Deer Hunting Opener designed to honor the state’s deer hunting tradition, educate youth and promote ethical hunting practices.

Kittson County—Provide funding for Student Conservation Association interns to assist with implementing prescribed burn operations and noxious weed treatments to enhance elk habitat on 2,000 acres of the Tallgrass Aspen Parklands (also affects Marshall, Roseau and Beltrami Counties); and establish high quality forage plots on state (Karlstad Wildlife Management Area) and private lands to draw elk away from agricultural crops and increase their acceptance. Bear, deer, moose, sharp-tailed grouse and sandhill cranes also benefit.

Marshall County—Implement prescribed fire, aspen girdling and removal operations on 2,895 acres of the Agassiz National Wildlife Refuge where lack of disturbance for more than 70 years allowed aspen and willow to encroach on historically open grasslands and oak savannah habitat.

Statewide—Provide funding to help cover the costs for the Minnesota Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, a meeting that offers sportsmen groups an opportunity to interface with legislators and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to make their views and positions known; provide funding to make scholarships available for participants in Minnesota’s Youth Hunting Camps where boys and girls age 12-16 receive instruction in archery and the use of shotguns, rifles and pistols, as well as learning to track, dog handle, identify various types of cover and vegetation and more; provide funding to assist with publication of the Women Hunting and Fishing in All Seasons newsletters that include information on the organization, articles with hunting and gear tips, resources to aid beginner hunters and anglers, and a schedule of women’s events for Minnesota’s sporting community, as well as pages devoted to information from supporting partners including RMEF; provide funding to underwrite National Archery in the Schools Program archery kit grants to schools across Minnesota; provide funding for two Women Hunting and Fishing in All Seasons activities—the first offers shooting and fishing opportunities while the second is a brainstorming session on how to best serve the needs of Minnesota’s sporting women and potential female hunters and anglers; provide sponsorship funding and volunteer manpower for an RMEF SAFE event at the Minnesota 2014 Game Fair; and provide sponsorship of numerous DNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman and Family Outreach Programs which provides women and families with an opportunity to learn skills related to hunting, fishing, and the outdoors.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities. RMEF volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to receive funding.

Partners for the Minnesota projects include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, private landowners, and various sportsmen, wildlife and civic organizations.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 149 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Minnesota with a combined value of more than $2.3 million.


Illinois Receives RMEF Hunting Heritage Grants Thanks to Native Son

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation awarded $18,205 in funding to Illinois for a series of hunting heritage and conservation education outreach projects.

“Much of this year’s funding for these projects is directly attributed to the late Bob Torstenson, an Illinois native,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “He had a passion for elk hunting, the outdoors and especially for introducing new hunters to hunting. These grants will extend and strengthen hunting traditions to the next generation in Illinois.”

RMEF established the Torstenson Family Endowment in Bob Torstenson’s name as a result of the sale of the Torstenson Wildlife Center, a 93,403 acre ranch in west-central New Mexico gifted to the RMEF by Torstenson in 2002. Torstenson owned Duo-FAST Corporation until its sale to Illinois Toolwork in 1998. Born in Evanston, he last lived in Pecatonica.

The 2014 grants will positively affect Cook, Fulton, Henry, Jackson, Mason, Sangamon and Tazewell Counties. There are also two projects of statewide interest.

Allen also thanked RMEF volunteers in Illinois and across the nation for raising funds through banquets, membership drives and other activities to further RMEF’s mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

RMEF grants will fund the following projects, listed by county:

Cook County—Provide funding from the Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) to assist Hubbard High School in the purchase of bows, arrows and targets from the Illinois Conservation Foundation as it establishes a Junior ROTC National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP).

Fulton County—Provide funding for youth to learn how to handle firearms in a fun and safe environment with the launching of the Fulton County 4-H Shooting Sports Program.

Henry County—Provide sponsorship of the Illowa Fellowship of Christian Athletes youth shotgun team.

Jackson County—Provide sponsorship of the Sesser-Valier Outdoorsmen Club 2014 Walden Solo Camping Experience which gives junior members a weekend of self-challenge and personal introspection through solo camping and participation in a high ropes challenge course.

Mason County—Provide funding to purchase ammunition for Mason County 4-H Shooting Sports which recently began offering air rifle, archery and shotgun instruction to youth ages 8-18 years.

Sangamon County—Provide funding and RMEF volunteer efforts to instruct and introduce school age youth with the Edgewood Scholastic Trap Team to shooting sports through the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation; and provide funding for NASP at Washington Middle School to educate archers about conservation, bowhunting, camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting and hiking.

Tazewell County—Provide funding for Tazewell County 4-H Shooting Sports which offers archery, air rifle, and shotgun courses to youth during a spring and fall session each year.

Statewide—Use TFE funding to design and furbish an education trailer containing fishing rods and reels, tents, a cook stove, microscopes, binoculars, GPS units for geocaching, a generator, lights, a TV for seminars, tanned hides, skulls and other items to be taken to schools and events statewide to help teach youth about the outdoors; and provide sponsorship of the 25th annual University of Illinois Forest Resource Center’s “Stewardship Week.” The event offers instruction to nearly 1,300 children about forestry, wildlife management, invasive plants and insects, natural heritage, fisheries, soil conservation, wetlands restoration, bird migration, tree identification and much more. RMEF sponsored the event the past 17 years.

RMEF volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to receive funding.

In its first year in existence in 2013, the Torstenson Family Endowment provided nearly a million dollars to accelerate mission priorities. TFE funding is only used to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.


Ted Nugent Auctioning Autographed Guiter to Support Maine Hunting Heritage

“Rock star Ted Nugent is auctioning an autographed guitar on eBay in support of Maine’s hunting heritage and traditions. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine “to help support its never-ending battle to preserve the long standing heritage and tradition of firearms ownership and hunting in the State of Maine, according to the product description on eBay.”<<<Read More>>>


Wyoming Elk, Elk Country, Hunting Heritage to Benefit from $500,000 in RMEF Grants

MISSOULA, Mont.–Habitat enhancement, land protection, elk population research, wolf management and numerous other conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects are the focus of 2013 grants provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Wyoming.

The RMEF grants total $502,423 and positively affect 28,135 acres in 16 Wyoming counties: Albany, Big Horn, Carbon, Converse, Fremont, Hot Springs, Laramie, Lincoln, Park, Platte, Sheridan, Sublette, Sweetwater, Teton, Washakie and Weston. There are also projects of statewide and national interest.

“Wyoming may have the least number of residents in the nation but these grants are strong evidence that our RMEF volunteers and members there are among the most passionate in the nation and dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Thanks to their efforts through banquets and membership drives, funds raised are directed toward on the ground projects to benefit elk and elk country in their home state.”

Allen also thanked RMEF chapters and volunteers around the nation for their dedication to conservation all across elk country.

Since 1985, RMEF and its partners completed 541 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wyoming with a combined value of more than $116.2 million.

RMEF grants fund the following projects, listed by county:

Big Horn County—Improve elk forage with a mixture of aerial and hand ignition for 3,000 acres of controlled burning on the Bighorn National Forest (also affects Washakie and Sheridan counties); prescribe burning and/or mechanical treatment of 625 acres of juniper, mountain sagebrush and aspen along with herbicide spraying of 200 acres of cheatgrass to improve habitat for elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and sage grouse on the west slope of the Big Horn Mountains; burn 275 acres on the west slope of the Big Horn Mountains to reduce ladder fuels and improve aspen and forage (also affects Washakie County); and co-sponsor the Paintrock Hunter Mentor Program’s Outdoor Day at Medicine Lodge State Archeological site offering education and skills to youth about air rifle, archery, spin cast fishing, .22 rifle, wildlife identification, ATV safety and other activities (also affects Hot Springs, Park and Washakie counties).

Carbon County—Remove 1/4-mile of woven wire fence and replace it with wildlife friendly fence across a riparian area that is a wildlife travel corridor as well as install one mile of new wildlife friendly fence and one or two cattle guards on private land between the Pennock Wildlife Management Area and the Medicine Bow National Forest to benefit elk and other species; provide funding to monitor radio-collared elk as they access habitat use in relation to beetle kill in the Sierra Madre Range on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest to aide wildlife managers in decisions impacting elk and hunting; remove encroaching conifers from 650 acres of aspen habitat by using prescribed burning as part of a 10-year collaborative effort within the Little Snake River watershed involving 12,000 acres; use prescribed burning, herbicide application, mowing and intensified livestock grazing management to achieve improved herbaceous species production and forage values on 6,100 acres near Elk Mountain as part of the Platte Valley Habitat Partnership; carry out herbicide treatment on 920 acres, mechanical and prescribed fire on 30 acres, and rangeland restoration and seeding on 200 acres of private land as part of the Platte Valley Habitat Partnership; construct fence exclosures around five natural springs on BLM lands to protect water sources from cattle use thereby enhancing habitat for a variety of wildlife including elk, mule deer sage grouse, Columbian sharp-tailed grouse and songbirds; and conduct noxious weed treatment on 270 acres of the Medicine Bow National Forest to improve winter range for elk and sage grouse.

Converse County—Provide funding for the Wyoming 4-H Shooting Sports Extravaganza and volunteer recognition and training as a means to reach out to 3,800 4-H youth members across the state to increase their knowledge and skills.

Fremont County—Install four miles of wildlife-friendly fence along the northern boundary of the Spence/Moriarity Wildlife Habitat Management Area (WHMA) to prevent cattle from trespassing on this important year-round habitat for the East Fork elk herd; and provide manpower to remove two miles of unneeded barbed wire fencing from a wildlife travel corridor at the WHMA.

Hot Springs County—Carry out prescribed burning treatment of pine and juniper encroachment to improve aspen and grasslands for elk, other species and livestock on 450 acres within the foothills of the Absaroka Mountains in the upper reaches of Cottonwood Creek about 25 miles southwest of Meeteetse; and provide funding to assist Hot Springs County establish a 4-H archery program for youth between the ages of 8 and 18 to learn about the safe handling and knowledge of archery equipment, shooting skills, ethics, and an opportunity to compete in local, regional and statewide competitions.

Laramie County—Prescribed burning of 3,040 acres to improve shrub health and winter range conditions for elk, deer and bighorn sheep on private and public lands in the southern Laramie Range (also affects Albany County).

Lincoln County—Conduct noxious weed treatment on 405 acres of the Teton National Forest to restore native grass communities on transitional range for elk, mule deer, moose and other wildlife.

Park County—Evaluate the use of remote cameras to monitor elk population dynamics and migration patterns in the Shoshone National Forest in northwest Wyoming to determine if aerial classifications can be reduced without losing accuracy and sample sizes; treat at least 25 acres of conifer-dominated aspen stands to enhance habitat as part of a multi-year program to treat 800-1,000 acres in the Breteche Creek watershed on the west slope of the Absaroka Mountains west of Cody; use chainsaws to enhance 25 acres of habitat by removing encroaching conifers on aspen in the Absaroka Front drainages of Enos and Middle Creeks; remove encroaching conifers from 40 acres of aspen on The Nature Conservancy’s Heart Mountain Ranch which provides important wildlife habitat and access for sportsmen and women north of Cody, as well as remove 3-1/2 miles of woven and barbed wire fence and replace with wildlife-friendly fencing; and restore 62 acres of aspen/riparian habitat in the Sunlight Basin area to improve forage and habitat for approximately 1,800 elk that summer in Yellowstone Park.

Platte County—Add four tire tanks (each 850-1,000 gallon capacity) to four existing developed spring locations to provide a more reliable water source for elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and other wildlife in the Cow Creek drainage northwest of Wheatland. Sheridan County—Co-sponsor the Wyoming Women’s Foundation first annual Wyoming Women’s Antelope Hunt, an event that used hunting and other outdoor activities as a platform for mentoring, with an emphasis on safety, hunting ethics and camaraderie.

Sublette County—Prescribed burning of 700 acres to stimulate aspen growth, remove hazardous fuel loading and improve forage for elk, moose and other wildlife as part of a 10-year effort to treat 9,000 acres of aspen on Bureau of Land Management lands along the Wyoming Front Range in western Wyoming; treat 3,000 acres for Canada thistle, musk thistle and cheatgrass that exploded after the 64,000-acre Fontenelle Wildlife of 2012 in the vicinity of the Piney Creeks in the Wyoming Range; provide funding for the Boulder Big Draw 3D Archery Shoot for 4-H youth members to increase their knowledge and skills; and remove encroaching conifer and over-mature aspen on 350 acres of summer and transitional ranges in the Upper Hoback River drainage about ten miles southeast of Bondurant as part of a larger project on 1,500 acres of the Rolling Thunder Ranch.

Sweetwater County—Contributed funds for the purchase of a conservation easement on 4,500 acres of year-round habitat at the base of Pine Mountain south of Green River that also has high value for mule deer, antelope, moose and riparian areas that support a genetically pure population of Colorado River cutthroat trout; and use prescribed burning to treat 850 acres of aspen and sagebrush habitats in the upper Little Red Creek watershed to increase forage on crucial winter range and increase perennial flows that positively affect cutthroat trout.

Teton County—Provide funding to monitor radio-collared elk to determine migration timing and vulnerability to hunter harvest as a means to evaluate management decisions regarding antlerless harvest in Grand Teton National Park and the National Elk Refuge. During 2012, elk in Yellowstone Park had a calf to cow ration of 23:100 compared to a 60:100 cow to calf ratio 60 miles south near Jackson; provide funding to remove deteriorating control structures, reduce sediment inputs to the stream channel, enhance the stream’s ability to distribute and remove excess sediment, provide new habitat for native fish and make stream crossings safer for elk, other wildlife and anglers at Flat Creek on the National Elk Refuge; provide funding and volunteer manpower for a disabled Wyoming veteran to take part in a big game hunt; and provide funding for a comprehensive, permanent exhibit and public program series highlighting the history of elk and elk management issues in Jackson Hole at the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum.

Weston County—Aerially treatment 2,418 acres of cheatgrass with herbicides on BLM, state and private lands in the southern Black Hills near Newcastle to restore native grass and forbs to support elk, mule deer, whitetail deer and turkey where the 2012 Oil Creek Wildfire burned approximately 62,000 acres.

Statewide—Contribute funds to compile comprehensive current information on Wyoming’s ungulate migrations to be used in a large format book and in an online database as a means to advance conservation and management efforts; provide funding for the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s (WFGD) Private Lands Public Wildlife Access program that works to secure access for hunters and anglers to private land; provide funding to purchase equipment for two sessions of the youth-run Cedar Badge National Youth Leadership Training program –one at Treasure Mountain Scout Camp near Alta, Wyoming, and the other at Island Park Scout Camp in Idaho– that offers hands-on instruction in leadership, teamwork, goal-setting, planning, decision-making and communications for 337 Boy Scouts from Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon and Utah; provide a $50,000 grant (place a highlighted hyperlink of over “$50,000 grant”) to assist the WFGD with its wolf management efforts; provide funding for the Leopold Conservation Award 2013 Wyoming Stewardship Project Tour that recognizes and celebrates extraordinary achievements in voluntary conservation by private landowners such as 2012 honorees Wayne and Judi Fahsholtz who showcase excellent land, water and wildlife management efforts while operating the 500,000-acre Padlock Ranch along the Wyoming-Montana border; and provide funding for the non-profit Wyoming Disabled Hunters organization which offers hunts to 17 disabled hunters from across the country including reigning Ms. Wheelchair USA Ashlee Lundvall of Cody.

Nationwide—Provide funding for four veterans to take part in an elk hunt through the Honoring Our Veterans 2013 Wounded Veterans Hunt, a program established in 2008.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies. RMEF staff and volunteers select education projects to receive grants and hunting heritage projects to receive funding.

Partners for RMEF’s 2013 Wyoming projects include the Bighorn, Bridger-Teton, Medicine-Routt, Shoshone National Forests, as well as the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, National Elk Refuge, Grand Teton National Park, Yellowstone National Park, University of Wyoming, private landowners, and various government, state, wildlife, business and volunteer organizations.


Kentucky’s Elk, Hunting Heritage to Benefit from RMEF Grants

MISSOULA, Mont.–Funding research to monitor the health, survival and recruitment of elk, as well as providing sponsorship of multiple hunting heritage events are the focus of grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation for the state of Kentucky.

The RMEF grants total $87,600 and directly affect 22 counties: Anderson, Bell, Breckinridge, Breathitt, Bullitt, Carter, Daviess, Fayette, Franklin, Jefferson, Knott, Laurel, Letcher, Madison, Meade, Mercer, Oldham, Perry, Scott, Shelby, Spencer and Woodford. RMEF also provided funding for several programs of statewide and national benefit.

“Kentucky is a shining example as one of the nation’s most successful elk reintroductions. It is imperative we continue to monitor the health and behavior of this thriving elk population, and that’s exactly what this RMEF funding will do,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are also pleased to sponsor a variety of activities that will enrich Kentucky’s hunting tradition.”

Since 1995, RMEF and its partners completed 100 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Kentucky with a combined value of more than $6.7 million.

“We have more than 1,500 RMEF members in Kentucky. We thank them and our dedicated volunteers who raised the money for these projects thanks to their banquet fundraising and membership drive efforts,” added Allen.

Allen also thanked RMEF chapters and volunteers around the nation for their dedication to conservation all across elk country.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2013 projects, listed by county:

Breckinridge County–Provide funding to purchase archery equipment for the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) at Saint Romuald School (also affects Meade County).

Bullitt County–Provide funding for Zoneton Middle School to establish a NASP program for boys and girls in grades six through eight. Students will have the opportunity to practice, refine and develop archery skills, and compete in local meets.

Carter County–Provide funding to help purchase equipment for the East Carter High School NASP archery team.

Daviess County–Provide funding to purchase air rifles and equipment to enhance the Daviess County High School National Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps program.

Fayette County–Provide funding to repair equipment and purchase supplies for the Tates Creek High School archery team.

Franklin County–Provide sponsorship of an archery camp at Frankfort’s Cove Spring Park for youth ages 8-18 following the NASP format (also affects Anderson, Mercer, Scott, Shelby and Woodford counties); and provide funding to help purchase more equipment for Capital Day School to expand NASP to more students.

Jefferson County–Provide funding to offset the cost of purchasing bows and targets for Valor Traditional Academy to form an archery team which will compete in NASP and Scholastic 3D sanctioned tournaments (also affects Bullitt County); and co-sponsor an event aimed at introducing women to shooting sports including archery, rifle, shotgun and handgun skills at the Fern Creek Sportsman’s Club (also affects Fayette, Franklin, Letcher, Oldham and Spencer counties).

Knott County–Provide funding for an elk collaring and tracking study to reassess cow elk survival and cause-specific mortality in the 16-county elk zone of southeastern Kentucky. The project will also assess the survival and recruitment of elk calves to provide data to best manage the herd of 10,000-plus through the next decade (also affects Bell, Breathitt and Perry counties).

Laurel County–Provide funding to purchase equipment for the expanding NASP program at Wyan Pine Grove Elementary School, which now offers afterschool service.

Letcher County–Provide funding for Letcher County Kids Day, which features games, entertainment and food for the entire family.

Madison County–Provide funding to help Foley Middle School promote proper land and wildlife conservation by purchasing equipment for under-privileged children to participate in the NASP and 3D shooting programs.

Statewide–Provide funding to cover the cost of monitoring for Chronic Wasting Disease of Kentucky’s elk herd, previously paid for by federal funding; co-sponsor the 10th Annual NASP National Tournament held in Louisville; provide partial scholarships for 30 disadvantages youth to attend a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Conservation Camp; provide funding to offset expenses and purchase supplies for two wounded warrior hunts for injured servicemen and women (also has nationwide benefits); and provide funding for the Kentucky Chapter’s annual gathering of The Wildlife Society.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies. RMEF staff and volunteers select education projects to receive grants. RMEF volunteers and staff select hunting heritage projects to be funded.

Partners for 2013 Kentucky projects include the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, University of Kentucky, and other wildlife, volunteer and business organizations.


RMEF Grants to Promote Alaska’s Hunting Heritage, Elk Research

MISSOULA, Mont.–Funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will assist elk research and help ensure Alaska’s rich hunting heritage. The RMEF 2013 grants total $41,550 and affect communities and locations across Alaska.

“When you think Alaska, what immediately comes to mind is its rich outdoor culture and tradition,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “These grants will enhance that and our hunting heritage by supporting outdoor camps for youth and adults, archery and shooting programs, and sponsorship of a hunt for wounded veterans. Funding also goes toward research to learn more about elk herds on Etolin and Zarembo Islands.”

Since 1992, RMEF and its partners completed 73 different conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Alaska with a combined value of more than $5.3 million.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2013 projects:

Anchorage–Provide sponsorship for three-day Outdoor Youth Days to help those age 10-14 foster a greater awareness, respect, appreciation and enjoyment of Alaska’s natural resources through a wide range of outdoor-related activities including firearms safety, outdoor survival skills, map and compass use, boating safety and more.

Chugiak–Provide sponsorship of Youth Firearms Safety Day at Birchwood Recreation and Shooting Park through volunteer instructors.

Etolin and Zarembo Islands–In partnership with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, fund research for a multi-year study using radio collars to monitor the distribution, habitat preferences and population status of two elk herds.

Fairbanks–Provide sponsorship of Alaska Conservation Camp which gives youth hands-on learning in hunting, fishing, wildlife conservation and related outdoor skills. An RMEF SAFE (Shooting Access For Everyone) Challenge event offers instruction in safe and responsible firearms conducted during each camp session.

Talkeetna–Provide sponsorship of activities at YMCA Camp Peggy Lake which offers children grades 2nd through 8th the opportunity to learn rifle shooting, archery, safe boating skills, animal tracking, plant identification and wilderness survival skills. The camp also added a military week that allows children of military families to attend one week for no cost.

Various locations–Provide sponsorship for Alaska’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program. Several BOW women attendees assist at RMEF Alaska banquets; provide sponsorship of Alaska’s National Archery in the Schools program; and provide sponsorship of Youth Shooting Leagues that reach boys and girls in Anchorage, Chugiak, Homer, Ketchikan, Soldotna and Wasilla.

Wasilla–Provide scholarships and shot shells for the Alaska Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) State Championship, which was also the first State Championship for the new Varsity Program. The varsity event drew competitors from the Matanuska-Susitna School District, the first Alaska school district to offer a letter in clay target sports.

Willow–Provide sponsorship for an Alaska’s Healing Hearts bear hunt for five wounded veterans from Alaska, Colorado, and Hawaii. Many celebrities including Jim Zumbo, RMEF board member, accompany the veterans on their hunt.

Conservation projects are selected for grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies.

RMEF staff and volunteers select education projects to receive grants.

Partners for the 2013 projects include the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Outdoor Heritage Foundation of Alaska, and other state and local agencies, foundations, corporations and organizations.


RMEF to Allot $3.4 Million for Habitat and Hunting Heritage Projects in 2013

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will allocate nearly $2.9 million for elk and wildlife-related conservation projects in 27 states with wild, free-ranging elk populations in 2013. Additionally $570,000 will also be allocated to hunting heritage programs in 49 states.

The funding totals $3,459,899, which is derived from banquet-based memberships and fundraising by local RMEF chapters, and represents a 30 percent increase from 2010.

“This is a testament to the mission focused attitude of our dedicated volunteers,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Their successful chapter banquets raise money which is then turned around and put back on the ground to RMEF mission programs in their own states.”

Habitat projects are selected for RMEF grants using science-based criteria and a committee of RMEF volunteers and staff along with representatives from partnering agencies and universities from their respective states. Examples of projects include habitat stewardship such as prescribed burning, forest thinning and management, weed control, water improvements and more, mostly on public lands. Also included are research projects to improve management of elk, habitat, predators and other factors that influence conservation.

“These funds allow us to carry out dozens of projects that are vital to help elk and enhance elk habitat,” said Blake Henning, RMEF vice president of Lands and Conservation. “Among those efforts are a radio-collar elk study in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, five burn projects in Wyoming to improve forage, and various other research, fence removal and water supply projects.”

Allocated 2013 amounts for states with wild, free-ranging elk populations:

Alaska $17,339
Arizona $166,148
Arkansas $41,404
California $327,236
Colorado $249,376
Idaho $69,427
Kansas $10,000
Kentucky $60,558
Michigan $10,000
Minnesota $40,903
Missouri $5,000
Montana $438,129
Nebraska $10,000
Nevada $42,301
New Mexico $104,782
North Carolina$13,746
North Dakota $65,187
Oklahoma $13,728
Oregon $233,239
Pennsylvania $63,309
South Dakota $85,396
Tennessee $10,000
Utah $10,000
Virginia $10,000
Washington $283,078
Wisconsin $67,940
Wyoming $481,285

The amount listed above refers to money raised exclusively by RMEF volunteers in their individual states. RMEF will also distribute money received through donations, teaming with partners, grants and other means to its national core programs of habitat stewardship, land protection, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Hunting heritage projects are selected by RMEF staff and volunteers in their individual states and are based on the ability to provide education about habitat conservation, the value of hunting, hunting ethics and wildlife management, and reaching out to youth.


Sending The Wrong Message to Maine’s Youth Hunters?

Rep. Gilbert of Jay, Maine is sponsoring a bill that would give youth hunters, age 10-15, a chance to shoot an antlerless deer, without a special permit, during the regular firearm season. Let’s be clear, youth hunters in Maine already have their own Saturday before the commencement of the regular firearm season on deer to hunt and bag any deer, while abiding by the existing harvest laws. The bill is being opposed for all the wrong reasons from what I can see.

In an article that appeared in the Bangor Daily News today by Scott Thistle, middle school students from the Spruce Mountain School in Jay, appeared before the Maine Legislative Joint Standing Committee for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, to tell why they support this bill.

The article offers two people who oppose this bill: David Trahan, executive director for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and Don Kliner, Maine Professional Guides Association. Trahan says:

“This testimony does not reflect any of my personal or SAM’s position against young people hunting in the woods,” Trahan said. He said SAM opposed the measure because the number of youth that would be allowed to shoot a doe would have a big impact on the deer that are shot.

And Kliner adds:

The bill sends the wrong message, Kliner said.

“The reason why hunting has been so successful in not only bringing back wildlife populations that were once nearly extinct, including whitetail deer, is that we have rules,” Kliner said. “Rules to promote the conservation, the wise use of the species that we all hold so dear and reverently. I would argue that allowing children to disobey or not take part in the rules robs them of the opportunity to participate in the covenant of conservation that is hunting.”

Can anyone argue the fact that if we can’t get and keep kids in the woods hunting, trapping and fishing, it will not matter the impact on the deer herd or whether or not the wrong message is being sent? We can do better than this.

I fully understand Trahan’s and Kliner’s positions on why they oppose this bill. In addition, I would have to say that this bill, as written and blindly implemented would, more than likely, be a bad idea. This news report and the sponsor of this bill is void of any data needed to convince anybody the bill would work. Where are the data? Where are the numbers that can show the impact would be inconsequential and the effort beneficial?

I recall during the debate as to whether to allow a day for only youth hunters prior to the regular season giving those kids a chance to shoot any sex of deer, bald-headed or not. The claims went up then that the kids would destroy the deer herd. Question: Has that happened? Question: Where are the data to show the impact for or against?

While Trahan boasts of his ability to get the Youth Day hunt going, expanding on that program would seem a positive thing and not something to stop simply by stating it will impact the deer herd enough it shouldn’t be allowed. Will it? Where are the projected numbers to show that? Can the bill be amended so it will work? Is anyone looking into that possibility?

Kliner says we would be sending the wrong message to our kids that they need to follow rules too. Agreed, but is a flat rejection of this bill, without an honest effort to modify it to work, also sending the wrong message? A message that says I really don’t care enough to craft a bill that would work well.

We have had Youth Day for a few years. Certainly there must exist data that can give us an indication as to the impact. If my memory serves me correctly, Lee Kantar, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) head deer biologist, told me at the time of consideration to implement the youth hunt, that he didn’t believe the number of deer taken by youth on one day would have much impact at all. Does he still feel that way?

It is my understanding that in the wording of Rep. Gilbert’s bill, all youth hunters would have to abide by all the existing hunting laws, with the exception that they could harvest an antlerless deer without a permit. That would mean they follow the same harvest restrictions as everyone else, meaning they cannot shoot an antlerless deer in those Wildlife Management Districts where taking of antlerless deer is prohibited. That leaves those zones where permits are issued because the population of deer is such that a harvest of does is part of the management plan for deer.

It seems to me that biologists and wildlife agencies nationwide spend gobs of money creating computer models for just about anything they want an outcome for. Would it be that difficult at the onset of such a bill, to create a model, based on past history, as to how many of those youth hunters would shoot an antlerless deer and with that information, factor it into the logarithm used to determine the allotment of Any-Deer Permits? Can adjustments be made as part of the lottery drawing for Any-Deer Permits, that would give an advantage to youth? Can there be a way for an adult who draws an Any-Deer Permit, to sign it over to a youth? (Perhaps that already exists. Seems there is some amount of swapping of moose permits allowed.)

I think there are ample ways to make hunting laws that will encourage kids to hit the woods, rather that prop up a half-hearted effort thinking your doing the youth a favor. Now, you want to talk about sending wrong messages? Maybe it’s time to show the kids we adults really do care about the hunting heritage and their future in this sport by finding ways to make such proposals work.

I understand the process of proposing bills and the debates etc. I also understand that when bills are poorly crafted – no or little thought going into them, providing no data to support the need and impacts – they sometimes require an up or down vote. It sounds like David Trahan may have found himself in such a predicament. I don’t know.

It also appears that Rep. Gilbert, while his heart and his intentions where in the right place, a better effort should have been made to craft a bill that would benefit the youth, who are the only future to our hunting heritage, and at the same time providing statistical proof of how and why a well-constructed bill would not impact negatively the deer herd.

Rep. Gilbert, in my opinion, is on the right track. He just needs some help and cooperation from MDIFW and others more knowledgeable about crafting good legislative bills.