April 27, 2017

RMEF Salutes Volunteers

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is proud to recognize and honor its conservation army of 11,000 volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

“We cannot express how grateful we are for good men and women who do so much for elk and elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They work tirelessly on their own time to raise funds to further our shared conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

Volunteers host fundraising banquets, membership drives and other events in more than 500 chapters from coast-to-coast. They also assist with youth seminars, camps and other activities that bolster the future of hunting and conservation. Additionally, they take part in on-the-ground projects such as fence pulls, noxious weed treatments, erecting wildlife water sources and other activities.

RMEF honored its volunteers at its 2017 National Convention in Nashville by collectively awarding them the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award. Presented only 22 times, it is awarded to those who have made a contribution of lasting significance to the benefit of RMEF’s conservation mission across North America.

“There’s absolutely no doubt about it. RMEF would not be where it is today without the dedicated and passionate effort of our volunteers,” added Allen.

The award itself will be on display at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s headquarters in Missoula, Montana.

Go here for more information about RMEF volunteer opportunities.

Wildlife Habitat Protected, Access Improved in Nevada

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation worked with a conservation-minded landowner, the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) and the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to protect 4,500 acres of key wildlife habitat in northeast Nevada via a voluntary conservation easement agreement. The project also improves access to nearly 19,000 acres of adjacent public land.

“We appreciate Bryan Masini and his partner owners of the Wildhorse Ranch in recognizing the importance of protecting and conserving the wildlife values of their land,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located approximately 70 miles north of Elko, the property lies within the Owyhee River watershed just east of the Independence Mountain Range.

As part of the transaction, the NDOW holds an access agreement that allows public access for hunting and other recreational activities to the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands which border the ranch.

“We are grateful for all the partners in this effort and find great hope in innovative approaches such as this conservation easement,” said Tony Wasley, NDOW director. “This is a great solution that protects private land, while also maintaining the land’s benefits for the wildlife species that depend on it.”

“This specific area is year-round habitat and crucial summer range for up to 100 elk. It’s also a key area for mule deer and antelope, crucial habitat for Greater sage-grouse and it features riparian habitat for fish and other species,” added Henning.

Current range conditions consist of enough forage for cattle and wildlife and a plan has been implemented to ensure that best management practices maintain quality habitat going forward.

“This project is a great example of the private and public partnership efforts that exist to protect critical habitats and preserve agricultural working lands for future generations,” stated Ray Dotson, NRCS state conservationist.

The Natural Resource Conservation Service’s Agricultural Conservation Easement Program and the Nevada Department of Wildlife provided funding for the project.

Small Utah Project Has Big Public Access Dividends

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Sportsmen and women now have permanent access to 3,800 acres of National Forest land in central Utah thanks to a collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Back Country Horsemen of Utah and Emery County.

“This project shows how working together can bring about improved public access that benefits hunters, hikers, horseback riders and so many other people who enjoy our national forests,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

“The American public benefits greatly by acquiring this property which allows access to some of the best country for hunting and horseback riding on the Manti-La Sal National Forest” said Darren Olsen, district ranger for the Manti-La Sal National Forest.

The project site is located approximately 20 miles west of Huntington and secures permanent public access from a parking area on Highway 31 to the popular Candland trailhead.

RMEF recently conveyed the 10-acre parcel of land to the Manti-LaSal National Forest which now oversees management responsibilities. Back Country Horsemen of Utah (BCH), San Rafael Chapter, originally acquired grant funding and coordinated trailhead construction. Emery County donated thousands of dollars in equipment use, labor and materials.

“The Candland Mountain trailhead more than triples the parking for users of the Candland Mountain trail system,” said Rod Player of San Rafael BCH. “It would not be possible were it not for the generous donations from Emery County and RMEF. RMEF has ensured the existence of the trailhead for future generations.”

“Emery County appreciates the opportunity to partner in this project which will benefit residents of the county as well as visitors to our area,” said Ray Petersen, Emery County public lands administrator. “The Emery County Road Department displayed its typical professionalism in constructing this parking area. We are very proud of the work they do. As is often the case, it takes a willingness to collaborate by many partners to accomplish beneficial results on our public lands.”

The area accessed by the trailhead is primarily elk spring through fall habitat, including calving areas, and is used by more than 1,000 elk. It is also home to mule deer, black bears, mountain lions and a host of bird and animal life.

RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) provided funding for the project. TFE funding is used solely to further RMEF’s core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

Langley Claims 2017 World Elk Calling Championship

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Bryan Langley outdueled friendly rival Corey Jacobsen to claim first place in the professional division at the 2017 World Elk Calling Championships in Salt Lake City, Utah, presented by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the International Sportsmen’s Expositions.

“It feels pretty good. It’s been awhile. Corey and I have gone back and forth every year,” said Langley. “The first sequence I felt that my call was breaking up a little bit so I switched to a different call and I felt like I hit all the notes I needed to.”

Langley is a three-time champion in the professional division having also won titles in 2012 and 2013. He also won the men’s division in 2009.

Jacobsen has five pro division titles to his credit. He also won the men’s division in 1998 and the adult division in 1995. Additionally, Jacobsen won the Champion of the Champions invitational in 2013 that featured previous pro division winners from the first 25 World Elk Calling Championships.

Langley’s family also shined in 2017. Bryan’s oldest son, Brayden, competed in the men’s division for the first time while younger siblings Moriah, Gavin and Abram dominated the pee wee division by finishing first, second and fifth respectively.

Seventy-eight contestants, the most to take part since 2005, competed in six different divisions.

2017 World Elk Calling Championships winners:

Professional Division
Bryan Langley, McMinnville, Oregon
Corey Jacobsen, Boise, Idaho
Cody McCarthy, Post Falls, Idaho

Men’s Division
Damian Pagano, Rexburg, Idaho
Dirk Durham, Orofino, Idaho
Matt Toyn, Harrisville, Utah

Women’s Division
Lydia Smith, Rigby, Idaho
Misty Jacobsen, Vacaville, California
Jamie McCarthy, Post Falls, Idaho

Voice Division
Hannah Holiday, Northglenn, Colorado
Paul Griffiths, Somers, Montana
Kailee Brimmer, Keno, Oregon

Youth Division
Jacob Simper, Tooele, Utah
Joseph Simper, Tooele, Utah
Hunter Lewis, Herriman, Utah

Pee Wee Division
Moriah Langley, McMinnville, Oregon
Gavin Langley, McMinnville, Oregon
Fisher Lewis, Herriman, Utah

New Chairman, Members Added to RMEF Board

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is pleased to announce Philip Barrett as the new chairman of its Board of Directors. An avid hunter, RMEF life member and conservationist, Barrett is also vice president of finance for Chick-fil-A.

“I am very honored to be asked to serve RMEF in this capacity,” said Barrett. “It will be a joy to continue to work with such an outstanding group of board members and staff. They all have great passion for our mission and a strong willingness to be a part of the continued growth of the foundation.”

Barrett succeeds Chuck Roady as the 18th chairman to lead RMEF. The new board members are Mark Baker and Lewis Stapley.

Among his goals, Barrett says RMEF will remain relevant and loyal to membership while continuing to protect public lands and hunting’s tradition and heritage. He will also focus on maintaining RMEF’s financial health while putting a high percentage of each dollar toward the organization’s on-the-ground conservation work.

“Philip brings significant business and life experience to our board,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “He is also a deep believer in furthering our conservation mission.”

Barrett began his career at Chick-fil-A as a corporate accounting manager in 1980. He has been responsible for all financial aspects of the company. Barrett also serves as chairman of the board of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Outdoor Ministry and as a national board member for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

“RMEF is among the very best of conservation organizations. Our past accomplishments in the areas of land protection and elk reintroductions are well-known but we continue to have a great opportunity and responsibility to help shape the future of our public lands and wildlife management strategies in our great country,” added Barrett.

He and wife Peggy have two children and five grandchildren.

New RMEF board member bios:

Mark Baker
• Helena, Montana
• Managing Partner ABS Legal, PLLC
• Special Counsel to Mercury public strategy firm
• Past counsel/staff director for U.S. Senator Conrad Burns
• RMEF life member

Lewis Stapley
• Schroon Lake, New York
• Owner/operator Drake Lumber Corporation (1989-2003)
• Founded first volunteer emergency ambulance service in Schroon Lake, NY
• RMEF life member, sponsor member, Habitat Council & Trails Society
• RMEF Olympic Chapter (NY) co-founder and chairman & member of the New York State Leadership Team

RMEF National Convention Celebrates Mission Accomplishment

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk celebrated conservation milestones and mission accomplishment at its just-completed 2017 national convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We felt a tangible surge of energy and excitement from our volunteers, members and partners in attendance,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We will convert that excitement into further expanding our conservation work going forward.”

Among its most recent milestones, RMEF topped 7 million acres protected or enhanced, surpassed one million acres in opened or improved public access and topped 10,000 total conservation projects.

RMEF also officially unveiled its Managed Lands Initiative which seeks to sustain healthy elk herds by carrying out on-the-ground conservation work that enhances elk habitat. It aims to restore or improve an average of 115,000 acres of elk habitat annually with a five-year target of 575,000 acres

The three evening events included RMEF’s popular Volunteer Fun Night that included recognition of top states, chapters and individuals for their efforts to raise funds for elk and elk country. RMEF bestowed its highest conservation honor, the Wallace Pate Award, on its 11,000 volunteers for their passion and dedicated work benefitting elk country.

Bass Pro Shops founder Johnny Morris received the Elk Country Lifetime Achievement Award and former West Virginia governor Ray Tomblin received the Conservationist of the Year Award for his leadership in helping to return elk to their native range in the Mountain State.

Conservationist Shane Mahoney, public lands hunter Randy Newberg and wildlife professor Arthur Middleton also gave addresses or presentations.

Elk Network Goes Live

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s new digital media platform, the Elk Network, is now live online and available for use.

“Our goal for this new generation of media is to serve as an informational resource for as many people as possible regarding all things elk, elk country and elk hunting,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “We have worked hard to create a user-friendly platform that is highly visual and features regularly updated content.”

The Elk Network features a homepage where the latest content is posted at the top and the user can scroll, similar to familiar social media pages, to find additional content.

From there, The Elk Network includes nine distinct channels:

Bugle TV

Full Team Elk episodes from past seasons, Randy Newberg-Hunter, Into High Country with Jason Matzinger and more

The Hunt

Pertaining to everything before, during and after a hunt

Carnivore’s Kitchen

Great wild game recipes and videos that show how to turn harvest into food & users can also submit their favorite recipes

Elk Facts

Biology, terminology, behavior, vocalizations, current and historic range, and habitat of elk

Gear 101

Latest and greatest products, gear hacks and buyer’s guides to choose the right gear

Hunting Is Conservation

Facts, figures, videos and infographics that highlight the vital link between hunting and conservation

RMEF @ Work

RMEF’s on-the-ground land protection, public access, habitat stewardship, elk restoration, hunting heritage and other conservation work

From the Field

Users submit their videos, photos and hunting stories about their time afield

Issues & Advocacy

RMEF stances regarding topics dealing with elk country and hunting heritage

“We believe this is an invaluable resource that will only grow in popularity and use as we continually add more highly visual, consumable content to it. Users no longer have to scour the Internet to find what they are looking for.” added Decker.

Wildlife, Riparian Habitat Protected, Access Improved in Oregon

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The largest private inholding in Oregon’s most popular and biggest wilderness area is now in public hands and open to public access thanks to a collaborative effort between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the U.S. Forest Service.

The project permanently protects 471 acres adjacent to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon and improves access to nearly 23,000 additional acres of surrounding public land.

“This area contains vital habitat for elk and a myriad of other wildlife and fish species,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

Located southwest of the town of Joseph and directly west of Wallowa Lake, the narrow property runs approximately two miles in length. It serves as an important elk transition area as it lies between elk summer range in the high country and winter range in the lowlands. Mule deer, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats are also present within the surrounding area.

Additionally, Little Granite Creek and Falls Creek, two major tributaries to Hurricane Creek, cross the property. Spring Chinook salmon use the waterways for spawning. The creeks also provide crucial riparian habitat for other wildlife.

“In addition to improving public access for hunters, this project also ensures unimpeded access to Hurricane Creek and Falls Creek Trails, two of the most popular trails that provide access to the Eagle Cap Wilderness, including access to Legore Lake, said to be the highest true lake in Oregon at 8,950 feet in elevation,” added Henning.

RMEF conveyed the 471 acres to the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest which now oversees its management.

Vital funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund helped complete the project.

RMEF to Launch Next Generation in Media for All Things Elk

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is excited to introduce the Elk Network, a new online media platform that will serve as a complete source of information for all things elk and elk country.

“This online digital platform is several years in the making,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “It is specifically designed to be clean, user-friendly and to mirror social media functionality through a scrolling news feed and the ability to discuss each topic. Our goal with this is to continue to innovate the ways that RMEF creates outbound messaging. It will focus on highly visual and consumable content through a mobile-responsive platform making for effective viewing on any sized screen, anywhere.”

RMEF will officially launch the Elk Network at noon (MST) on Friday, March 3 at elknetwork.com. You can visit the site now to view a video overview of the Elk Network.

“We intend for this to be the place to go for people who are seeking information on elk and elk hunting, as well as anything related to elk country. The Elk Network will also feature recipes, RMEF’s on-the-ground conservation and mission work, entire episodes from past seasons of RMEF Team Elk, as well as other original productions. We are also excited that it will also offer sportsmen and women the opportunity to contribute their own photos, videos and stories,” added Decker.

With a rapidly growing social media presence, RMEF surpassed 500,000 Facebook likes this past weekend. In 2016, RMEF managed to reach more than 24 million people with its #Hunting Is Conservation campaign alone.

Oregon Court Accepts RMEF’s Brief in Wolf Lawsuit

*Editor’s Note* – It is not clear from RMEF’s quote by CEO and President David Allen, “We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, its professional biologists and wildlife managers, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission in carrying out their duty of managing all of Oregon’s wildlife,” precisely what this means. Certainly, one should not expect that the RMEF would blindly and willingly support and approve every action of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). So, I am assuming this statement is in reference ONLY to supporting the ODFW in thwarting the lawsuit brought on by environmentalists.

However, the presser below further describes the State of Oregon’s management plan for wolves offering protections of wolves that obviously involve promoting them within settled landscapes.

In a recent article I was reading on the Wolf Education International website, the world organization posted it’s position specifically about the perpetuation and protection of wild or semi-wild hybrid canines and in general concerning doing so in settled landscapes, which essentially encourages conflicts with people, as well as property destruction, and the encouragement of further hybridization of the canine species.  Here is that WEI position statement: It is the position of the majority members of Wolf Education International that the breeding, perpetuation and protection of hybrid, and/or canine mixtures, in the wild and under the claim of sustaining a wolf species or subspecies, is wrong scientifically as well as poses a direct threat to public safety, health, and private property. WEI supports sustaining real wolves in wild places, where they are acceptable to those communities asked to live with them not in settled landscapes where conflicts with the full range of human presence, human activities, and the costs of managing wolves and their impacts are not acceptable and sensibly judged to be prohibitive.”

I would at least encourage the RMEF, if they don’t already, to consider publicly supporting (and making a statement) this position of the members of Wolf Education International to stop forcing any wild canines into settled landscapes. Showing support for this continued action not only perpetuates a continued threat to human safety and health, and the destruction of property, but is just as seriously is destroying the very wolf species they are trying to protect. It makes little sense at all.

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Oregon Court of Appeals granted the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s application to file a friend-of-the-Court brief in a lawsuit by animal rights groups seeking to eliminate state wildlife management in Oregon.

“We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, its professional biologists and wildlife managers, and the Fish and Wildlife Commission in carrying out their duty of managing all of Oregon’s wildlife,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Oregon’s science-based wolf plan indicates wolves reached delisting criteria five years ago.”

As of December 31, 2015, Oregon’s minimum wolf population estimate numbered 110, marking a 26 percent increase over the 2014 population and a 42 percent increase since 2013. Biologists also indicate the actual number of wolves currently in Oregon is likely greater than the minimum estimate.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act (ESA) in November of 2015. The Oregon legislature ratified the commission’s decision by passing a bill, which was later signed into law, removing wolves from the state’s endangered species list. Those moves had no immediate effect on wolf management yet animal rights groups still filed suit seeking to reverse the delisting.

The state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan continues to guide management of the population in the western two-thirds of Oregon with ESA-like protections that prohibit the killing of any wolf. In northeast Oregon, where most of the wolves are found, the plan emphasizes non-lethal deterrence measures to resolve livestock conflicts but allows ranchers to shoot wolves caught in the act.