May 26, 2020

RMEF Also Decides to Bow Out of Pennsylvania Gun Show Due to Restrictions

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation statement on Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show:

Due to recent decisions instituted by Reed Exhibitions regarding the disallowing of legal modern sporting rifles, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will withdraw as an exhibitor and conductor of the elk calling contest from the Eastern Sports and Outdoor Show in Pennsylvania. RMEF believes the actions taken by Reed, a British company, are detrimental to the Second Amendment and our right as Americans to bear arms.

RMEF reached this decision after careful deliberations and taking into account the stance of our members, volunteers, industry partners and fellow hunters. We urge Reed Exhibitions to reconsider its policies to avoid a divisive and political atmosphere so RMEF can take part in an event that generates needed revenue for important on-the-ground conservation and hunting heritage projects in the region.


RMEF Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Pittman-Robertson Act

*Editor’s Note* From this press release, it is clear that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the wrong direction and abuse that has transpired against the Pittman-Robertson Act. Never was this excise tax intended to be spent on “other wild game and non-game species across the board”. Nor was it intended strictly to preserve lands and habitat.

Perhaps if the RMEF backed off on the amount of money they spend buying up lands and conservation easements and taking private land from the tax rolls and putting that money and energy into returning Pittman-Robertson to what it was intended, they wouldn’t need to be asking for so much money so much of the time. If you don’t see that environmentalists have hijacked the Pittman-Robertson excise tax then you are part of the problem.

MISSOULA, Mont.? – In light of the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation honors hunters and the vital role they play in funding wildlife management and conservation.

?”Hunting is conservation! There is no greater proof of that than hunters who successfully lobbied government so many years ago to tax themselves? all for the benefit of wildlife,?” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “?That continuing and ever-increasing funding remains the lion?s share for today?s conservation efforts, too.”?

Nevada Senator Key Pittman and Virginia Congressman Absalom Willis Robertson sponsored the legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on Sept. 2, 1937.

The Act imposed an 11 percent tax on guns and ammunition to restore and protect wildlife habitat. Prior to the law, hunting pressure and habitat degradation pushed bison, deer, elk, pronghorn, wild turkey, wood ducks and other species to the brink of extinction.

?Philosopher George Santayana famously stated, ?”Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”? “Hunters learned and they acted,”? added Allen. ?”The great thing is growing numbers of dedicated hunters today mean even more funding for elk, other wild game and non-game species across the board.?”

The Act raises more than $280 million a year for wildlife conservation, and raised more than $2 billion since its inception. The excise tax goes to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute to the states based on a formula that takes into account the area of the state and its number of licensed hunters.

Revenue from state licenses and fees adds up to about $275 million a year, which goes exclusively to state fish and game departments for conservation purposes.

Hunters are the fuel behind RMEF and its 6 million-plus acres of habitat conservation. More than 95 percent of RMEF 180,000 members are passionate hunters.


New Report Shows Hunter Participation Increasing

MISSOULA, Mont. – ?A new report that shows more people are hunting is good news for conservation, according to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The just-released 2011 National Survey of Hunting, Fishing, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation shows 13.7 million people, or 6 percent of the U.S. population age 16 and older, went hunting last year. That marks a 9 percent increase over 2006, reversing a previous downward trend.

?”This is great news for everyone in the hunting and conservation community,”? said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. ?”But it?s even better news for our conservation efforts to protect and improve habitat for elk and other wildlife. We strongly believe that hunting is conservation. This is also a reflection of the importance of our hunting legacy of the past and our hunting heritage as we look to the future.”?

Thanks to hunter-generated dollars, RMEF protected or enhanced more than 6.1 million acres of wildlife habitat. RMEF also recently added ?hunting heritage? to its mission statement, reaffirming a commitment to ensuring a future for wildlife conservation through hunter-based support.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service data show hunters spent $34 billion last year on equipment, licenses, trips and other items to support their hunting activities. If you break down the numbers, sportsmen and women spent $10.4 billion on trip-related expenditures, $14 billion on equipment such as guns, camping items and 4-wheel drives, and $9.6 billion on licenses, land leasing and ownership and stamps.

?”The more hunters spend on firearms, ammunition, bows, arrows and hunting licenses and permits, the more money is generated to provide the necessary funding for successful science-based wildlife management across the United States,?” added Allen.

Here are some brief highlights from the report:

? 13.7 million hunters in 2011 compared to 12.5 million in 2006 (9 percent increase)
? Hunters spent an average of 21 days in the field
? 1.8 million 6 to 15 year olds hunted in 2011
? Big game attracted 11.6 million hunters (8 percent increase since 2006)
? Hunting-related expense increased 30 percent since 2006
? The overall participation of hunters increased more than 5 percent since 2001
? Total hunter expenditures increased 27 percent since 2001
? Expenditures by hunters, anglers & wildlife-recreationists were $145 billion or 1 percent of gross domestic product

The 2011 FWS report contains preliminary numbers. Read it in its entirety at the link below:

The final report is due in November. An FWS preliminary report containing data from the states is due out later this month.


Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Video by Scott McKinley


Oregon Habitat Projects Selected for RMEF Funding

MISSOULA, Mont.–Rejuvenating decadent meadows used by foraging elk and other wildlife is the central theme in a list of Oregon conservation projects slated to receive grants in 2012 from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

The RMEF funding commitment totals $165,500 and affects 17 counties: Benton, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa and Wheeler.

Two projects have statewide interest with implications across the northwestern U.S.

“Oregon’s native grasslands are slowly shrinking because of fire suppression, encroaching conifers and noxious weed infestations. The projects that we’re funding this year will help restore some of those areas to a more natural condition,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Our grants also will help to develop springs and guzzlers, remove old fencing and support important research across the state.”

RMEF’s mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife and their habitat. Since 1985, the organization and its partners have completed 703 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $42 million.

Funding for RMEF grants is based on local membership drives and banquet fundraising by RMEF chapters and volunteers in Oregon. Allen thanked RMEF supporters for their dedication to conservation both in Oregon and all across elk country.

RMEF grants will help fund the following 2012 projects in Oregon, listed by county:

Crook County–Thin encroaching juniper, prescribe burn and seed native forage plants to improve habitat for elk, deer, turkey, quail and other wildlife on 2,069 acres in the Maury Mountains of the Ochoco National Forest.

Curry County–Prescribe burn and seed native forage plants over 401 acres of Roosevelt elk habitat in the Gold Beach Ranger District of the Siskiyou National Forest.

Douglas County–Improve elk foraging areas by thinning, prescribe burning and seeding native forage plants on 125 acres in the Dixon Game Management Unit of the Umpqua National Forest; prescribe burn 200 acres in the Ragged Ridge area of the Umpqua National Forest; create and/or maintain 59 acres of forage openings to improve wildlife habitat in the Toketee Ranger Station area of the Umpqua National Forest.

Grant County–Treat 100 acres of noxious weeds and develop six springs to improve habitat for elk, deer, antelope and bighorn sheep in the Widows Creek area.

Harney County–Repair and improve guzzlers, maintain and/or remove aspen exclosure fences, and seed native forage plants on retired roads to improve 80 acres of elk habitat in the Dairy Creek area of the Malheur National Forest.

Klamath County–Provide sponsorship for Promoting Lifelong Activities for Youth Outdoors (PLAY Outdoors) event to introduce youths to outdoor recreation and conservation (also affects Lake County).

Lake County–Thin encroaching conifer and juniper to restore 300 acres of elk foraging and calving habitat in the West Drew’s Creek area of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

Lane County–Improve 246 acres of elk habitat by treating noxious weeds, seeding native forage plants, thinning brush and developing a water source in the Foley Ridge area of the Willamette National Forest; prescribe burn and seed native forage plants on 166 acres in the Chucksney/Grasshopper Ridge area of the Willamette National Forest; enhance forage quality by mowing, thinning conifers and treating weeds on 540 acres in the Central Coast Ranger District area of Siuslaw National Forest (also affects Lincoln, Douglas and Benton counties); restore meadow habitat by removing encroaching conifers, treating weeds and seeding native forage plants on 131 acres in the Middle Fork Willamette River area of the Willamette National Forest; treat noxious weeds on 79 acres of power-line corridor in the McKenzie River area of Willamette National Forest; with help from RMEF volunteers, hand-pull noxious weeds from a 32-acre riparian area that serves as elk calving grounds in the Buckhead Wildlife Area of the Willamette National Forest.

Linn County–Restore elk foraging areas by removing encroaching conifers and treating noxious weeds on 141 acres in the North Santiam area of the Willamette National Forest (also affects Marion County); remove encroaching conifers to restore 50 acres of meadow habitat in the Smith Prairie area of Willamette National Forest.

Statewide–In coordination with state wildlife agencies in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, research effects of habitat, weather, predators and other factors affecting elk recruitment and future management models; expand and develop elk nutrition and habitat use models for professional wildlife management purposes.

Umatilla County–Improve elk winter range, summer range and calving grounds by treating noxious weeds on 2,000 acres in the North Fork John Day watershed area (also affects Grant and Morrow counties); seed 800 acres of native forage plants on public lands in the west Blue Mountains area.

Union County–Thin encroaching conifer stands to improve habitat for elk, mule deer and other wildlife on the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; remove 1-1/2 miles of old fencing, build a half-mile of new wildlife-friendly fencing, and treat 200 acres of noxious weeds within the Starkey Wildlife Management Unit.

Wallowa County–Prescribe burn 250 acres in the Chesnimus Wildlife Management Unit of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest to enhance elk forage on public land; treat noxious weeds on 700 acres in the Grande Ronde and Imnaha river watersheds (also affects Union County).

Wheeler County–Treat 975 acres of elk habitat for noxious weeds, and develop and fence a spring to improve cattle distribution away from weeded areas, in the Bridge Creek area of the Ochoco National Forest.

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.

Partners for 2012 projects in Oregon include the Oregon Dept. of Agriculture, Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Hunters Association, Oregon State University, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Geological Survey and other agencies, tribes, organizations, corporations and landowners.


Annoucement Made to Remove Gray Wolves in Great Lakes From Protection

There is much agog within sportsman’s groups having heard when Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Federal Government will remove Endangered Species Act listings for Western Great Lakes gray wolves. The action will take effect in 30 days from Federal Register publication and individual states will take over management of the species.

This of course depends upon what affect lawsuits from environmental and animal rights groups will have. There are sure to be lawsuits filed and at best the results of those lawsuits will be confusing. The last time the Feds attempted to delist those wolves, a lawsuit put a stop to it. The court ruling from Judge Paul Friedman, remanded the case back to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and told them to return to his court when they could provide proof that the USFWS has the authority through the Endangered Species Act (ESA) to create Distinct Population Segments. This ruling simply created tons more confusion into an ESA equation so riddled with confusion it’s any wonder any ESA action works at all.

I’ve yet to study the proposal, but I am told that it contains wording that rejects any claims that there are two species of wolves inhabiting the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment of gray wolves. In my mind, that’s a bigger victory than the delisting of wolves. How this will play out across the remainder of the Eastern United States is anyone’s guess at this point.

What I decided to do, for those interested, is publish the press releases below that I received about the delisting so that readers can see the different comments and perspectives. One is from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and one from the U.S. Sportsman’s Alliance.

RMEF Cheers Announcements on Great Lakes Wolves

MISSOULA, Mont.–The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation today cheered federal delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes states, as well as the State of Wisconsin’s rapid movement toward implementing its own science-based wolf management plan.

Both actions help pave the way toward predator populations that are in better balance with elk, deer and other species commonly preyed upon by wolves.

“Barring any legal holdups from animal rights activists, we should see science-based wolf management and control measures go into effect by February, and that’s great news for conservation overall in the Great Lakes region,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

On Dec. 21, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that gray wolf populations in the Great Lakes region have recovered and no longer require the protection of the Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is publishing a final rule in the Federal Register removing wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in portions of adjoining states, from the list of threatened and endangered species.

Upon the announcement, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker ordered the Department of Natural Resources to begin implementing the state’s wolf management plan. The agency will issue permits to landowners experiencing wolf-caused losses beginning Feb. 1.

There are more than 4,000 wolves in the three core recovery states in the western Great Lakes area, a total that far exceeds recovery goals. Minnesota’s population is estimated at 2,921 wolves, while an estimated 687 wolves live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and another 782 in Wisconsin.

Each state has developed a science-based plan to manage wolves after federal protection is removed.

Wolf Delisting Decision a Big Win for Sportsmen

(Columbus, Ohio) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced today that gray wolf populations in the Western Great Lakes region have exceeded recovery goals and should no longer be protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Once official, this move will return wolves to state management in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and some portions of adjoining states.

In an even bigger victory for sportsmen, the Service also announced that it has reversed its previous view that two wolf species exist in the Western Great Lakes region. This previous stance by the Service, that two separate wolf species were present in the region, could have easily derailed any delisting of the wolves. The announcement recognized that the scientific evidence submitted during the comment period was crucial in reversing its position. In July and September, the USSAF submitted extensive comments supported by wolf and genetics expert Dr. Lisette Waits refuting the two wolf theory.

A two wolf position, which was not based on leading research, could have led to additional lawsuits from animal rights organizations aimed at preventing wolves from being returned to state management.

“This announcement is a major victory for sportsmen, conservation, and wildlife management,” said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation senior vice president. “We applaud the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for their decision to recognize the scientific facts regarding wolves in the Great Lakes region. This is how the Endangered Species Act is supposed to be implemented. When animal populations recover, those species should be removed from the list and returned to state management. This has been a long, hard fought battle and is not likely over as we expect the animal rights lobby to turn to the courts to stop the delisting. We will be ready.”

Wolf populations have far exceeded recovery goals and have become an increasing threat to other wildlife, livestock, and hunting and other dogs.

The delisting rule will become effective 30 days after it has been published in the Federal Register. Official publication in the Federal Register is expected to take place next week.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation has been on the front lines working to ensure that wolves in the Western Great Lakes region were removed from the ESA and rightfully returned to state management.

In May of 2010, the USSAF and its partners petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. After the Service failed to respond to the request as required by law, USSAF notified the Service that if it did not act on the wolf petition USSAF and our partners would file a lawsuit. Subsequently, the Service started the delisting process which led to today’s announcement of its intent to delist gray wolves in the Western Great Lakes region. Joining the USSAF in these efforts are the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association, Dairyland Committee of Safari Club International Chapters of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Hunters Rights Coalition, Whitetails of Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Firearms Owners, Rangers, Clubs, and Educators, Inc.