January 27, 2023

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.


Should Fish and Game Agencies Ask Hunters for Help?

Craig Dougherty from Outdoor Life writes that fish and wildlife agencies ought to ask hunters for help with their deer management. “For years I have been arguing (and pleading) that under staffed agencies need to make better use of the millions of deer hunters who walk the woods annually. They are more than just another hunting license sale. They are an underutilized resources.”

One could offer some serious argument as to whether hunters can provide fish and wildlife biologists useful data to assist with wildlife management. I won’t waste my time. I figure that the benefits of deeper ownership far outweigh the worries of how “accurate” the information collected is. Besides, if nothing is being done, let’s say, to count winter kill of deer, which then becomes more accurate? Sitting in an office and manipulating formulas in hopes of getting an idea of how many deer died due to winter severity, or just guessing? Or calling on some willing volunteers to go into deer yards and count dead deer? It’s easy – 1, 2, 3,….

If the excuse is that because there just aren’t enough people to do all the things that should be done, one might have to ask if calling on volunteers would require hiring another person to coordinate the volunteers. After all, this is government. They, more than likely, would have to form a working task force to first determine whether being more proficient in their work is a good thing or not.

Or, maybe, the “not enough people” excuse is used for leverage to keep a job. Granted, one has to be smart enough to know how to play the game. The pros can make themselves out to appear stoic, and the answer to all things wildlife management. In addition, how does using volunteers to do “scientific” data collecting devalue the job the biologist is supposed to do?

Some data collected that normally wouldn’t get collected has to have value. However, wouldn’t the real value come from thousands of hunters taking a degree of ownership in deer management? As the writer said, “Hunters can can do all kinds of stuff and all they want for their time is a pat on the back and more good hunting opportunities the next fall.” What’s wrong with that?

And, if any wildlife agency is still looking for any excuse, consider that most states probably have a retired biologist willing to volunteer as the coordinator.




RMEF Praises Volunteers

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation kicked off National Volunteer Week by saluting its 11,000-plus volunteers who actively raise funds across more than 500 chapters nationwide.

“We are deeply indebted to our volunteers. They are a vital part of our conservation successes,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “Volunteers, along with our professional staff, donors, members and partners combine to create one of the most powerful forces in conservation today. This combination translates into on-the-ground funding that drives RMEF to better carry out its mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

Volunteers organize and execute chapter banquets, fundraising drives and other events. They also roll up their sleeves to complete a variety of conservation projects from coast to coast including noxious weed treatments, the removal of fencing, rehabbing and constructing wildlife water sources, and serving as mentors at youth camps.

In 2015, RMEF volunteers assisted with:
• Raising funds that contributed toward RMEF topping $1 billion
in total value of all-time conservation efforts

• 486 banquets and 270 other fundraising events in 500-plus
chapters across 49 states

• Logging more than 7,200 hours of volunteer time for
on-the-ground projects across 28 states

• Spearheading more than 80 projects that benefited habitat and
wildlife in the field and educated youth and adults through hunter
education programs and SAFE events

RMEF volunteers have played an important role in protecting or enhancing more than 6.7 million acres, opening or securing more than 852,000 acres for public access, and completing more than 9,816 permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration, conservation education and hunting heritage projects.


Maine DIFW Looking for Volunteer Safety Instructors

Do you enjoy teaching others and sharing your love for the Maine outdoors? The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife is looking for volunteer instructors to assist with the delivery of our safety programs.

We annually offer safety classes to approximately 10,000 students statewide in the following disciplines:

 Firearms Safety         Bow Hunter Safety                         Trapping              Crossbow

ATV Safety               Snowmobile Safety                         Watercraft

Interested ethical sportsmen or women who have the desire to keep the Maine tradition alive, promote a safe outdoor experience, and deliver a well structured basic safety class with other team members, should apply.  Giving back to the sport that you have a passion for is a major part of being a true, ethical, sportsman or woman.

We have a growing interest from the public in all of the above disciplines, with major growth in Firearms Hunter Safety and Bow Hunter Safety.  The increase in youth and women in these programs over the last few years has been tremendous.

If you are interested in becoming an instructor, please visit:


To apply, contact the local Regional Coordinator in your Area. Regional Coordinators are listed on the IFW website at http://www.maine.gov/ifw/education/safety/coordinators.htm

Passionate for outdoor activities and Maine traditions to continue – be part of the team to make it happen!


RMEF Celebrates 31 Years of Conservation, Salutes Volunteers

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation honors and reveres its volunteers and members while celebrating its 31st anniversary of land and wildlife conservation work.

“Entering our fourth decade of conservation successes, we fully recognize that the organization would not be anywhere close to where it is today without the tireless and passionate dedication of our hard-working volunteers and the staunch support of our membership,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They selflessly give of their time and talents in helping the RMEF carry out its mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

Officially established by four hunters in northwest Montana on May 14, 1984, the RMEF founders created a vision to safeguard elk, elk hunting and the habitat they need to thrive. At that time, there were approximately 550,000 elk in North America. Today, there are well over one million.

RMEF has a membership of more than 205,000, including an army of 11,000 volunteers in 500-plus chapters around the nation. To date, those volunteers helped the RMEF carry out 9,336 projects to protect or enhance more than 6.6 million acres of prime habitat for elk and other wildlife while also opening or securing nearly 770,000 acres of land for hunters and others to enjoy. RMEF also helped restore elk to their native range in six states and one Canadian province.

2014 statistics for reported* on-the-ground volunteer projects:
?• 1,039+ volunteers
?• 10,329 hours
?• 155+ projects
?• 111+ chapters represented
?• 31 states

(*Many volunteer projects are unreported while others are unreported or not yet captured in the RMEF data base. These reported projects do not include significant volunteer numbers or time supplied for chapter banquets and other fundraising events.)

Volunteer activities in 2014 included removing old fencing, planting trees, pulling noxious weeds, hunter education instruction, hosting youth and wounded veteran hunts, installing wildlife water guzzlers, serving as mentors at youth camps, thinning encroaching conifers from meadows, building exclosures around recovering aspen stands, teaching kids about elk and elk habitat, removing “No Hunting” signs on lands protected by RMEF that are now in public ownership, and many other activities.

“It is important to pause and recognize significant accomplishments and milestones as an organization, but going forward we have much more to do. Looking ahead to our fourth decade, we pledge to keep a foot on the gas pedal by doing more conservation and hunting heritage outreach work than ever before,” added Allen.

Learn more about RMEF’s volunteer program here.


Maine Audubon Looking for Volunteers to “Monitor” Roads for Wildlife Traffic

The Maine Audubon is seeking volunteers to give of their time to “monitor” highways in parts of the state in order to provide information as to where and how often wildlife crosses the road. More can be read about this program by following this link.

I’ll actually reserve comment about this programs and its usefulness and effectiveness, however I would like to point out that in the linked-to article above it reads:

Biologists with Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife will use the information gathered by volunteers to work with town planners and the Maine Department of Transportation to reduce road risks to rare wildlife and improve conditions for drivers.

I find it troubling that the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife(MDIFW) will work with a group of untrained volunteers conducting nonscientific “studies” or “monitoring” to be used to “work with town planners and MDOT” to protect wildlife and yet when experienced outdoor sportsmen repeatedly report to MDIFW about game conditions in the forests and fields, it is not always and regularly heeded in ways that could be beneficial to the wildlife.

From my own experiences over the past several years, what I have found is that sportsmen are right on top of what’s taking place in the field. Fish and Game “experts” are about 3 to 5 years behind reality and this lag in field knowledge can be a critical time. Part of the reason they are behind the actual events on the ground is due to their refusal to listen to or work with sportsmen when it comes to game management.

I wonder then, should, let’s say, the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, or some other sports afield group seek volunteers to monitor how moose and deer or other game species are doing, whether or not MDIFW would have any interest? Perhaps it is because MDIFW fears the lobby power of groups like Audubon over sportsmen groups.


RMEF Salutes Volunteers

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation caps National Volunteer Week by saluting the foundation of its 30-year-old organization—its volunteer army of more than 10,000 strong across the country.

“RMEF is what it is today because of our volunteers,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “They are an on-the-ground force that commits their time, talents and energy to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

RMEF recognized its volunteers during National Volunteer Week by giving away seven trips-for-2 to its national convention, Elk Camp, scheduled for December 4-7 in Las Vegas. Winners receive two full registrations and four nights free lodging at The Mirage. Go here for Elk Camp registration information.

“Our volunteers have what can be accurately described as a real ‘get ‘er done’ attitude. Not only do they raise funds for elk and elk country in their own backyards through banquet and membership drives, but they put on their boots for fence pulls, noxious weed treatments, elk collaring and a variety of other hands-on efforts,” added Allen.

Making up more than 500 chapters nationwide, RMEF volunteers helped to protect or enhance more than 6.4 million acres, open or secure public access to more than 707,000 acres and complete more than 8,600 permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration, conservation education and hunting heritage projects. Learn more about RMEF’s volunteer program here.


RMEF Recognizes National Volunteer Week

MISSOULA, Mont.—Built upon a base of volunteerism and entering its 30th year of conservation work benefitting elk and elk country, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognizes and honors the upcoming National Volunteer Week by “Celebrating 30 Years of Volunteers” and saluting all those who serve the organization’s mission.

“Without dedicated volunteers who work hard and care, there would be no Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We have more than 10,000 volunteers whose passion and dedication translates to hands-on projects they carry out in the field and fundraising dollars that pay for scores of on-the-ground conservation projects that ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.”

In recognition of its volunteers, RMEF will give away seven trips for two to Elk Camp scheduled to take place December 4-7 at The Mirage in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each trip has a value of $1,050 and includes two full registrations to Elk Camp events and lodging, checking in on Wednesday, December 3 and checking out Sunday, December 7.

To qualify, entrants are required to be active RMEF volunteers and must register here from now through April 4th. One random drawing will take place every day April 6th through the 12th with daily winners announced via RMEF social media platforms Facebook, Instagram (@rmef_official) and Twitter. Winners will also be notified via email.

Elk Camp is RMEF’s national convention. It will take place in during the first four days of the National Finals Rodeo and also features the new Hunter Christmas Exposition, presented by Cabela’s. Additional events include the World Elk Calling Championships, world class auctions, top country music performances, Volunteer Fun Night and much more.

“RMEF volunteers are the life-blood and we appreciate all they do for the organization,” added Allen. “And we salute all volunteers in whatever capacity they selflessly serve in various endeavors and organizations across the country.”

Learn more about RMEF and its spirit of volunteerism here.