RMEF, Partners Take Action, Protect Popular Recreation Area, Wildlife Habitat

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—A 120-acre tract of wildlife and riparian habitat in western Montana, under threat of development, is now permanently protected and open to public access thanks to timely collaborative work by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners.

“This project is a big win for a multitude of reasons,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “It’s a win for elk and other wildlife. It’s a win for multiple-use and it’s a win for everyone seeking better access to our public lands.”

The property is located immediately to the north of the Bass Creek Recreation Area (BRCA) between Missoula and Hamilton. It lies at the base of the Bitterroot Mountains, borders Sweeney Creek and is approximately two miles east of the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. It is also surrounded on three sides by the Bitterroot National Forest while a five-acre subdivision lies immediately to the east.

“This project maintains habitat values and prevents fragmentation of vital habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Larry Irwin, RMEF board member who lives nearby in the Bitterroot Valley. “It also enhances recreation activity in the popular Bass Creek area and prevents the conversion of a non-motorized trail into a permanent vehicle route.”

A bank previously foreclosed on the land with the intent of selling it on the private market. If that happened, the Bitterroot National Forest could have been obligated to grant permanent access via the establishment of a motorized road through the property. Instead, RMEF and its partners worked together to purchase the land and convey it to the Bitterroot National Forest, thereby placing it in the public’s hands.

“This is a tremendous accomplishment for the Forest Service, our partners, and most of all, public land users,” said Tami Sabol, Stevensville District ranger. “The close proximity of the Bass Creek Recreation Area to Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley make it one of the most popular areas on the Bitterroot National Forest, providing a quality ‘backyard community’ recreation experience.”  Sabol also emphasized “this purchase consolidates existing federal ownership and provides connectivity across the Bass Creek, Larry Creek, and Sweeney Creek watersheds, which is a fantastic benefit for wildlife.”

The property is important winter range for elk and mule deer and is also home to whitetail deer, turkey and other bird and mammal life.

The BCRA is used by approximately 60,000 people each year for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking and other recreational pursuits. The acquisition provides improved access to adjacent public land and to Sweeney Creek.

“Farmers State Bank is so excited to partner with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Forest Service to provide a new outdoor recreational area in the Bitterroot Valley. Working with the RMEF and Forest Service to bring this project to fruition is a great example of community involvement and is one of the many reasons Farmers State Bank is proud to call Western Montana home,” said Kay Clevidence, Farmers State Bank president.

Funding for the project came from the Land and Water Conservation Fund Priority Recreational Access program, Montana Fish and Wildlife Conservation Trust, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s Torstenson Family Endowment, National Wild Turkey Federation, Mule Deer Foundation, Bitterroot Backcountry Horsemen and Farmers State Bank.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.orgelknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

Newberg, Jacobsen Launch Elk Talk Podcast

elk talk

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Simply stated, it is all-elk, all-the-time. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is proud to present Randy Newberg and Corey Jacobsen’s Elk Talk Podcast.

“All my media platforms have one goal – lower the hurdles for those wanting to hunt our public lands,” said Newberg. “This podcast will be informational content to do just that; inform, inspire and hopefully provide a few laughs along the way.”

“To be able to work with Randy and focus on a subject we’re both incredibly passionate about – and to bring others along on the experience through the platform of a podcast – is going to be awesome!” said Jacobsen.

Newberg is host of Fresh Tracks and the popular Elk Talk video series. Jacobsen owns elk101.com and is the 9-time and reigning world elk calling champion.

Elk Talk Podcast will focus on all things elk including elk calling, hunting and biology as well as conservation. It will also feature tips, hints, lessons learned and valuable insights from two hunters who focus on elk year-round.

“Randy and Corey are among America’s premiere elk hunters. They have a wealth of experience that will benefit both the bow hunter and the rifle hunter,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “RMEF is excited to support this podcast and we look forward to following their pursuits.”

Recorded at RMEF headquarters and other locations, the podcast debuted on July 6. Go here to listen to its first edition.

Elk Talk Podcast is available on Stitcher, iTunes, Google Play, elktalkpodcast.com and on Instagram @ElkTalkPodcast.

Presented by RMEF, other Elk Talk Podcast sponsors include Gerber Gear, goHUNT.com, onX Hunt, Rocky Mountain Hunting Calls and Sitka.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.orgelknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

RMEF Team Elk Returns

Team Elk

MISSOULA, Mont.—Heart-pumping elk hunts and tales of conservation success highlight the eighth season of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s award-winning television show, RMEF Team Elk, presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabelas’s.

Team Elk captures the essence of up-close, adrenaline-filled encounters with elk as well as the beauty of the backcountry,” said Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of Marketing. “We are excited to unveil another season as we highlight how Hunting is Conservation.”

Season eight of RMEF Team Elk begins the week of July 2. It airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. Additional weekly airings include Mondays at 3 a.m., Tuesdays at 5:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 9:30 a.m. (all times MT) on Outdoor Channel.

Hosted by Brandon Bates, highlighted episodes feature an elk migration scientist and the conservation director of one of the nation’s largest outdoor retailers talking conservation and chasing elk in New Mexico, a father-son duo from Wisconsin hunting elk in Montana using archery equipment they build and two participants of the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program in Colorado on their first-ever elk hunt, among others.

Presented by Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s, additional sponsors include Browning, Browning Ammunition, Buck Knives, Danner, Eberlestock, Mathews, PEAK BlueDEF, Sitka, Wildgame Innovations, Yeti and Zeiss, with special thanks to ALPS OutdoorZ, Bog-Pod and Yamaha.

“We are grateful for our conservation partners who value hunting and support RMEF’s conservation mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” added Decker.

You can watch the first six seasons of RMEF Team Elk online anytime for free on the Elk Network.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.orgelknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

Elk Habitat Protected, Hunting Access Improved in Colorado

 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont.—Thanks to a conservation-minded landowner and a key state funding program, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation joined Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to permanently protect 2,677 acres of vital elk habitat in northwest Colorado.

“We are grateful to Rick Tingle, a RMEF life member, for placing a conservation easement on his Louisiana Purchase Ranch,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Additionally, this project highlights the critical need for the Colorado Wildlife Habitat Program (CWHP) and its Habitat Stamp which supplied important funding to help push things through to the finish line.”

“With a fast-growing human population, it is more important than ever before to ensure the state’s wildlife has the habitat it needs to survive in perpetuity,” said Bill de Vergie, CPW area wildlife manager. “Thanks to funds provided by Great Outdoors Colorado and CPW’s Habitat Stamp Program, a very valuable stretch of land is now protected through the CWHP. Some limited public hunting access will also be provided so the benefits of this easement will pay dividends well into the future.”

CWHP provides a means for CPW to work with private landowners, local governments, and conservation organizations to protect important fish and wildlife habitat and provide places for people to enjoy opportunities to hunt and fish.

Since the ranch is bordered on three sides by State Land Board and Bureau of Land Management land in a part of the state home to Colorado’s largest elk herds, it provides connectivity for elk and mule deer migration. Thousands of elk pass through the area during the spring and fall. The property also provides summer and winter range for both species and other wildlife.

“This truly is a special place,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO, who has visited the location. “We are grateful to the Tingle family for recognizing and helping us protect the wildlife values of this land.”

Access is improved to surrounding public lands because the landowner will provide perpetual unlimited permission to public hunters for a 25-day period each year with drive-through access. In addition, he signed off on a 10-year CPW agreement to provide access for six elk and/or deer hunters on lands off County Road 23 during a three-day window during Colorado’s third rifle season.

Since 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 726 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Colorado with a combined value of more than $165.2 million. These projects protected or enhanced 447,910 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 107,992 acres.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org,www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

RMEF Conserves Wisconsin Elk Habitat


From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation permanently protected key elk habitat in Wisconsin elk country by first acquiring and then conveying a 360-acre inholding to Jackson County Forest.
“This is a crucial transaction because it prevents the potential of development and fragmentation within an area that is vital to Wisconsin’s newest elk herd,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “It also both improves and increases public access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.”

The Morrison Creek property is surrounded on three sides by the 122,000-acre Jackson County Forest and is located less than three miles east from where more than 70 elk were released in 2015-2016. The area also provides year-round habitat for black bear, whitetail deer, wild turkey and an array of other wildlife species.

The acquisition opens the door for improved wildlife management practices as well as habitat stewardship work designed to promote early seral habitat for elk and other wildlife.

RMEF previously supplied funding for a nearby grassland enhancement project to increase meadow habitat.

Snipe Lake II Project
RMEF also purchased an 80-acre private inholding within the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest. The transaction, which builds on a prior acquisition in Wisconsin’s northern elk restoration area, permanently protects key elk habitat and is critical to future forest management efforts.

Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 455 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Wisconsin with a combined value of more than $8.5 million. These projects protected or enhanced 5,848 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 1,630 acres.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.3 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org,www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

RMEF Soars to 9th Straight Year of Record Membership

 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—Riding a wave of conservation success, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation enters 2018 with 227,650 members, marking its ninth consecutive year of record membership growth.

“This continual sustained growth is a reflection of our on-the-ground conservation mission and improved advocacy and outreach efforts,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are grateful to our members, volunteers, partners and sportsmen and women who are so supportive.”

This new tally marks a 50 percent increase in membership since 2008 and a 2.4 percent increase from a year ago.

Among its 2017 highlights, RMEF erased all long-term debt and remains debt-free for the first time in its 33-plus years. It also launched the Elk Network, a new online digital outreach tool focusing on all things elk and elk hunting. Additionally, RMEF assisted with ongoing elk restoration efforts in Wisconsin and reaffirmed its support of America’s public lands. It also bestowed its highest conservation honor on its 11,000-plus volunteers for their dedicated efforts in boosting RMEF’s mission.

“While we value and appreciate this record growth trend, RMEF vows to do all we can to increase and accelerate our conservation mission of ensuring the future elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage,” added Allen.

Since 1984, RMEF and its partners completed more than 11,000 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects with a combined value of more than $1.1 billion. These projects protected or enhanced 7.2 million acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 1.2 million acres.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 227,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.2 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org,www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

Public Access Dispute Solved in Central Oregon

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—The public will continue to have access to 43,000 acres of central Oregon’s prime elk country thanks to a group effort including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Bureau of Land Management, Crook County, Oregon Hunters Association (OHA) and the Waibel Ranches, LLC.

“We are pleased that all parties could come together to provide continued access to a part of Oregon revered by elk hunters and others,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “Opening or improving access to our public lands lies at the core of our conservation mission. We hear time and time again from our members how important it is that we carry out this public access work.”

At issue was what was thought to be a public road through private land south of Prineville in the Crooked River drainage that provided access to the southern end of Ochoco National Forest. RMEF provided title work and research that showed continuous public use of the road since the late 1800s.

Waibel Ranches, LLC facilitated the construction of the new road at their own expense and at their own initiative. They did so in order to provide access to the same public lands as a means to reduce the liability, trespass, poaching and littering associated with public travel along the old Teaters Road.

“It’s great to have a partner like RMEF to help find solutions to public land access issues,” said Dennis Teitzel, Prineville BLM district manager.

“This project provides access for hunters and all others that could have been lost without the cooperation and efforts of several organizations. The landowners should be thanked for their willingness to work to solve a problem for the benefit for all,” said Richard Nelson, OHA Bend Chapter past president. “It shows what can be accomplished when all work on a solution instead of locking in to an adversary position.”

Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 875 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $57.4 million. These projects protected or enhanced 793,317 acres of habitat and opened or secured public access to 90,073 acres.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org,www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

2018 RMEF Elk Camp Heads to Arizona

 

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is heading to the sunny Southwest to hold its 2018 Elk Camp March 15-18 in Chandler, Arizona.

“There is nothing like the energy and enthusiasm generated by our members and volunteers at Elk Camp,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “We are excited to get together in Arizona to celebrate our conservation mission and milestones.”

As of July 1, 2017, RMEF has conserved or enhanced more than 7.14 million acres of elk habitat and opened or improved access to 1.15 million acres for hunters, anglers, hikers and others to enjoy. RMEF recently eliminated alllong-term debt for the first time in its 33-year history and is also riding eight consecutive years of record membership growth.

The Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass will host 2018 Elk Camp. As in past gatherings, RMEF will celebrate its accomplishments during Volunteer Fun Night as well as two other nightly events including auctions. Elk Camp will also offer various “Taste of Arizona” events including a desert jeep tour, an excursion to historic downtown Scottsdale and Major League Baseball spring training games (schedules/locations yet to be announced by MLB teams). In addition, attendees may play nearby championship golf courses and take part in other on-site activities such as boating, horseback riding or sitting down at Arizona’s only five-star restaurant.

RMEF will announce its world class entertainment performers and other information in the near future.

Full registration is now open and available here.

RMEF held its 2017 national convention in Nashville, Tennessee.

Current Elk Camp 2018 sponsors include ALPS OutdoorZ, Browning, Sitka, US Bank and BMO Wealth Management.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org,www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

Elk Habitat Protected in Wyoming

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

MISSOULA, Mont.—The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and Natural Resources Conservation Service worked with a private landowner to permanently protect 2,132 acres of wildlife habitat in southeast Wyoming.

“This conservation easement maintains large-scale habitat connectivity in a portion of Wyoming that benefits a wide range of wildlife including elk, mule deer, turkey and plains sharp-tailed grouse,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.

“Through partnerships between the NRCS, private landowners, and lands trusts such as the RMEF, conservation through easements will continue into perpetuity, allowing future generations the opportunity to enjoy open spaces and wildlife,” said Astrid Martinez, state conservationist, NRCS Wyoming.

The landscape features native rangeland, sage brush steppe, several springs and stands of Ponderosa pine, cottonwood and box elder. That habitat translates into vital year-round and winter range for up to 500 elk.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, Wyoming Governors Big Game License Coalition, Wyoming Game and Fish and RMEF’s Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) provided funding for the project.

“We are grateful to landowners like these who understand the importance of their property’s habitat resource values while carefully managing their land and water for wildlife and livestock alike,” added Henning.

This conservation easement shares three linear miles of its southern border with the 2013 RMEF Cottonwood Creek project that permanently protects 3,329 acres of elk habitat and buffers nearby Bureau of Land Management and Wyoming state lands.

RMEF uses TFE funding solely to further its core mission programs of permanent land protection, habitat stewardship, elk restoration and hunting heritage.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:
Founded over 30 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 222,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.1 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage. Discover why “Hunting Is Conservation™” at www.rmef.org,www.elknetwork.com or 800-CALL ELK.

Video: Bowhunting Bull Elk in New Mexico


A new video from the The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation follows a bowhunter as he looks for elk in New Mexico.

From The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

“Follow along on our 2017 In Season hunt with first time elk hunter Cooper Davis as he begins to learn about the progression of the rut and finding a mature bull.”

To check out more from The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, click here.