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Yellowstone Elk Numbers Trending Downward

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Wildlife officials counted a combined 5,800 elk inside and north of Yellowstone National Park during population survey flights that took place in March 2019. That total marks a 23 percent decrease from counts recorded in both 2018 and 2016. Of particular concern are the cow-calf ratios which are lower than recent surveys and long-term averages. The 2019 count marks the second consecutive year the ratio is below the threshold of 20 calves per 100 cows …

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Tex Creek Idaho – onX Hunt Public Access Project

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Putting a puzzle together takes both patience and persistence. When your puzzle is a wild landscape, it also takes partnerships and vision. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with conservation-minded landowners, the Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho department of Fish and Game to piece together four sections of elk habitat in southeast Idaho. Beginning in 1997 and wrapping up in 2016, RMEF helped carry out four different project phases that transferred 3,250 …

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RMEF-Funded Burn to Benefit North Carolina Elk Habitat

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The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding for a prescribed burn in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The 284-acre treatment takes place in the Little Cataloochee area. “One of the goals of the prescribed burn project is to improve elk forage and habitat,” Tom Edwards, burn specialist, told the Citizen Times. RMEF helped with the successful restoration of elk into the region in 2001. Specifically, the goal is to increase the production of native …

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Volunteers Contribute $24 Million in Value to RMEF Mission

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MISSOULA, Mont.—How valuable are volunteers for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation? In 2018, the value of their donated time and labor equates to $24.1 million. “The monetary value of $24.1 million in time and labor is staggeringly impressive, but honestly what our volunteers do for RMEF’s mission is truly priceless,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “A number does not do them justice in regard to the time and effort they put forth or …

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Grizzly Bears are Out of Their Dens

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It’s a sure sign of spring when grizzly bears emerge from their dens on the Rocky Mountain Front. Mike Madel, bear management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks in Choteau, flew over the Front April 2, 2019, and located eight grizzlies with radio collars and saw five other non-collared bears. “The collars turn on April 1,” Madel said. “So, it’s a good time to fly on the Front and try to locate them.” Most …

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New Mexico Burn a Good Thing for Elk, Other Wildlife

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A prescribed burn for the Gila National Forest in western New Mexico benefits habitat for wildlife. Funded in part by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the project covers 4,100 acres in the Quemado Ranger District. Firefighters use a five-day window to ignite ponderosa pine, other mixed conifers and grasses. According to New Mexico fire officials, prescribed fires are one of the most effective tools available to resource managers for restoring fire-adapted ecosystems. The fires mimic …

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Kentucky Elk Arrive in Wisconsin

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Forty-eight Kentucky elk made the 14-hour overnight ride from Kentucky and arrived at their new home in the Flambeau River State Forest in Sawyer County. Once released into the wild, these animals will join more than 200 elk that make up Wisconsin’s northern elk herd that resides in Ashland, Bayfield, Price, Rusk and Sawyer counties. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation provided funding and on-the-ground manpower to assist with the effort. According to the Milwaukee Journal …

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Deer Stuck in Fence, Rescued by Firefighters

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A woman who lives in central California was mortified when she saw a deer stuck in and dangling from a neighbor’s metal fence. It happened in Lodi, a small community about 35 miles south of Sacramento. “It was thrashing around so at this point I called 9-1-1,” Rhonda Perry Parker, nearby neighbor, told KOVR-TV. “I was scared it was going to lose its life,” she added. After two calls to 9-1-1, firefighters arrived, and received …

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Wyoming a Popular Place for Elk Hunters

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Hunters seeking a western adventure continue to choose Wyoming to pursue elk. The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) saw an increase in non-resident elk applications for the 2019 season. Nonresidents submitted 23,750 applications, a 2.9 percent increase from 2018. “Anyone who hunts in Wyoming knows the experience is unlike anywhere else in the country because of the quality of wildlife, our hunting access programs, large tracts of public land and the spectacular views,” said …

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Utah DWR Announces Proposals for 2019 Big Game Hunts

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Utah Division of Wildlife Resources biologists released their recommendations for the 2019 big game hunts and are asking for the public’s feedback. DWR big game coordinator Covy Jones said that the recommended number of hunting permits each year is based on a few factors. “There is always an opportunity vs. quality debate when it comes to managing wildlife, but for us, biology and the health of the herd always come first. As a result, plans …

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Idaho Seeks to Improve Public Access

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The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is soliciting bids from landowners within the Upper Snake Region that are interested in enrolling their land in the Access Yes! program. Access Yes! is a program designed to improve public access to private land as well as access through private land onto public land by compensating willing landowners who provide access. Bids for the upcoming fiscal year will be accepted until April 30, 2019, and reviewed by …

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Hunting, Fishing Generate $1 Billion in Conservation Funding

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How is it that Hunting Is Conservation? Here’s a pretty good example. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) distributed more than $1 billion to all 50 states and U.S. territories. The funds are generated through excise taxes on hunting, shooting and fishing equipment and boat fuel. Authorized by Congress through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and Dingell-Johnson/Wallop-Breaux Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act, these dollars support critical state conservation and …

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Elk Poached in Idaho

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Authorities need your help finding the person(s) responsible for illegally killing a bull elk in east-central Idaho. It happened four months after the end of hunting season off the road on the East Fork of Tower Creek north of Salmon. “Based on the condition of the carcass, the elk was likely shot sometime during the week of March 18th,” said Matt Sheppard, Idaho Department of Fish and Game conservation officer. “Someone in addition to the …

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Nebraska Elk Country Conserved, Permanently Protected

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MISSOULA, Mont.—More than 3,600 acres of wildlife habitat is now permanently protected thanks to a series of conservation easements placed on private land by the Nebraska Land Trust (NLT) with important funding provided by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “We are grateful for our NLT partners for spearheading this vital conservation work,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “We also appreciate landowners who recognized the value of the habitat on their land and then …