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A Banquet for Elk Support

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Does mingling with elk hunters and people who care about elk habitat sound like a fun event? How about if you throw in a chance to win 11 different guns? If that doesn’t pique your interest, would a fine meal cooked by Jim Lippi and his crew from Ivano’s Ristorante get you interested? Come on out to the Selkirk Crest’s Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet (RMEF) on April 20 at the Bonner County Fairgrounds and support elk and their habitat.

If you have never been to an RMEF banquet, this is the year to go, there are some great deals on raffle tickets. It’s truly a blast with many chances to take home some loot with live and silent auctions; in addition there are a handful of games to play with a chance to win rifles, shotguns, and a few handguns. Plus it’s an opportunity to share elk hunting stories and be around folks who enjoy not only being in the outdoors, but also ensuring that elk habitat is not only preserved, but enhanced.

If you are interested in going you can purchase tickets online at the RMEF website rmef.org. Or you can call Jade Smith at 208-255-4320. I’ll be there and you better be there as well. Bring the family, bring the kids, it will be a good time for all.

How does the RMEF help elk? There are three main tools the RMEF uses: land protections, habitat stewardship, and elk restoration.  The RMEF, through land protection, permanently protects crucial elk winter and summer ranges, migration corridors, calving grounds and other vital areas. RMEF’s land conservation tools include: acquisitions, conservation easements, land and real estate donations, land exchanges and associated acres. So if you have land that you would like to preserve for the future of wildlife, contact the RMEF and inquire about their land protection tools. Healthy habitat, or habitat stewardship is essential for healthy elk and other wildlife.

The RMEF helps fund and conduct a variety of projects to improve essential forage, water, cover and space components of wildlife habitat, and supports research and management efforts to help maintain productive elk herds and habitat. And finally, RMEF works to reestablish elk herds, through elk restoration or reintroduction, in historic ranges where the habitat and human cultural tolerance create a high potential for self-sustaining herds.

The RMEF has a rich history and like all good organizations it was a grassroots movement that was started in Libby, Mont. by some dedicated hunters and conservationists.  In 1984, Bob Munson, Dan Bull, Bill Munson, and Charlie Decker, four hunters from Northwest Montana recognized a handful of organizations doing great work for species like ducks, turkeys and upland birds.  They also recognized there was no group dedicated to North America’s grandest big game animal, elk.  In May of that year, they pooled their time, talent and resources and created the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, an organization dedicated to elk, elk hunting and the habitat they need to thrive.

The RMEF hit the ground running. In April 1985, they held their first convention in Spokane, Washington. They also funded the first RMEF habitat project that year; a grant to help fund a prescribed burn in a place fittingly named Elk Creek on the Kootenai National Forest near Libby.  In 1988, RMEF facilitated their first land acquisition, the 16,440-acre Robb Creek property in Montana and received the first large endorsement from the corporate community. At the annual convention that year, Ray Goff, former RMEF board member and vice president of Anheuser-Busch, announced a $500,000 gift from the company. That gift helped kick off the incredible growth and conservation we see today. 

The RMEF has grown to over 196,000 members whose support has protected and enhanced more than 6.2 millions of acres of North American wildlife habitat. Hundreds of thousands of these acres were completely off-limits to the public. They are now open for all to hunt, fish, and otherwise enjoy. RMEF employs more than 120 people and boasts more than 10,000 volunteers working through 500 chapters across the United States.

We should always question non-profits about their efficiency and transparency before we donate our money and time. The RMEF is rated as a 4 star organization by the Charity Navigator (charitynavigator.org) America’s leading independent charity evaluator. RMEF puts 90 percent of the fundraised money back on the ground for wildlife habitat with only 2 percent going into raising more money and the other 8 percent of the money to administration.

I hope I have interested you in attending the banquet and more importantly helping elk and the habitat of many critters by becoming a member of the RMEF.
Just a reminder that the bears are rubbing the sleep out their eyes and are very HUNGRY!  If you want to invite the bears to your property for a meal and have them stick around until they irritate the crap out of you then please, by all means, leave your bird feeders up all summer, leave dog food on the porch, scatter the chicken feed throughout the yard, and leave two months of garbage stacked up near the house.

Leave No Child Inside ... and bring them to the RMEF banquet.

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Author info

Matt Haag Matt Haag is an Idaho Fish and Game Conservation Officer.

Tagged as:

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Game Trail

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