Tip Leads to Multiple Poaching Convictions


Below is a news release from the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. For 2022, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

Thanks to a tip from a local resident and the efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies, three individuals have been convicted on a total of 20 charges related to the illegal killing of elk on the Cross D Ranch near Mayhill, New Mexico.

Otero County residents Alix Miller, Kasen Flotte and Jenna Livers were convicted on charges of felony waste of game, unlawful killing of elk out of season, conspiracy to commit unlawful taking of big game and tampering with evidence. A confidential informant notified Department of Game and Fish Conservation Officer Kurt Felix in July 2019 about Miller’s illegal killing of elk. Department conservation officers and Otero County Sheriff’s Office deputies had already begun their investigation when other reports came in about Miller using his dogs to attack and hold down bull elk, so he could approach to shoot and kill the elk. It is unlawful to use dogs to hunt or pursue elk, deer, pronghorn or turkey.

“It is great how one tip can turn into a much larger case that was such an egregious poaching case by multiple people,” Officer Felix said. “Modern poaching is rarely about feeding a family, and it should not be confused with hunting. Hunting is a legal activity, and poaching is a crime. Wildlife population estimates determine the number of licenses for legal take, which helps manage specific populations. Poachers are stealing from all residents of New Mexico when they commit these crimes.”

During the investigation, Flotte, Livers and Miller were captured on video commanding their dogs to chase and injure a bull elk in March 2019. The dogs held the elk down and then the individuals approached and shot the elk multiple times with .22-rimfire caliber firearms, eventually killing the animal. This occurred outside of the legal elk hunting season and neither Flotte, Livers nor Miller had elk hunting licenses. Intentionally having dogs attack wildlife and shooting an elk with a caliber as small as a .22-rimfire are both illegal. In addition, all of the elk meat was left to rot, which is a felony offense. Subsequent reports corroborated that two additional bull elk and one mule deer buck suffered the same fate at the hands of these individuals.

Charges were filed after months of investigation by Department conservation officers, the Otero County Sheriff’s Office and the 12th Judicial District Attorney’s Office. Collectively, Miller, Flotte and Livers were charged with seven misdemeanor game and fish violations and 10 fourth-degree felonies, including waste of game, conspiracy to commit a felony and tampering with evidence. Miller received four years and six months of supervised probation and an $825 fine. Flotte was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and a $565 fine. Livers received three years of supervised probation.

During the April 2022 State Game Commission meeting, commissioners unanimously approved a motion to extend the recommended revocation period for Miller and Flotte from seven years to 10 years each. This revocation is also reciprocated by the 48 Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact member states, which means they cannot hold a hunting, fishing or trapping license for the next 10 years in 48 states. Livers’ license privileges were revoked for five years for her role in the crimes, although she has never held a hunting license in New Mexico.

If you suspect a wildlife crime has taken place, you can contact your local conservation officer or a New Mexico Department of Game and Fish office. You may also report it anonymously to Operation Game Thief (OGT) via its 24-hour toll-free hotline, (800) 432-GAME (4263), or web submission at wildlife.state.nm.us/ogt. Rewards are available for information provided through OGT that leads to charges being filed.

(Photo credit: New Mexico Department of Game and Fish)

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Landmark Conservation Program Marks Second Anniversary of Full Funding


Looking back, it remains one of the most significant conservation outcomes in the history of this nation. Looking ahead, the funding generated by the program will be used to conserve landscapes and open public access to them across the nation.

Two years ago on August 4, 2020, President Trump signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. That action cemented decades of frustratingly unsuccessful efforts to finally, fully and permanently, appropriate $900 million annually for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation played an intimate and key role in getting LWCF across the finish line. In March 2020, Senators Steve Daines (R-Montana) and Cory Gardner (R-Colorado) secured a meeting with President Trump and several staffers in Washington D.C. Daines and then reached out to RMEF to acquire high-quality maps, photos and other details about its Falls Creek project, which permanently protected 442 acres of wildlife and riparian habitat along Montana’s Rocky Mountain Front and greatly improved access to 27,000 acres of public land beyond.

“This is a landmark accomplishment and a tremendous victory for conservation!” Kyle Weaver, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO, said at the time. “It simply cannot be overstated how vital this program is for our public lands, wildlife and outdoor recreation.”

First created in 1964, LWCF makes funding available to lawmakers to appropriate $900 million annually from federal offshore drilling fees for the conservation of important land, water and recreational areas for all Americans to enjoy.

“This program is absolutely crucial for elk, other wildlife and hunting access,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “LWCF further improves public access to public lands by directing federal agencies to open lands for hunting, fishing and recreational shooting unless specifically closed.”

“With that one act, the Land and Water Conservation Fund is forever guaranteed to be funded at least $900 million per year ensuring there are conservation and recreation projects in every state and in communities large and small,” said Lesley Kane Szynal, co-chair of the LWCF Coalition. “We look forward to building on this win and continuing the fight to conserve the outdoors that make our nation great and ensure equitable access to outdoor spaces for all Americans no matter where they live.”

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Volunteers Get to Work in Oregon Elk Country


Below is a post from the Oregon Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Facebook page.

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers from Oregon and Washington have been busy getting their boots dirty and helping enhance and improve elk country in NE Oregon.

In 2015, the Grizzly Bear Fire Complex in NE Oregon charred nearly 83,000 acres. As landscapes begin a natural recovery process after fire, Aspens often struggle because of the pressure from elk and other ungulates.

Recently, five RMEF volunteers from the Pendleton, OR chapter and two more from the Walla Walla, WA chapter, alongside four Umatilla National Forest Service staff, decided to make a weekend out of it and camped, swapped stories, food, and built 400-feet of buck and pole fencing around an Aspen stand in the burn area. This remote project location speaks volumes of the RMEF volunteers willingness to contribute valuable time and resources.

At the end of the weekend, this group declared mission accomplished with a tally of 77 hours by RMEF volunteers and 38 hours by Umatilla National Forest staff. In addition, everyone logged an additional 6 hours of travel time – 3 hours each way (of which 2 hours was slow travel via gravel Forest Service roads).

Awesome work team! Thank you for all you do for elk and other wildlife habitat.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Floaters Save the Day (and the Life) of an Elk Calf


It was meant to be a day of relaxation with friends in their kayaks. It evolved into a real-life rescue story and one that will remain with them the rest of their lives, especially for a young elk calf.

Friends gathered on the Smoky River with their watercrafts about 300 miles north and west of Edmonton in northwest Alberta. As they floated along, they noticed a calf on the edge of the river, but it was not moving. When they paddled to take a closer look, they could see why.

“He was pretty tired and super quiet,” Curtis Stewart told CTV News Edmonton. “When I first got out of my kayak, I sunk down just about to my hips in the mud. So, I could right away understand how stuck the little guy was.”

That’s when the team, which grew to seven people, sprang into action. They used their hands to dig deep into the mud, eventually freeing the elk and then carried it up the riverbank and placed it on the ground. Two of them hiked to that spot a few days later and saw no sign of the calf.

“We found lots of hoof prints around, so we’re hoping that the mom came and found it. We’re optimistic,” Stewart told CTV News Edmonton.

Go here to see a media report about the rescue.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation – not the calf mentioned above)

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Elk with Rare Disease Put Down in Canada


It was a disturbing sight. A fully grown female elk rocking its head back and forth unable to get up. In the end, wildlife officers euthanized it and sent its remains to a lab for examination. A wildlife veterinarian collaborated with a pathologist only to determine it died of clostridial disease, a bacterial disorder related to an absence of oxygen, usually found in the soil that is often fatal.

The incident happened in Canmore, a small town just outside Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.

“I can’t say it hasn’t been identified before (outside the park), but this is the first time in 22 years I’ve ever interacted with it,” Mark Hoskin, Alberta Fish and Wildlife officer, told MountainView Today.

Wildlife officials say it is rare to find the disease in elk but it can get into the bloodstream and cause all kinds of issues, including death.

MountainView Today reports there are several suspicious deaths in the Banff herd over the last two years.

(Photo credit: Banff National Park)

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2022 1st Quarter – More Evidence How Hunting Is Conservation


Once again, hunters and recreational shooters stepped up to support wildlife conservation.

According to a news release from the National Shooting Sports Foundation, firearm and ammunition manufacturers paid a record-setting $300,498,588.23 in the first quarter of 2022. That is the highest-ever collection of excise taxes for the first quarter of any year and brings the total contributions to Pittman-Robertson excise taxes to more than $15.3 billion since the establishment of the act in 1937.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has long maintained that Hunting Is Conservation, thanks to the taxes hunters paid on rifles, ammo and archery equipment. Funding generated from excise taxes on that equipment is then doled out to state wildlife agencies for conservation work, wildlife management, expanding public access and other projects.

Pittman-Robertson excise taxes are among very few taxes that remain in a government “lockbox.” In other words, they do not go into the general fund but are set apart specifically for wildlife conservation purposes.

In 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service distributed more than $1.5 billion to the states for conservation.

Hunters and recreational shooters support conservation when they buy their products and combined with the sale of hunting licenses, stamps and fees, makes hunters and recreational shooters the greatest contributor to wildlife conservation.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Work Underway on Wyoming Wildlife Underpass


Below is a news release from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supplied a letter of support for the Wyoming Department of Transporation’s federal grant application in 2019.

Construction continues on the first of nine highway underpasses in western Wyoming that will reduce the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions in an important wintering area for one of the more premiere mule deer herds in the west. The Dry Piney wildlife crossing project, led by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department and the Wyoming Department of Transportation, is slated to be complete by October of next year, with the first phase being finished this year.

This section of Highway 189 has one of the highest wildlife-vehicle collision rates in Wyoming; it goes through the Wyoming Range, which serves as crucial winter range for one of the largest mule deer herds in the west. WYDOT numbers show from 2018 to 2020 an average of 68 animal carcasses are picked up by maintenance crews.

The Dry Piney project will include nine underpasses and 16.7 miles of 8 ft.-high fencing on both sides of the highway to encourage big game, primarily mule deer and some pronghorn, to use the underpasses.

The cost of the project will be $15.1 million, supported by the federal BUILD grant, Wyoming Game and Fish Commission and Wyoming Transportation Commission. Other supporters include the public, Sublette County, conservation organizations, Wyoming Wildlife Natural Resources Trust fund, private donors and landowners.

Underpasses are a proven asset in reducing wildlife/vehicle collisions, increasing motorist safety, and preserving the wildlife resource. Seven underpasses and eight-foot-high game fencing along a 13.5 mile stretch of Highway 30 west of Kemmerer resulted in an 81% reduction in deer/vehicle collisions after three years.  Another project on Highway 191 near Pinedale with underpasses, fencing and two overpasses entirely eliminated pronghorn collisions after three years, and mule deer collisions dropped by 79%.

Game and Fish has identified 240 projects statewide to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. A living, online map depicting high collision sections of roads across Wyoming can be found on the Game and Fish website.

(Video source: Wyoming Game and Fish Department)

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The Best-Selling Weatherby Backcountry™ 2.0, Now Even Better


The all new 338 WBY RPM cartridge was built to take advantage of Weatherby’s smaller six-lug Mark V® action in the Backcountry™ 2.0 Ti.



The Backcountry™ 2.0 Ti chambered in Weatherby’s new 338 WBY RPM features a short 18”  barrel. It is the ultimate combination of balance, weight, and magnum performance, which is ideal for large game in the backcountry.

The Backcountry™ 2.0 Ti Carbon chambered in 338 WBY RPM takes the ultra-lightweight Backcountry rifles and features a 20” carbon fiber barrel at minimal weight increase, creating maximum big-bore performance in a 5 pound rifle. With the added advantages of stringing more shots with tighter grouping, the Backcountry™ 2.0 Ti Carbon is everything a hardcore hunter could want while also offering advantages for the guy who wants to hit the range with less cooling time between shots.

Learn more about the Weatherby Backcountry™  2.0 Ti Carbon here.

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Hunting Season Is Almost Here, Save 22% on Swagger


No matter the game you are chasing, you need the right tool to help you take a steady shot, in any terrain. Use the Code Swagger22 for 22% off at SwaggerBipods.com

What makes Swagger different from your run-of-the-mill shooting stick or conventional bipod? Josh Kinser goes through how you can move through the shooting positions (from prone to kneeling) with one product that does the job of 2 or more shooting sticks/bipods. Josh also reviews care, cleaning and maintenance for your Swagger Hunter29 or Hunter42.

Swagger’s Stalker QD42 is the most versatile hunting bipods on the market. One of the primary features of the Stalker QD is its Quick Detach functionality.

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Sako Powerhead Blade Ammo – Shaping the Future of Lead-Free Bullets


The future of hunting is now! Sako has developed the new lead-free Powerhead Blade bullet to meet the needs of the most demanding lead-free hunters. With its Blade Tip, 100% pure ductile copper, and 5-Stage terminal architecture, Sako’s Powerhead Blade ammunition offers excellent performance on different shooting ranges and various sizes of game. This Monolithic series bullet offers high penetration capabilities and good durability with a maximal weight retention.

Since 1928, Sako Cartridges has strived to maintain the same uncompromising combination of performance & craftsmanship found in their rifles. Utilizing the latest computer-aided R&D and CNC manufacturing methods, each case goes through a series of automatic and manual inspections to ensure the high-quality cases become the most accurate and consistent cartridges available to the modern shooter.

In addition, due to a proprietary heat treatment method and zero impurities of the case material, Sako cartridges have the industry’s highest reloadability and pressure resistance, maximizing the lifespan and safety of any rifle.

Optimized for big game hunting, the new lead-free Powerhead Blade was developed to meet the needs of the most demanding hunters. The ideal choice for hunters who prefer lead-free alternatives and want to minimize meat loss, the one advantage of monolithic bullets is their high strength which translates into near 100% weight retention. The Powerhead series offers market-leading lead-free terminal performance and exceptional capability to expand dependably in different situations and hit velocities. The terminal Blade Tip, together with its 5-stage bullet expansion architecture, expands the Sako Powerhead Blade bullet even at the lowest impact velocities (long ranges) while also ensuring high resistance against bone hits and close-range shooting situations.

Consumers can now purchase Sako Powerhead Blade ammunition in 6.5 Creedmoor, .300 Win Mag, .30-06 SPRG, 7 mm Rem Mag, and .308 Win calibers at select Sako dealer locations across the United States.

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