Roosevelt Bull Elk Poached in Northwest Oregon

Below is a news release from Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division. For 2023-2025, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching.

The Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division is asking for the public’s help to identify a person of interest related to a Roosevelt bull elk that was unlawfully taken and left to waste sometime between 5 p.m. on Nov. 28, 2023, and 7 a.m. on Nov. 29, 2023. The large bull elk was left to waste on Dutch Canyon Road near Scappoose (about 20 miles northwest of downtown Portland) with no effort to remove any meat. This bull was well known and considered to be part of the Miller Herd.

Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact Sr. Trooper Scott Bernardi through the Turn in Poachers (TIP) hotline at 1-800-452-7888 or *OSP (mobile) or contact Sr. Trooper Bernardi at (503) 410-4165 or

(Photo credit: Oregon State Police Fish & Wildlife Division)

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Nevada Wildlife Habitat Gets $1.3 Million Upgrade

(Photo credit: Susan Summer Elliott)

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its conservation partners supplied $1,303,059 to improve habitat for elk, mule deer and other wildlife across Nevada as well as support youth hunting heritage and outdoor recreation efforts.

RMEF supplied $239,102 that leveraged $1,063,957 in partner funding.

“Two of the bigger challenges facing elk and other species in Nevada are a lack of water and expanding pinyon and junipers that crowd out sagebrush and other forage,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “This grant funding helps address those issues while also helping to restore a landscape impacted by wildfire.”

Nevada is home to 12 RMEF chapters and nearly 3,500 members.

“We would not have this grant funding if not for RMEF volunteers who plan and host fundraising banquets. To them, we say, ‘Thank you,’” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.

Dating back to 1988, RMEF and its partners completed 295 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Nevada with a combined value of more than $29.9 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 475,137 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 56,361 acres.

Below is the complete list of the 2023-funded projects.

Carson City

  • Provide funding for the Carson City Hot Shots, a clay target recreational shooting squad for participants in grades 12 and under that learn about safe firearm handling, wildlife habitat, conservation and sportsmanship in a competitive atmosphere (also benefits Douglas, Lyon, Storey and Washoe Counties).

Churchill County

  • Supply funding for the Lahontan Valley Claybreakers, a trap shooting team for participants in elementary school through college with an emphasis on fair play, individual responsibility, personal commitment and sportsmanship (also benefits Lyon County).

Douglas County

  • Provide funding support for 4-H archery in the greater Carson Valley area to replace old targets and help grow the program (also benefits Carson City and Lyon County).

Elko County

  • Plant upwards of 74,000 antelope bitterbrush seedlings to restore wildlife habitat across 1,000 acres burned by the 2022 Wildcat Wildfire. The land in the Jarbidge Ranger District of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest serves as summer and transitional elk habitat, year-round range for pronghorn antelope and is part of a mule deer migration corridor. The work is in line with RMEF’s commitment to wildfire restoration.
  • Provide funding to replace old fencing with wildlife-friendly fencing on the Ruby Lake National Wildlife Refuge as well as funding and volunteer manpower to build a wildlife water guzzler on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Bristlecone Field Office in the Butte Mountains (also benefits White Pine County).

Humboldt County

  • Supply funding for the Nevada Outdoor School Youth Camps, gatherings that teach attendees outdoor skills and ethics, conservation and habitat management (also benefits Elko, Eureka, Lander, Pershing, Washoe and White Pine Counties).

White Pine County

  • Selectively remove encroaching pinyon-juniper across 4,418 acres of sagebrush and mountain brush habitat managed by the BLM Bristlecone Field Office near Baker. Combined with aerial seeding, the project benefits elk, mule deer, sage grouse, other wildlife and livestock.
  • Remove juniper and pinyon encroaching on springs to increase water flow and improve riparian habitat on 100 acres managed by the BLM Caliente Field Office. The land is year-round and crucial summer elk habitat. It also supplies elk calving habitat.
  • Build a new and/or rebuild an existing wildlife water guzzler to increase storage capacity to 10,000 gallons to benefit wildlife on BLM Bristlecone Field Office land. The project also includes fencing to keep livestock away from the guzzler.
  • Provide funding for the Nevada Society for Range Management’s Nevada Youth Range Camp. High school-aged participants learn about rangelands and natural resource management and conservation.


  • Co-sponsor the Nevada Mule Deer Enhancement Summit, a gathering focusing on mule deer conservation efforts.

Project partners include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Nevada Department of Wildlife, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and various hunting, conservation, business and civic organizations.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded more than 39 years ago and fueled by hunters, RMEF maintains more than 225,000 members and has conserved more than 8.7 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 or 800-CALL ELK.

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Wildlife Reaps Benefits as Pierce Refuge Gains Ground on Noxious Weeds

Below is a news release from Skamania County, Washington.

At the Pierce National Wildlife Refuge in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, the Skamania County Noxious Weed Program has partnered with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Gorge Refuge Stewards and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation on a large-scale, habitat enhancement project for all the wildlife that call the refuge home. Elk, deer, bear, bobcat, Western Pond turtle, purple martens, egrets, herons, chum salmon, and many others are benefiting from the improvements made by noxious weed removal.

Complaints about Canada thistle on the refuge fields from adjacent neighbors sparked the initiative to commence the task of improving forage conditions in the fields once managed for hay production when the land was operated as Pierce Ranch. Funding was sought and awarded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to remove noxious weeds that will improve forage opportunities and clear travel corridors for wildlife.

While forage conditions of the former hay fields are being improved with ongoing thistle control, hundreds of acres of invasive Himalayan blackberry have been removed. Seas of blackberry make it impossible for wildlife to travel and crowd out diverse native plant life needed for a healthy ecosystem. Though this plant offers a nectar source for bees when in bloom, the negative effects of a monocultural system outweigh any short-lived benefit. Gorge refuge volunteers spent hundreds of hours cutting back blackberries and controlling other weeds. Skamania County followed up with herbicide treatment in the fall to maintain that work and give native trees and shrubs room to grow. In these areas, the addition of 400+ native trees and shrubs enriched wildlife forage and habitat for all species.

After removing the blackberry in the oak woodland setting, common camas (Camassia quamash) were released as more sunlight hit the forest floor. The years immediately following release saw an abundant flush of this treasured iconic flower and native first food source that had been buried in the darkness of blackberry for so long.

Pierce NWR was established in 1983 to provide habitat for waterfowl, particularly Canada geese. The habitats of the refuge include wetlands, grasslands, oak woodland forests, and streams. It is the mission of USFWS staff to study, restore, and monitor these habitats and species to ensure long term success. The refuge offers larger species like Roosevelt elk, black bear and threatened and endangered species such as chum salmon and northwestern pond turtles a place to thrive and recover. Therefore, human disturbance is kept to a minimum with no visitor access to this refuge.

The Gorge Refuge Stewards are champions for conservation of the National Wildlife Refuges in the Columbia Gorge and invite the public to join their volunteer program. The Gorge Refuge Stewards volunteer program offers many opportunities on and off the refuges that connect people with nature Skamania County Noxious Weed Program welcomes the opportunity to educate the public about the impact of noxious weeds and how best to control them. Please feel free to contact the SCNWP staff at 509-427-3940 or email

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Montana Prescribed Burn to Enhance Wildlife Habitat

Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation produced a short video about previous habitat stewardship work on the same landscape.

A 95-acre prescribed burn is planned for the Threemile Wildlife Management Area (WMA), located northeast of Stevensville in the Bitterroot Valley. The burn is expected to occur on Thursday, November 30 and residents and visitors should expect to see smoke periodically.

Prescribed fire is a short disturbance for long-term benefits of fuel reduction and wildlife habitat enhancement on the WMA, and this particular project was proposed as part of phase 2 of the Threemile WMA forest habitat work, approved by the Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2019.

Specific project objectives are focused on enhancing forage for big game wildlife, restoring open forest conditions dominated by ponderosa pine, and reducing fuel loading. The treatment is aimed at creating a condition that would allow fire to burn at a low severity appropriate for the habitat type, reduce susceptibility to bark beetle infestations, and promote aspen growth and regeneration.

The project is a cooperative effort between Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, the Bitterroot National Forest, and the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation. Funding for this habitat management work was provided by FWP and grants through the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Smoke from Threemile WMA will be visible from many places in the Bitterroot Valley, including from Highway 93. Precipitation is forecasted for the project area starting Friday, December 1, which is expected to minimize the duration of smoke from the project.

(Photo credit: Bitterroot National Forest)

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Initiated by Sportsmen, Idaho Approves Temporary Shed Hunting Closure

Below is a news release from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently set an antler gathering closure starting Jan. 1, 2024, and running through April 14, 2024, in the Upper Snake and Southeast Regions. The closure will only take place on public land, and activities other than antler hunting will not be affected.

The closure is intended to reduce stress on wintering big game herds, which suffered from the extremely harsh winter of 2022-23, and the closure is intended to help eastern Idaho mule deer herds recover quicker.

This is the first closure for antler hunting in Idaho since 2002. Earlier this year, the Idaho Legislature passed legislation that gave the Commission authority to seasonally restrict the possession, transportation and collection of shed antlers and horns, as well as antlers or horns from animals that died of natural causes.

The antler gathering closure for early 2024 only applies to antlers from white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk and moose.

Temporary antler hunting closure Q&A

Is this closure statewide?

No. It only applies to the Upper Snake and Southeast Regions.

What are the new restrictions related to possession and transportation of antlers?

New legislation resulted in the temporary restriction on searching for, locating, or gathering shed antlers from deer, elk and moose and antlers from deer, elk and moose that have died from natural causes between Jan. 1, 2024, and April 14, 2024, only in the Upper Snake Region and the Southeast Region.

The temporary closure includes caching, marking locations with GPS, and the use of unmanned aircraft systems to locate antlers.

Can a person be cited for ignoring the closure?

Yes, it can result in a misdemeanor citation.

Does this apply to private lands?

No, the law does not apply to a private landowner or his/her designee on land leased or owned by that person.

Why only restrict antler gathering when so many other activities can disturb wintering big game herds?

Fish and Game can only regulate fishing and hunting-based activities, not other activities that may occur on public lands. Those activities are within the authority of the agency that manages that public land.

Will this closure happen every year?

No. The intent is to protect wintering big game during or after extreme winters, and to help them recover faster. Future closures will depend on future winter conditions.

Are the closures supported by the public?

The legislation to regulate antler gathering was initiated by sportsmen and women wanting to protect wintering big game herds. Idaho Fish and Game hosted a public comment period prior to the Commission’s decision, and 1,913 people provided input regarding antler gathering closures:

69 percent supported the concept, (18 percent of those supported it with some concerns)

31 percent did not support it

Of those who supported antler gathering closures, 91 percent supported closures in both the Southeast and Upper Snake Regions.

(Photo credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

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Colorado to Survey 6,000 Elk Hunters about Over-the-Counter Elk License Regulations

As Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) wraps up its review of the current Big Game Season Structure, staff are reaching out to hunters about current over-the-counter (OTC) elk license regulations.

CPW will be emailing surveys to 6,000 elk hunters who received an elk license in Colorado in 2018 or 2022 to share their perspectives about issues such as whether or not to eliminate OTC elk licenses (currently unlimited in number for specific seasons), which has been a controversial issue for many years.

Following the Commission’s resident/nonresident license allocation rule, 75% of the sampled hunters will be residents and 25% will be nonresidents. To ensure that there is representation of perspectives based on hunting type, the survey will be sent to an equal number of archery and firearm elk hunters.

The survey will take place between November 2023 – January 2024. The results from this survey will be presented to the Parks and Wildlife Commission at its March 2024 meeting.

Survey respondents will be asked about their support or opposition to potential options for limiting OTC rifle and archery elk licenses. Hunters will also be asked about the influences impacting their responses and anticipated behavior changes based on various approaches to OTC limitation.

Additional Information
Visit our Big Game Season Structure Engage CPW webpage to read a detailed description of each OTC elk license limitation alternative currently under consideration and to find more information on the Big Game Season Structure process and ways to continue to be involved.

(Photo credit: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

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The Chase- An RMEF Film

Sierra Langbell, a professional photographer and hunter, fell into a dark place dominated by drugs after she was abandoned as a teenager by her mother. “The only thing that saved me was being outdoors,” said Sierra, who made a conscientious decision to clear her mind and forge a new direction. “I feel like when I walk in these mountains, it’s like I’m walking away from who I was destined to be.” Follow along as Sierra tries to fill her elk tag in northern New Mexico.

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Weatherby® Introduces New Mark V® High Country

The Mark V High Country builds on the popular Backcountry™ 2.0, offering an ultra-light hunting rifle that is easy to carry and deadly accurate.  The High Country features Peak 44™’s newest carbon fiber stock, the Bastion. Starting at just 24 oz, the Bastion is a vertical grip, carbon fiber stock that has dual front swivel studs for multiple attachments.  It’s 3D HEX® recoil pad greatly reduces felt recoil and paired with an Accubrake™ the High Country can tame even the biggest magnum calibers. All new Mark V’s utilize an adjustable TriggerTech trigger for a custom and crisp trigger pull.  The High Country sports a lightweight #2 barrel that is spiral-fluted to reduce weight and help aid in heat dispersion.  The spiral fluted bolt utilizes Weatherby’s historic 54-degree bolt throw for quick reloading. The High Country is finished with durable Cerakote® and a custom hand-painted sponge pattern. Mark V rifles are proudly built in the Weatherby Headquarters in Sheridan, Wyoming. MSRP $2,699

Learn more here


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RMEF: Put Northern Cascades Grizzly Restoration on Hold

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation urged the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to wait with plans to establish a grizzly bear population in the North Cascade Mountains of northwestern Washington until it makes a related ruling.  

In February 2023, USFWS initiated a comprehensive status review of the grizzly bear in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCE) and Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem based on the best available science to inform a 12-month finding. If those findings result in proposing one or more distinct population segments for delisting, it will change the context of the ongoing recovery for the rest of the population in the larger listed entity, including the NCE. 

As such, RMEF requested the USFWS waits for the results of that 12-month determination. 

“RMEF has long advocated for state management of grizzly bears, which is in line with RMEF’s support of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation, under which state management of wildlife along with the financial contributions from hunters has dramatically increased wildlife populations across the U.S. in the last 100 years. RMEF supports removal of grizzly bears from the ESA list, transferring its management to state wildlife agencies,” wrote Karie Decker, RMEF director of wildlife and habitat. 

After a series of public meetings, the U.S. Department of Interior announced in 2020 that it would not place grizzlies in the Northern Cascades. Several months later, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed suit seeking to forcibly introduce grizzlies. 

CBD also filed a 2019 lawsuit seeking to force grizzly bears into Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Specific locations mentioned include California’s Sierra Nevada, the Selway-Bitterroot in Idaho and Montana, and the Grand Canyon. 

(Photo credit:  Wyoming Game and Fish Department) 

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Four Bull Elk Poached Near Anaconda, Montana

Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. For 2023-2025, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching.

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks (FWP) game wardens are seeking information on four bull elk that were killed near Anaconda sometime between Saturday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 19. 

The incident occurred on the Ueland Ranch & ARCO Block Management Area near Anaconda. The elk were killed in close proximity of each other and only the heads and backstraps were taken. The rest was left to waste. 

FWP game wardens say that wildlife crimes like this one are often solved because of leads from the public and encourage anyone with information to make a report. To provide information about this case or other crimes involving fish, wildlife, or park regulations, visit or call the FWP violation reporting hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668).  

Callers may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000. 

(Photo source: Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks) 

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