Restoring Elk Country – Sproul State Forest Forage Openings, PA

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/restoring-elk-country-sproul-state-forest-forage-openings-pa/

Sproul State Forest Forage Openings, PA

The mature, hardwood forests of north-central Pennsylvania are beautiful.

Among them is the 305,000-acre Sproul State Forest, the largest in the state forest system.

Like others, it is green and lush, but its closed-canopy and dense nature can be challenging for elk and other wildlife in search of a good meal.

Beginning in 2019, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supplied funding along with other partners for five projects designed to improve forage by maintaining or creating wildlife openings or, in other words, grassy and vegetation-filled meadows in the mountainous terrain.

While each of the projects was in a different location within the Sproul State Forest, each had a similar approach.

Crews first applied herbicide to remove undesirable, competing vegetation not attractive for elk and other wildlife.

An application of lime prepared the soil for seeding by reducing its acidity followed by the planting of a seed mixture of clover, radish, turnip or other palatable plants.

The creation of this early seral or young habitat greatly benefits elk, whitetail deer, black bears, ruffed grouse, wild turkeys, songbirds, other wildlife and even pollinator insects.

And to keep those wildlife openings as is, crews follow up with annual mowing, then re-plant the openings on a four-to-five-year cycle.

Restoring elk country is fundamental to RMEF’s mission of ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Since 1984, RMEF helped conserve or enhance more than 8.9 million acres of wildlife habitat.

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Cumberland Forest – onX Public Access Project

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/cumberland-forest-onx-public-access-project-2/

Cumberland Forest – Virginia

It marks a first for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. And it’s good news for elk and hunters in the state of Virginia.

In 2023, RMEF completed its first-ever land conservation and access project by helping The Nature Conservancy or TNC to conserve and open public access to 576 acres of habitat within Virginia’s Elk Management Zone in the western part of the state.

The Cumberland Forest-Breeding project includes the original site in Buchanan County where officials released elk onto their historic Old Dominion range a decade earlier.

The ball kept rolling in 2024 with the Cumberland Forest-Anderson project, when RMEF, TNC, the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources and Southwest Virginia Sportsmen conserved and opened access to 175 more acres.

That continued the momentum of several earlier projects in the same region of the Appalachian Mountains including an 851-acre Tennessee project in 2021, and a 2023 project just across the state line in Kentucky that conserved and opened access to 55,000-acres of prime elk range.

And if you go back to 2002, RMEF, TNC and several other partners helped conserve and open access to 74,000 acres of what is now Tennessee’s North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area.

The bottom line is elk, deer, turkeys and other wildlife in Virginia as well as Tennessee and Kentucky have more conserved room to roam.

It’s also a benefit for hunting, wildlife viewing and other recreational activities.

Creating and improving public access is a long-time focus of RMEF’s mission.

Since 1984, RMEF has opened or improved public access to more than 1.5 million acres.

To view the sites and boundaries of RMEF land conservation and access projects, turn on the RMEF layer and use the code RMEF when you sign up for your onX subscription to receive a 20% discount.

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Davis Tent – Single Shot Bivy Tent

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/davis-tent-single-shot-bivy-tent/

If you are a bivy user or solo hunter our Single Shot Bivy Tent is just the ticket.

Introducing the ultimate adventurer’s sanctuary: the single-shot bivy tent. Crafted with precision, this compact yet spacious shelter boasts a 5-foot wide front door for seamless entry and exit, spanning a generous 7 feet 6 inches in length to accommodate any explorer. Constructed from lifetime-treated Sunforger canvas, it ensures enduring durability against the elements. Its innovative design features an oversized garage door side, ingeniously doubling as an awning for added versatility in outdoor comfort. With a D-shaped door for effortless access and a user-friendly 6-pole setup, this bivy tent is the peak of convenience and rugged reliability for your wilderness escapades.

Single Shot Tent

5′ front wall height

5′ wide

7’6″ long

Five-minute setup and take-down

 

Canvas 10.10-ounce material

Sunforger Treated

Garage door that doubles as a front awning

Side D zipper door

6 pole setup for tent

2 additional poles for awning

 

Learn more about the Single Shot Tent at DavisTent.com

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The Two-For-One Bull

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/the-two-for-one-bull/

By Tom Kuglin – Bugle magazine hunting & outdoor lifestyle editor

Robb Baker continued to scan the snow for blood hoping to find evidence of a solid hit on his first bull elk. As his heart began to sink at the lack of sign, Robb’s Colorado guide Ryan Kennedy decided to get on the tracks.

“Ryan wasn’t gone for probably 20 seconds and he yelled out ‘Hey, your bull’s over here!’” Robb tells Bugle. “Then as I came around the junipers he said ‘Hold up, something doesn’t look right with that bull. There’s more points on it than I remembered.’”

 

Robb, 50, started hunting for turkeys, hogs and whitetails in his home state of South Carolina in high school. It was during a 2017 business trip to Colorado that he and his wife went to view elk rutting near Estes Park and struck up a conversation with one of the locals. “I was like, hey, listen, if I want to get into hunting out here, where do I start? He told me to call Kyle Lopez with KB Outdoors.”

Robb did contact Lopez but did not immediately book a hunt. Then during a party in 2022 at their home in Charleston, he and some friends talked more seriously about heading out to Colorado for a hunt. Sure enough, Lopez had some openings for the 2023 second rifle season, so last October, Robb and his friend Scott Huffstetler loaded up their gear and spent three days driving west.

“It’s our first hunt so sure, we hoped we might both get bulls, but we told ourselves it’s about the experience, not just getting an animal,” Robb says.

Robb and Scott met up with their guide Ryan and the hunt got underway. They had access on several ranches, and it didn’t take long for them to get into elk. This first morning they encountered a herd before legal shooting light but once the sun came up, they couldn’t get closer than 600 yards—farther than Robb was comfortable shooting—so he held off. One evening Robb and Scott posted up from vantage points and Ryan scouted a new area. Ryan returned with good news: five bulls located and a plan for the morning.

Fresh snow greeted them the next morning as the trio hiked about a mile in hopes of finding the bulls again. Sure enough, two bulls fed in the open. Robb dialed his Leupold scope and readied for the shot at a nice 6×6. His first shot hit the bull hard, but he missed with his follow up, and the two bulls ran off.

“We waited about 30 minutes and walked over there and when we got there, I was in disbelief, I didn’t see any blood,” Robb says. “My heart sunk as I’m looking and looking, and Scott’s looking and then Ryan says he’s going to follow the tracks real quick. That’s when he called out that he’d found my bull.”

As they approached, Ryan’s observation that the bull had apparently sprouted some extra tines after the shot quickly revealed an extraordinary sight. Robb’s 6×6 bull had expired on top of an impressive 5×5 deadhead bull, their dark brown and bleached white antlers intertwined. It took a few minutes for the million-to-one odds to sink in.

“When we got over there and realized what had happened with the bull laying on top of deadhead, we were jumping up and down high fiving and hugging and all the good stuff that hunters do after a successful hunt,” Robb says. “Ryan’s like, ‘Man, this is unheard of to find your bull on top of a deadhead and also find such a nice deadhead.’ He started calling it the ‘two-for-one bull.’”

His first bull on the ground, a bonus deadhead and an unbelievable story to boot, Robb got to help Scott on the rest of his hunt. While in the field they found another deadhead, several shed antlers, and then on the last hour of the last day, Scott killed a beautiful six-point to cap off an exceptional hunt. Robb says he’s now hooked on Western hunting and can’t wait to go back.

“I’ve been putting in for my points—I’d love to get a mule deer, pronghorn and I’m definitely going back for elk,” he says.

(Photo credit: Robb Baker)

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Big Boost Coming for Utah’s Wildlife, Conservation Efforts

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/big-boost-coming-for-utahs-wildlife-conservation-efforts/

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation committed $760,519 in support of 49 projects across Utah to improve wildlife habitat, further wildlife management, bolster research and support hunting.

Collectively, with dozens of partners ranging from county, state and federal agencies to universities, conservation and sportsmen’s groups, $35.6 million will go on the ground to benefit 104,000 acres of habitat used by elk, mule deer, moose, pronghorn antelope, turkey, birds, fish and other wildlife species, and enjoyed by hunters, anglers, wildlife watchers and others.

“This latest batch of habitat stewardship work includes ongoing efforts to restore more than a dozen different watersheds,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “There is also a significant focus on enhancing winter range, migration corridors and supporting wildlife crossings.”

Dating back to 1987, RMEF and its partners completed 858 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Utah that conserved or enhanced 1.4 million acres of habitat. The combined value of that work is more than $184.2 million.

“We are grateful for our RMEF volunteers spread across 16 Utah chapters who are so diligent in generating funding for this conservation work,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.

Below is a list of all 49 projects and their locations.

Beaver County

  • Install 29,800 feet of pipe and three metal troughs to increase water storage for elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, other wildlife and cattle on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Richfield Field Office and state land in the Mineral Mountains.
  • Restore 24 acres of riparian habitat and 250 acres of sagebrush habitat on state land in the Indian Peak Range through improved fencing, brush mowing, conifer lop and scatter, seeding and water development.
  • Supply funding for the Milford Young Guns, a participating team in the Utah Youth Education in Shooting Sports program for youth 5th grade through college

Box Elder County

  • Provide funding to trap and relocate beavers to sites where they can help return natural processes and function to streams and improve riparian habitat (also benefits Cache and Summit Counties).

Cache County

  • Reconnect Red Rock Creek to its historic floodplain through the construction of beaver dam analogs and let-down fencing to keep livestock out of riparian habitat on the Cinnamon Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA), an 8,107-acre WMA RMEF helped conserve in 2021. The property supplies summer range for elk and mule deer as well as brooding and summer habitat for sage grouse.
  • Survey 7,000 acres of aspen stands across the Logan and Ogden Ranger Districts of the Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to identify future habitat enhancement treatments (also benefits Rich and Weber Counties).
  • Implement juniper removal, aerial seeding of shrubs and grasses, and invasive weed treatments across 2,662 acres in the Mahogany Ridge area on the Hardware WMA and Logan Ranger District of the Unita-Wasatch-Cache National Forest to benefit forage for elk, mule deer, moose, sage grouse and other wildlife.

Carbon County

  • Supply funding for the initial phase of a collaborative, multi-year restoration targeting 13 project locations within the Upper Price River Watershed. The project features riparian restoration, timber stand improvement, shaded fuel breaks, fuels reduction, invasive weed treatment and planting trees across on 8,137 acres of BLM Price Field Office, Manti-La Sal National Forest, Lower Fish Creek Wildlife WMA and private land in the foothills and mountains surrounding the Price and Wellington areas (also benefits Duchene, Emery, Sanpete and Utah Counties).
  • Provide funding for WB Hunting, a nonprofit organization that hosts hunts for disabled and youth hunters who do not have the ability or supplies to hunt on their own.
  • Supply funding for Mont Harmon Middle School’s fishing and shooting program. Activities include hunter safety, archery and trap shooting, fly tying and other activities.

Duchesne County

  • Remove conifers encroaching across 2,361 acres of sagebrush, mountain brush and upland meadow habitat in the Roosevelt-Duchesne Ranger District of the Ashley National Forest as well as state land in the Anthro Mountain and Avintaquin Canyon areas.
  • Install firebreaks and make stream improvements to control erosion on the Tabby Mountain WMA and private land.

Emery County

  • Supply funding for a research project to capture and place GPS collars on bison in the Book Cliffs, Range Creek and Henry Mountains to gather survival and movement data to guide management (also benefits Garfield, Grand, Unitah and Wayne Counties).

Garfield County

  • Thin pinyon-juniper encroaching on sagebrush steppe and ponderosa pine habitat across 10,294 acres in the Powell Ranger District on the Dixie National Forest to improve wildlife habitat and watershed health near Mt. Dutton. The work is part of a multi-year 30,000-acre project.

Grand County

  • Purchase and helicopter transport materials and supplies to maintain fence that protects the remote Little Creek WMA from nearby livestock.

Juab County

  • Plant 5,000 shrub seedlings across elk and mule deer winter range on the Levan WMA.
  • Restore 1,776 acres of winter range on the Santaquin, Spencer Fork and Mona Bench WMAs by removing encroaching junipers and seeding and planting shrub species where wildfire, drought and invasive plants affected habitat condition (also benefits Utah County).

Iron County

  • Enhance and restore 2,902 acres of sagebrush steppe, wetlands, springs and wet meadows in critical big game and sage grouse range in the Cedar City Ranger District on the Dixie National Forest and private land as part of a multi-year restoration effort across land ownerships. Install a new 10,200-gallon big game guzzler on the North Hills Herd Management Area in Pine Valley, an area that serves as mule deer summer and winter range.

Juab County

  • Supply funding for a study to determine the influence of predation versus habitat quality on elk and mule deer population dynamics in the Central Mountains Nebo Unit, an area that appears to have relatively high-quality summer and winter range.

Kane County

  • Supply funding for the construction of three new wildlife underpasses along Highway 89 near Kanab to benefit a mule deer migration corridor. The project includes several miles of wildlife fencing along with escape ramps, gates and cattle guards, where needed.
  • Aerial seed grasses and forbs, and then masticate 488 acres of juniper and pinyon on private land to improve wildlife migration corridor habitat for mule deer and elk south of Navajo Lake. The project will also help keep mule deer and elk from entering Zion National Park. Beaver dam analogs will also be installed to support riparian habitat.

Millard County

  • Disburse seeds across 4,760 acres in the Fillmore Ranger District of Fishlake National Forest, BLM Field Office and Fillmore WMA land that burned in the 2022 Halfway Hill Wildfire. The area serves as both critical elk winter range and elk calving grounds. It also supplies habitat for mule deer, wild turkey, upland game birds, small mammals and livestock.

Rich County

  • Supply funding to help with costs associated with emergency deer feeding related to the severe 2022-23 winter. Preliminary data shows survival of fed deer was significantly higher than non-fed deer (also benefits Summit and Weber Counties).

Salt Lake County

  • Improve big game habitat across 2,083 acres in the Salt Lake Ranger District on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and private land on the east side of the Salt Lake Valley. The project includes cutting, piling and burning of dead or dying conifers as well as conifer removal from aspen stands, invasive plant treatment and installation of beaver dam analogs (also benefits Summit County).
  • Supply funding for the most recent phase of an ongoing, collaborative project to improve watershed health from Summit Park at the top of Parley’s Canyon down through the canyon to the east side of Salt Lake Valley. Objectives in the Salt Lake Ranger District of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, BLM Salt Lake Field Office and private land include improving forest health, weed management, wildlife and fish habitat, water quantity and quality, mitigating wildfire risk and enhanced recreational opportunities (also benefits Summit County).

San Juan County

  • Enhance 8,497 acres of wildlife habitat in the La Sal Mountains with pinyon-juniper thinning, lop and scatter, seeding, prescribed burning and riparian protection treatments on BLM Moab Field Office, Manti-La Sal National Forest, state and private land.

Sanpete County

  • Implement mastication, hand-cutting with slash pile burning, seeding and the construction of beaver dam analogs across 947 acres on the 12-Mile WMA, Manti-La Sal National Forest and private land to restore a watershed and its habitat affected by mudslides.
  • Install beaver dam analog structures in Indian Creek, Willow Creek and Pinchot Ponds to restore stream function. The project also includes reintroducing beavers and planting riparian seedlings (also benefits Utah County).
  • Thin conifers, burn slash piles, plant shrubs, install beaver dam analogs and apply prescribed burning over 2,824 acres in the Sanpete Ranger District on the Manti-La Sal National Forest and adjacent Black Hills WMA as part of a multi-year landscape-scale restoration along the Sanpete Face. The project also includes fencing and installing gates and parking improvements to limit disturbance to wintering wildlife. Improve wildlife habitat in the Lost Creek area, including big game transition and winter range by thinning pinyon-juniper and seed application on 6,095 acres of Fishlake National Forest, BLM Richmond Field Office, state and private land (also benefits Sevier County).
  • Implement a series of treatments across 17,586 acres of BLM Richfield Field Office, state and private lands to enhance wildlife habitat and forest health in the Sanpitch Mountains (also benefits Juan County).

Sevier County

  • Enhance 2,516 acres of wildlife and fish habitat in the Richfield Ranger District on the Fishlake National Forest and private land big game transition and winter range in the Gooseberry Creek area.
  • Improve big game transition and winter range across 11,120 acres in the Richfield Ranger District on the Fishlake National Forest and private land in the Salina Creek area. Treatments include seeding, mastication, prescribed fire and more.

Summit County

  • Implement a variety of habitat treatments to restore aspen and improve soil, water and vegetation in the Heber-Kamas Ranger District on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest within the Upper Provo Watershed (also benefits Wasatch County).
  • Thin 1,698 acres of forestland as part of a landscape-scale project to promote forest health, restore aspen growth, diversify stand structure and composition, reduce fuel loads, and improve wildlife habitat within the Bear River Watershed on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest.
  • Implement various treatments to improve the Weber River Watershed including protect the water supply, mitigate wildfire risk and restore fisheries in the Heber-Kamas Ranger District on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest and private land (also benefits Davis and Weber Counties).

Tooele County

  • Improve the North Sheeprocks Watershed by treating 2,572 acres in the Spanish Fork Ranger District on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest with a combination of pinyon-juniper removal, seeding, planting shrubs and cottonwood trees, and beaver dam analog construction to improve habitat for big game, sage grouse, turkey, quail and other species.

Uintah County

  • Implement habitat improvements across 1,402 acres in the Winter Ridge, Meadow Creek and Willow Creek areas in the Book Cliffson BLM, state and private land such as aerial seeding, conifer removal and other treatments (also benefits Grand County).

Utah County

  • Scalp and seed 15 acres of critical mule deer winter range within the the Pole Canyon Wildfire burn scar on the Lasson Draw Fork WMA. Seed and plant shrubs across 46 acres of elk and mule deer crucial winter range in the Sheep Creek area on the Heber-Kamas Ranger District on the Uinta National Forest. Impacted by wildfire, invasive grasses and overgrazing.
  • Plant shrubs and shrub seedlings across 153 acres on the Timpanogos WMA, which is winter and transitional range for elk and mule deer. The project is part of a rehab effort to improve habitat scorched in the 2023 Range Wildfire.

Washington County

  • Supply funding for a study to determine the best ways to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, increase public safety and improve safe passage for migrating mule deer along State Route 18.

Wayne County

  • Lop and scatter approximately 1,215 acres of pinyon and juniper encroaching on the Fishlake and Fremont National Forests to enhance crucial mule deer winter range and a movement corridor for elk south of the Polk Creek drainage.

Weber County

  • Supply funding for Fremont FFA Chapter members to participate in the 2023 national convention.

Statewide

  • Provide funding to help the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources expand its comprehensive, web-based data tool to include more wildlife and habitat information and robust reporting and GIS analysis capabilities. The tool provides a one-stop-shop for Utah’s natural resource professionals and partners to more effectively conserve and manage wildlife populations and habitat across the state.
  • Supply funding support for the Utah Migration Initiative to document, conserve and enhance movement pathways and migration corridors for Utah wildlife and fish.
  • Supply funding for Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, a nonprofit educational program offering hands-on workshops for women ranging from fly fishing, archery, shotgun and rifle shooting to canoeing, hiking and nature photography.

Nationwide

  • Supply funding and volunteer support for Freedom Hunt, an organization that hosts wounded veterans on a cow elk hunt.

Project partners include the Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Fremont, Manti-La Sal, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and various other county, state, civic, conservation and business groups and private individuals.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded in 1984 and fueled by hunters, RMEF has conserved more than 8.9 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 rmef.org or 800-CALL ELK.

The post Big Boost Coming for Utah’s Wildlife, Conservation Efforts appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Increasing Your Event’s Attendance

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/increasing-your-events-attendance/

The benefit of increasing RMEF event attendance is simple: more attendees mean more can be raised for the mission. Here are some considerations to help increase your event’s attendance.

The benefit of increasing RMEF event attendance is simple: More attendees mean more can be raised for the mission. Volunteers and staff share some considerations below to think about when increasing your attendance, as well as some tactics to help promote your event and increase attendance.

Event Promotion:

Effectively promoting your event to past attendees as well as potential new attendees is key to growing your turnout. Beyond traditional advertising tactics such as radio and newspaper ads and distributing banquet mailers and emails, there are added things to do to help promote sales. Here are some helpful tips suggested by RMEF volunteers:

  • The number-one way to increase attendance is to ASK!
  • Print and display banquet posters at the event facility several weeks ahead of time so people that attend other activities learn about your event. If allowed, you can also create banners and display them outside of the facility so those passing by see the information.
  • Ask local businesses if they will advertise the event date and banquet information on their reader boards, as a donation to the chapter.
  • Ask your regional director about Phonevite, a low-cost option that makes automated calls to local members. The ticket chair records a short banquet announcement including sales information, which is then sent out via an automated call. When scheduled mid-morning, the call will most likely be missed and will be recorded in RMEF member’s voice mailboxes. By doing this, the recipient does not know that the call was an automated phone call.
  • For an item that is underwritten or donated by a local business, display the item at the business a month prior to your event, along with a poster that highlights the donation and promotes event ticket sales.
  • Promoting your event through your state’s Facebook page is a proven sales tactic, and engaging with people within that Facebook event helps build excitement and sales as well. Be sure to post auction and raffle previews as well as your dinner menu and event timeline so potential attendees know what to expect.
  • One successful sales tactic that caught on in recent years is table package sales. A table package includes meals, memberships and more, which can accommodate eight or 10 people! Thanks to these packages, regular banquet attendees are inviting new attendees to share their table. Business owners invite clients and employees. Parents invite their kids and grandkids. If you create the opportunity for eight or 10 person sales, you might be surprised how many table packages you will sell. Consult your regional director on how to bundle memberships, meals, raffle tickets, merchandise and more into a single sales package—it financially makes sense!

 

 

Facility:

Chapters are often limited within their current facilities to a restricted capacity for attendees. Here are some creative ways to increase your capacity.

  • Evaluate other facility options. If you are at maximum capacity with your current facility, what other options are available that will allow you to grow by 20% or more? Making the jump to a new facility isn’t always easy but is usually worth the change in the end.
  • Does it make financial sense to rent tents to move the food line or other banquet features outside? It may not be cost effective in all situations but could be worth exploring since you may be able to increase the number of attendees at your banquet venue.
  • Don’t be afraid of splitting your event activities into different rooms. Perhaps placing your general raffle in a separate room will free up space to add table seating.

 

Scheduling:

One thing that may help increase your event’s attendance is the time of year it is scheduled. Below are a few things to consider when determining an event date.

  • Check with other nonprofits to make sure there is not a scheduling conflict on the same night or within a week of another group’s event. Having two events scheduled on top of each other will hurt the bottom-line results of both organizations. If scheduled within the same week, potential attendees may only pick one nonprofit to support, or they may be financially limited since both may fall in the same pay period.
  • Try to pick and stick with a fixed date, such as always scheduling a banquet for the second weekend in March. Doing so allows attendees and other local organizations to take notice when to plan for your event to take place. It also builds anticipation and allows everyone to plan for it year after year.
  • Be cautious of scheduling over holidays and other major events. Consider local community sports, tournaments or championships, and major school events such as graduation or homecoming that may draw attendees away from your event.

The post Increasing Your Event’s Attendance appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

March/April 2024 Advocacy Update

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/march-april-2024-advocacy-update-1/

State Updates:

Washington

At least 10 gun control bills were introduced, and several passed during the recent legislative session. RMEF members generated several hundred letters opposing HB 2118, legislation that appears intended to put small sporting goods stores that sell firearms out of business. The one-size-fits-all security equipment mandate alone will cost businesses $100,000, and the array of duplicative and costly regulations the bill imposes will drive up expenses. The bill fully takes effect in 2025, so there will be an opportunity to amend or repeal the law in the next session.

Efforts to modernize charitable gambling laws failed to advance at the legislature, but a package of rules and adjustments to make raffles more efficient and successful are progressing with the Gambling Board. Bills to authorize a constitutional right to hunt and fish, eliminate the fish and wildlife commission, and create an eastern Washington gray wolf management working group all failed as well.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is considering an update to the gray wolf status to “down-list” wolves from “endangered” to “sensitive”—with RMEF’s support. Maintaining oversight of the commission remains a priority for RMEF with a faction of commissioners bent on changing traditional wildlife management and increasing protections for predators.

Oregon 

RMEF was involved with several issues during the short budget session, including new CWD funding of $795,000 for ODFW for seasonal sample collection specialists and a state lab technician, and $1.9 million for zoonotic diseases and CWD funding at the state veterinary lab. Several bills of interest did not pass, including and elk damage compensation bill, a highway crossings bill and a wildlife “coexistence” bill.

The Oregon Board of Forestry narrowly approved a new Habitat Conservation Plan that will reduce active forest management on state lands by reducing timber harvest by at least 20%, and as much as 33% by some estimates. The new plan is in response to Endangered Species Act lawsuits. Combined with reduced harvest on federal lands, this could dramatically reduce elk and deer habitat quality.

Initiative Petition 28 is the latest iteration of the crazy anti-hunting-fishing-livestock-pest control ballot measure that a group of Portland-based extremists are trying to qualify for the ballot in 2026. RMEF and other hunting interests are participating in the title and summary setting process to ensure that voters understand that this would ban all hunting and fishing, livestock slaughter, lethal pest control, rodeos, artificial insemination for breeding pets and livestock, and more.

Utah

Utah RMEF volunteers were part of a coalition that championed $1 million in recurring annual funding for highway crossings. Utah is the first state to commit ongoing state funding to address wildlife-vehicle collisions.

Wyoming

The recent short session was dominated by budget wrangling, but a proposal that concerned RMEF and other wildlife interests was HB60, which would have mandated the game and fish department to pay damage payments of up to 150% of the value of private land forage consumed by elk. The bill passed the House but failed to be passed by the Senate. Other wildlife bills included SF111, which narrowly failed, but sought to separate mule deer and whitetail licenses and seasons. A bill that passed was HB43 that funds state Good-Neighbor positions to expand the forestry work conducted on federal lands by state employees.

Colorado

The Colorado session is still ongoing, and a number of new gun bills have been introduced that RMEF is engaging with. SB131 would expand the places that prohibit the carrying of firearms which, as drafted, would include state wildlife areas. HB1349 would drastically raise taxes on guns and ammunition in mockery of the Pittman-Robertson federal excise tax with most of the money dedicated to an amorphous victims’ fund. HB1292 is a new attempt to ban “assault weapons,” an effort that has been ruled unconstitutional in the past.

A new bill has been introduced to authorize the reintroduction of federally threatened wolverines, but requires the state to receive flexibility from the feds through an Endangered Species Act 10j non-essential experimental population classification. RMEF has some concerns that wolverine’s threatened status will be used by environmental extremists to block future forest management activity, but wolverines as predators or scavengers are not of concern to elk and deer populations.

RMEF is supporting SB126 to expand conservation easement tax credits, and SB26 to require Parks and Wildlife Commissioners to meet with the stakeholder groups they are appointed to represent. RMEF is opposing HB1375, a bill to require non-lethal coexistence for “native wild carnivores.”

Nearly 1,500 RMEF members contacted their legislators opposing the appointments of two Parks and Wildlife Commission members, Jess Beaulieu and Gary Skiba.  Skiba is a wolf advocate, Defenders of Wildlife member, and was generally opposed by hunters—but was appointed as a sportsman representative position on the commission. His confirmation would have failed, and he withdrew, creating a vacancy on the commission. Beaulieu is an animal’s rights attorney at the University of Denver Law School, and she was narrowly confirmed. RMEF is focused on encouraging the Governor to appoint a more reasonable sportsman representative to the commission.

 

Federal

RMEF’s Director of Government Affairs testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Natural Resources Committee and Water, Wildlife and Fisheries Subcommittee on March 6 in support of HR7408, the American Wildlife Habitat Conservation Act. RMEF’s focus is on the bill’s policy reforms, which include fixing the Cottonwood ruling and to better integrate state management for threatened species.

The post March/April 2024 Advocacy Update appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Proven Banquet Fundraising Tactics

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/proven-banquets-fundraising-tactics/

Here are some low risk, high reward tactics that you can implement to increase your banquet fundraising.

Here are some proven tools and tactics available to RMEF chapters that are not currently being used to their fullest potential. RMEF volunteers and staff agree that these low risk, high reward tactics can help your chapter raise more funds if you are not already using them.

Live Auction Multiples:

Selling multiples of a single item at a live auction can result in a significant increase in net revenue. If you have 30 live auction items but you sell multiples of five of each item, it’s possible for your live auction to make 35, 40, 45+ sales! Of course, you can only offer multiples on certain items, and only if those items sell for a worthy price.

It is vital to know the prices at which they need to sell to determine if you should sell multiples or not. Knowing when to cap bidding when offering multiple of the same product is a tactic worth considering. Is it worth stopping a bid at a certain price to sell four or five, versus only one or two and letting the bidding increase? Setting selling “trigger points” and noting them for your auctioneer and emcee will ensure you don’t miss a sales opportunity.

Here are some suggested items that often have multiple sales at events:

  • Quigley-Ford Rifle Scopes:
    • Quigley-Ford is a long-time supporter of RMEF. Its products have been featured in banquets for more than a decade. The company offers a custom 4-16x50mm rifle scope, valued at $1699.99, that can be sold at your live auction. The cost of this rifle scope is 50% of the scope’s sale price, which must be sold for at least $700. If you only sell one for $700, your chapter nets $350. However, chapters often see the scope sell for at least $800 and they sell three or more per auction. Quigley-Ford will supply a display scope and information to your regional director for you to include at your live auction. If you are not currently offering this scope among your auction items, discuss it with your regional director. We suggest setting a sale price goal of $800 to $900 and stopping the bidding somewhere in that range to sell to more auction bidders.

 

  • Silencer Central Silencers:
    • Silencer Central offers a .22 caliber suppressor to any chapter that would like to use it for fundraising. The SoLo 22 LR Suppressor ($345 value) is available at no cost to the chapter, regardless of how many are sold. Buyers are responsible for paying Silencer Central $200 for the federal tax stamp and Silencer Central offers upgrades to those buyers for larger calibers. These silencers often sell for $250+ at a live auction, and by offering multiples, an average chapter can sell five or more. Again, these come at no cost to the chapter, so if you sell five of them for $250, your event nets $1,250 with this single item. There are even times when an event sells 10+ at their live auction! We suggest setting a sale price goal of $250-$300 and stopping the bidding somewhere in that range to sell to more auction bidders.

 

Ultimate Gear Package:

Another proven fundraising tactic is utilizing the Ultimate Gear Package. This is a grouping of firearms and merchandise that allows the buyer to choose which items they want to purchase. Within the package are different groups of gear, and the buyer typically chooses one item from each group. For example, there may be a weapon group, optic group and gear group from which the buyer chooses one of each. The items included in these packages have good profit margins and allow RMEF to generate solid net revenue per package. Plus, the buyer gets a good deal based on the highest potential fair market value (FMV). For this package, we suggest advertising the highest FMV potential coupled with the minimum bid price. For example, if the buyer chooses the highest FMV items within each group, the value could be up to $4,000. If RMEF’s highest cost is $1,500, the advertised minimum bid is $3,000. The poster would read “Up to $4,000 value. $3,000 minimum bid.”

When selling these packages, the biggest risk is the time it takes to sell, especially if there are no bids. If that happens, you’ve lost two minutes from the auction, but the potential of having multiple buyers in the room willing to buy it for at least $3,000 makes it worth it. Don’t let your banquet size prevent you from trying this package, events with fewer than 100 people have been successful selling these. Reach out to your regional director for more information on implementation.

 

 

HGA Vacation Trips:

RMEF teams up with HGA, a company that solely works with nonprofit organizations, to offer vacation destination packages at their fundraising events. HGA supplies vacation trip boards to display in your auctions. RMEF chapters then sell the packages and HGA help the buyers arrange their trip. Buyers have two years from the date of purchase to take their vacation. We suggest offering five to seven of these trips and scattering them throughout your silent auction.

It’s common for events to sell at least one HGA trip, but another tactic is to try and sell multiple. Each trip will generate at least $1,000-$2,000 in net revenue. These are a great way to increase the revenue generated by your silent auction and allow attendees to bid on something they don’t typically see at a fundraising banquet. Just because you don’t sell a trip your first year, don’t be afraid to offer them again. The only risk is the amount of space the poster and bid sheet take up on your silent auction.

 

The Auction Bump:

This live auction feature gives the opportunity for each successful bidder to “bump” their bid an extra dollar amount (chapter’s choice, but most often either $100 or $150). If the successful bidder of the live auction item does not want to bump their bid, that bump will be quickly auctioned off (usually within 30 seconds). Some live auction items will have multiple bid winners and each successful bidder may buy that bump, but any declined bumps on an item with multiple buyers will not be auctioned off. All successful bump buyers will be entered into a drawing for a nicer prize, such as the banquet firearm or other high-cost prize.

 

 

Conclusion:

Hopefully, you consider implementing at least a few of the above ideas. These are low or no risk with high reward, and they are being used by hundreds of RMEF chapters. Why not go all in and give them all a try?

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