RMEF Hosts Bipartisan Effort to Improve Habitat in Migration Corridors

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/rmef-hosts-bipartisan-effort-to-improve-habitat-in-migration-corridors/

(Left to right: Representative Ryan Zinke and RMEF Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning) 

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recently rolled out the red carpet for what it hopes is a national effort to help elk, mule deer and other migrating wildlife species.  

Representative Ryan Zinke (R-MT) introduced the Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act at RMEF’s headquarters, while Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced the companion version in the Senate. The legislation builds on Secretarial Order 3362 and would commit federal and state agencies to collaborate and ensure the health and longevity of big game migration corridors and identify critical wintering habitat.  

“The Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act is directly aligned with the mission of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and we thank Senator Padilla and Representative Zinke for introducing this bipartisan and bicameral legislation,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “RMEF has successfully advocated in Washington DC to prioritize migratory areas through Interior Secretarial Order 3362, the Wildlife Highway Crossings Pilot Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and USDA’s Migratory Big Game Initiative. Generous contributions by RMEF members and partner organizations have allowed us to make these valuable habitat investments, critical to conserving and improving elk and wildlife habitat. RMEF’s mapping work has accelerated through partnerships with US Geological Survey researchers at the University of Wyoming and partnerships with state wildlife agencies and the federal land management agencies in the Interior and Agriculture Departments.” 

Specifically, the bill creates the Wildlife Movement and Migration Corridor Grant Program, establishes the State and Tribal Migration Research Program, adds migration corridors and seasonal habitat conservation efforts as eligible for financial assistance under the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and direct US Geological Survey Cooperative Research Units to map big game corridors and movement areas. 

“Wildlife follow the path that has been bred and programmed into them over generations with no understanding of the distinctions between private and public or federal and state land. That’s why collaboration and partnerships are so important when managing migratory species such as pronghorn, bighorn and mule deer,” said Congressman Zinke. “It has been five years since I signed S.O. 3362 and a lot of quality conservation work has been done to promote big game habitat in that time, and now is the time to solidify the intent and purpose of the program to promote public-private partnerships in conservation and focus on migratory big game. I thank Representative Beyer, Senator Padilla, for joining me in this critical effort.”   

Big game migratory corridors can cross swaths of both public and private land with obstacles such as fencing, highways, subdivisions and other development, which can block wildlife movement and lead to drastic downturns in big game herd populations.  

Representatives of several other conservation and hunting groups attended the announcement. 

“Passage of Wildlife Movement Through Partnerships Act will send a clear message that Congress prioritizes big game migration and habitat enhancement now and in the future,” added Weaver.   

View the Congressman Zinke news release here

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation) 

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CSU Banquet – An RMEF Film

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/csu-banquet-an-rmef-film/

Aspen Grady is a senior at Colorado State University, home to the only RMEF student chapter in the nation that holds a fundraising banquet. Despite focusing on her studies and future career,

she also jumped in with both feet and great enthusiasm to serve as chair of the CSU Chapter, even though she “had no idea how to even do any of it.”

Watch as Aspen oversees her final banquet and tries to overcome a multi-year jinx to acquire the banquet belt buckle and end the evening with an ear-to-ear smile.

Interested in starting an RMEF chapter at your college or university? Contact the Regional Director in your state here.

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The Mammoth Vertical Smoker: The Ultimate Provider

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/the-mammoth-vertical-smoker-the-ultimate-provider/

Grilla Grills

For the outdoor enthusiast and backyard pitmaster, the Mammoth by Grilla is more than just a smoker—it’s a testament to low and slow BBQ and the tradition of the hunt. This vertical smoker is the answer for those who take pride in providing meals from their hunts with family and friends.

Introducing the Mammoth: A Hunter’s Dream Smoker

The Mammoth is the result of packing a decade of pellet grill knowledge into one huge vertical smoker. The design combines the shape of a traditional cabinet style smoker with Grilla’s industry exclusive tech, creating the most efficient vertical smoker we’ve seen yet.  Expansive cooking space outfitted with over 1600 square inches of grate space, the Mammoth offers ample room for the most generous cuts of venison, beef, pork, and whatever else you can fit in this beast. With 5 additional racks, it’s expandable to over 3200 square inches for those large gatherings. It’s also powered by Grilla’s newest Alpha Connect 2.0 WiFi board and still features the stainless-steel construction where it matters most, just like the rest of Grilla’s pellet grill lineup found here

Efficiency: Grillas ingenuity shines with the Mammoth’s fuel efficiency. A single hopper fill allows for continuous smoking at 250 degrees for over 50 hours—a feature yet to be matched the competition. This means more meat and less pellets!

Why a Vertical Pellet Smoker? The Mammoth isn’t just spacious; it’s smart. With industry-leading double-wall insulation throughout the entire chamber and a stainless-steel interior, it’s built for harsh elements and the test of time. The wireless control system adds convenience to the experience, letting you focus on your guests and stories of the hunt while you monitor your cook from the comfort of your couch.

Unique Features for the Outdoorsman: Every Mammoth comes equipped with 24 Stainless steel S-hooks for hanging your prized elk sausages or those impressive cuts that demand space. Break open some sausage for the holidays or the big game and relive the hunt! The vertical design enhances smoke circulation and production allowing smoke to naturally flow up and out of the exhaust. Included is a patented lipped heat deflector that will hold and smolder wood chunks/chips to roll even more smoke, ensuring every bite is infused with that rich, smoky flavor.

For outdoorsmen and women who live by the ethos of the hunt and the joy of sharing their harvest, the Mammoth is not just a smoker—it’s a centerpiece for those memorable feasts. For more info on the Mammoth and the rest of our overbuilt lineup of grills and outdoor kitchens, visit www.grillagrills.com.

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RMEF Helps Create New Wildlife Water Sources in New Mexico

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/rmef-helps-create-new-wildlife-water-sources-in-new-mexico/

Photo credit: Bureau of Land Management

Central portions of New Mexico are bone-dry for stretches of the year and that’s challenging for elk, bighorn sheep, mule deer and an array of other wildlife species.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation teamed up with the Bureau of Land Management and other partners to supply funding for two new, life-sustaining water sources in the Sierra Ladrones, Polvadera and Chupadera Mountains.

The water system features a rainwater catchment four times larger than traditional setups that produce up to 5,000 gallons of precipitation collection and storage with 8-10 inches of average annual rain and snow. That is especially important because the system will keep up with expected wildlife use.

To allow access to water by smaller wildlife species and to mitigate the potential for drowning and death, the drinker has a built-in cement escape ramp. The new water development design also reduces annual and long-term maintenance needs and costs and provides for an overall more reliable and long-term water source down the road.

Crews used a helicopter to fly materials to the job site.

Elk are abundant in the area, but the wildlife drinker is also key for bighorn sheep. Since the release of desert bighorn sheep in 1998, the herd struggled to grow and increase in size, remaining at about 50-75. Since 2004 and more recently, a significant effort went into enhancing habitat through vegetative treatments and installing water developments. Since then, and more recently to 2018, the herd showed a drastic increase in numbers and started to move into and colonize other areas of suitable habitat. Due to the increase and the stabilization of the herd, there is now a huntable population.

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Gilbertson Leads Championship Parade to Capture 2024 World Elk Calling Title 

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/gilbertson-leads-championship-parade-to-capture-2024-world-elk-calling-title/

MISSOULA, Mont. — Been there. Done that. But this time, in a more thrilling fashion! Tony Gilbertson, 2021 men’s division winner, beat 10-time champion Corey Jacobsen and two-time defending winner Beau Brooks on his path to claim his first professional division title at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 2024 World Elk Calling Championships, co-presented by Sportsman’s Warehouse.  

“I’m in shock. When I think about the caliber of the competitors that I had to go up against, I honestly can’t believe I won,” said Gilbertson, an RMEF life member from Vernonia, Oregon. “Corey has been a huge influence and mentor for me. Beau is a phenomenal caller and Ruben (Hunt), when I saw him continue to win, I said, ‘This is going to get real.’ I’m grateful to RMEF for hosting this event and I’m looking forward to next year.” 

Other former champions shined as well. Patrick Littrell was the only unbeaten caller in his division and claimed his second consecutive men’s title. Marisa Pagano-Noteboom, a winner in 2018 and 2019, won a rare three-way call-off to defeat two other former champions and take the women’s title. 

Sam Wolcott, two-time, defending pee wee champion aged out, so he shifted to the voice division and won the championship. After knocking on the door the past several years, Sam Jacobsen broke through to win the youth title while Hunter Littrell, the 2021 pee wee champion, capped an unbeaten run through the field to reclaim that championship. 

Professional Division 

  1. Tony Gilbertson – Vernonia, Oregon 
  2. Ruben Hunt – Anaconda, Montana 
  3. Beau Brooks – Benton, Kentucky 
  4. Avery Betty – Middleton, Idaho 

Men’s Division 

  1. Patrick Littrell – Florissant, Colorado 
  2. Kelton Allman – Santa, Idaho 
  3. Jaeger Evinger – Townsend, Montana 
  4. Koby Holland – Dillon, Montana 

Women’s Division 

  1. Marisa Pagano-Noteboom – Anaconda, Montana 
  2. Audrey McQueen – Luna, New Mexico 
  3. Ella Lees – La Grande, Oregon 

Voice Division 

  1. Sam Wolcott – Rexburg, Idaho 
  2. Rebecca Russell – Indian Head, Saskatchewan 
  3. Danielle Oyler – Livingston, Montana 

Youth Division 

  1. Sam Jacobsen – Donnelly, Idaho 
  2. Colton Rasmussen – Rexburg, Idaho 
  3. Cash Madden – Canyon City, Oregon 
  4. Jameson Cook – Julian, California 

Pee Wee Division 

  1. Hunter Littrell – Florissant, Colorado 
  2. Wyatt Hedges – Missoula, Montana 
  3. Jaxon Devaul – Colorado Springs, Colorado 
  4. Gracelynn Devaul – Colorado Springs, Colorado 

Participants competed for more than $45,000 in cash, hunting gear and other prizes. In addition to co-presenting sponsor Sportsman’s Warehouse, other contributing sponsors were Browning, Bow Spider, Buck Knives, Eberlestock, Hoyt, Leupold, Montana Decoy, Nosler, onX Hunt, Schnee’s, Sitka and Swagger. Gunwerks also supplied the top two youth finishers with opportunities to go to on cow elk and deer management hunts in New Mexico.

The competition took place at Big Sky Resort in Big Sky, Montana. 

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.  

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Rodeo Rita – A Featured Pendleton Cocktail

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/rodeo-rita-a-featured-pendleton-cocktail/

GIVE YOUR TASTEBUDS A KICK

Never had whisky in your margarita? You’ll never go back, but don’t choose just any whisky. Pendleton®️ Whisky’s Original warm, fruity flavor palate adds richness and depth to the typical margarita.

Ingredients:

1.5 oz Pendleton® Original

0.75 oz Triple Sec

2 oz Fresh Lime Juice

3 oz Margarita Mix

1 Lime Wedge

Steps: Combine all ingredients (minus lime wedge) into a shaker bottle with ice. Shake until well combined. Strain into a cocktail glass with ice.

Visit Pendleton Whisky for more great cocktail recipes or connect with them on social media via @PendletonWhisky on Facebook and Instagram.

Pendleton® Blended Canadian Whisky. 40% Alc./Vol. (80 proof). ©2024 Pendleton Distillers, Lawrenceburg, IN. Please drink responsibly. LET’ER BUCK and the bucking horse logo are registered trademarks of The Pendleton Round-Up Association. PENDLETON is a registered trademark of Pendleton Woolen Mills

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Montana Canvas is American Heritage and American Quality!

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/montana-canvas-is-american-heritage-and-american-quality/

Montana Canvas, a long-time RMEF partner, is a renowned manufacturer of premium-quality canvas tents and outdoor gear, specializing in crafting durable and weather-resistant products for outdoor enthusiasts, hunters, campers, and professionals alike. With a legacy spanning over three decades, Montana Canvas prides itself on utilizing high-grade materials and expert craftsmanship to create tents that withstand the rigors of nature while providing comfort and reliability. From traditional wall tents to modern camping shelters, their diverse range of products caters to various outdoor needs, blending functionality with rugged elegance. Whether for a wilderness expedition, hunting trip, or family camping adventure, Montana Canvas is trusted by outdoor enthusiasts seeking dependable shelter in the wild.

Learn more at montanacanvas.com.

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Restoring Elk Country – Tomblin WMA, WV

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/restoring-elk-country-tomblin-wma-wv/

Restoring Elk Country – WV Tomblin WMA Invasive Plant Treatment

Returning elk to their historic West Virginia range in 2016 did not mark the end of a long-planned-for elk restoration effort in the southern Appalachian Mountains. No, it was just the beginning.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, TC Energy Foundation and other organizations then supplied funding to create the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area – 25,000 acres across Logan and Mingo Counties that make up the heart of today’s West Virginia’s elk range.

The work did not stop there, either.

RMEF supported a series of West Virginia Division of Natural Resources projects to enhance wildlife habitat.

The large, reclaimed surface mine lands once offered ideal habitat but autumn olive –an invasive shrub– crowded out grass and other vegetation used by elk and other wildlife.

Beginning in the fall of 2022 and stretching into early 2023, crews employed what we can call a spray and burn method.

First, a hired contractor in a helicopter sprayed an herbicide mixture over the 287-acre project area.

Doing so knocked down the autumn olive and set the table for the next treatment tool – fire.

Crews used drip torches to apply prescribed fire across 226 acres, burning off the invasive plant species prior to that spring and summer’s growing season.

The habitat stewardship project improved forage for elk, whitetail deer, black bears, wild turkey, grouse and other wildlife.

And since the Tomblin Wildlife Management Area is close to Kentucky’s elk range, the work may benefit elk from there too.

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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Faster Silencer ATF Approvals Are Here!

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/faster-silencer-atf-approvals-are-here/

How Long Does It Take To Get Approved For A Suppressor?

As you gear up for this coming elk season, you should seriously consider adding a silencer, like the Banish Backcountry from Silencer Central to your firearm. If you’ve considered it in the past but were unsure about how long the process actually takes – and historically it has been a long time – you may have put off the purchase. Well, the current approval times from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) to get your eForm 4 through the approval process, get your Federal Tax Stamp issued and get your suppressor are at historically low times.

 

Why the wait?

Silencers were included in the National Firearms Act of 1934, and therefore require a Federal Tax Stamp and an approval. Until December 2022, the approval process was still based on the paper application process from 1936. Yes, you read that right. The current head of the NFA branch of the ATF saw just how outdated the system was when he started working the approval process himself. With the process moving to digital and with the built-in redundancies being ironed out, the process is getting faster all the time.

Silencer Central works hand-in-hand with the ATF leadership and has a handle on the process. Currently, the average wait times for approvals is getting better every month. Here are Silencer Central’s current average approval times:

  • Approval for eForm 4 for a trust filing: 119 days
  • Approval for eForm 4 individual filing: 3 days

Keep in mind that these are averages and your results may vary.

 

Trust vs Individual

Silencer Central is in favor of the trust application due to the flexibility and peace of mind it gives you with how you use, allow others to use, and how you pass your silencer to the next generation. This feeling is so strong that Silencer Central offers the setup of a legal trust as a free option to its customers.

Individual filing has been popular as of late for the main reason you might have guessed – you can get it much faster. In fact, the ATF informed Silencer Central CEO Brandon Maddox that some individual approvals were happening in real time!

Another factor to consider is batch approvals, which the ATF now does as well. A batch approval means that if you have an application in the approval process, and you decide to buy another suppressor, which will require another application, the ATF recognizes that you have multiple applications in the pipeline, and when one application is approved, any other application you may have in the process will be approved at the same time. This means that not only is it a great time to buy a silencer, but it is also a great time to buy additional suppressors if you are planning to.

Approvals are happening faster than ever.

 

What does this all mean for you?

If you’ve been considering adding a silencer to your firearm, it is a great time. You can add a hearing protection device to your firearm, enjoy increased accuracy, and lower felt recoil. You stand a good chance of getting on int time for hunting season, too.

For more information, go to https://www.silencercentral.com/shop/silencers/ for more information. Happy hunting!

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Investing in the Future of Elk

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/investing-in-the-future-of-elk/

(Photo credit: Sonia Stewart Photography)

Lasting Legacies

by Gentry Hale

Marvin and Carolyn Johnson joined RMEF’s Trails Society to help protect the wild country they love.

It was on the third day of a 2017 muzzleloader hunt near Silverton, Colorado, that Marvin Johnson got a shot at the biggest elk of his life. The weather was perfect—a cool and fresh morning. He’d spotted the 300-inch bull the evening before and rose early to get into position before daylight. Marvin’s single call brought the bull to within 60 yards, and he made a perfect shot.
While packing it out, he paused and took a photo of the breathtaking mountainous landscape that stretched for miles. He sent the photo to Randy Waterhouse, RMEF’s former southeast regional director, along with a photo of his elk, and wrote: “These are the two reasons I’m passionate about RMEF.”  Marvin, 70, and his wife Carolyn, 63, have been married 28 years and live with their cat Pete in Timnath, Colorado, on the outskirts of Fort Collins, with sweeping views of the foothills of the Front Range. The retired couple plays golf nine months of the year, heading to southern California for the winter to keep the balls rolling. But between swings, Marvin still finds time to get into the backcountry and hunt. 


Originally from northern Indiana, Marvin grew up hunting deer and fishing with friends in the Midwestern woods. He studied business and graduated from Purdue, then got a job working at a bank. After about eight years he went to work for an insurance holding company before spending the last two decades of his career in the insurance brokerage business.
Carolyn came from the West Coast—Los Angeles. She was a studious and musically talented child, but always had an adventurous side. She rode her motorcycle to high school and eventually to college at California State University, Los Angeles, where she earned a business degree, leading to her 40‑year career in the financial services industry.


The two met in Louisville, Kentucky, at a health club aerobics class in 1991. Staying active and healthy is an integral part of their lifestyles, so meeting in that way just made sense. Today, they still exercise six days per week, riding bikes, working with a personal trainer and going to the gym. And they make it a point to get up into “higher altitude and to enjoy the vast public lands of Colorado” a few times each year, says Marvin. 


Together they have traveled the globe, procuring a deep appreciation of various landscapes and cultures, but found nowhere quite as magnetizing as the American West. Jutting mountain ranges, abundant public land and ample hunting opportunities reeled them in, and in 2019 they purchased their Colorado home. “It’s a healthy lifestyle to be out in the wilderness—we moved to Colorado to be closer to more wilderness and the mountains, and of course because of Marvin’s love for hunting,” Carolyn says, adding that it is RMEF’s land conservation efforts that speak to her the most. 


Marvin became an RMEF member in November 2001 following his first elk hunt in Colorado earlier that same year. “Seeing firsthand exactly what the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation does, what it stands for and how efficient it is, and really just the enthusiasm that volunteers and its employees had for the mission—it just kind of permeated over into me as well,” says Marvin. He became a Life Member in 2013, then the couple joined the Habitat Council and later became members of the Trails Society to further their support for elk country.


The Trails Society is a group of donors who have chosen to include RMEF as a beneficiary in their estate planning through a will, life insurance policy, retirement account or other vehicle. Marvin and Carolyn completed the simple process of adding RMEF as a beneficiary of their IRA account. Recognition in the Trails Society includes a pin as a token of RMEF’s appreciation, the members’ names in the recognition kiosk at the Elk Country Visitor Center and invitations to exclusive activities. Members can remain anonymous if they choose. “They are both very passionate about our mission,” says Darren Delong, RMEF’s central development director, adding that Marvin and Carolyn have a “passion for life and they live life to the fullest.”


Marvin says they both appreciate the wildness of the West, and although they know RMEF’s footprint stretches far beyond, they wanted to do what they could to protect that wild country they love. They are continually impressed by all RMEF does for land conservation and public access. “That’s what’s important to us—that we are doing something that will make a difference forever,” he says.

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