Partner Recognition: Leupold

(Left to right: RMEF President & CEO Kyle Weaver, Leupold President & CEO Bruce Pettet & RMEF Chief Revenue Officer Steve Decker)

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognized four long-time sponsors at its 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Leupold began as a family business in 1907 by creating water level and flow recorders, stream gauging and surveying equipment, and other scientific instruments. While hunting in the 1940s, Marcus Leupold missed shooting a buck because his scope fogged up. “Hell, I could build a better scope than this,” he said. And so, the company took a new direction focusing on innovative rifle scopes and eventually binoculars and other optics.

Based in Beaverton, Oregon, Leupold is an outdoor industry leader. It bought Bugle magazine ads early in RMEF’s history, helping the fledgling organization establish a foothold in the conservation world.

RMEF presented Leupold President & CEO Bruce Pettet with a framed image of that initial ad. Below are his words at the RMEF celebration.

First of all, I want to say we’re honored to be part of this. It’s incredibly humbling. The small part that we’ve been able to play as a partner to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. I’m thankful for that and appreciate all of you in this room and what you do to support, not only for elk but conservation. It’s incredibly important. We have a responsibility to leave what we do to future generations and what we have and try to make it better. That’s the thing that I think RMEF has done. It’s not only conserved elk and elk habitat but it’s got a mission to continually do it better every single day. That’s so important. To be here with the other partners –Weatherby, Cabela’s, Browning– I’m honored to be part of that too because those are great brands. I’m just so thankful. We have 750 people in Oregon that make rifle scopes every day and I can tell you that every one of them is passionate about what we do and about elk so thank you so much.

We make our scopes in Oregon, and we have the ability to customize things. We’ve had to work hard on capacity and building scopes the last few years, so we had kind of slowed that down, but we decided we’d open that thing back up to make a custom scope for two guys and (RMEF co-founder) Charlie (Decker), you’re one of them. We made a custom scope for you and (RMEF co-founder) Bob (Munson). That’s what I think is the best elk hunting story on the planet right there.

The post Partner Recognition: Leupold appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Partner Recognition: Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s

(left to right: RMEF President & CEO Kyle Weaver, Missoula Cabela’s General Manager Jeff Friesen, & RMEF Chief Revenue Officer Steve Decker)

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognized four long-time sponsors at its 40th Anniversary Celebration.

Bass Pro Shops began in the smallest of spots – eight square feet. That is how much room the father of Johnny Morris gave his son to sell fishing tackle in the back of his liquor store in Springfield, Missouri. The rest, as they say, is history. An avid angler and hunter, Morris now has nearly 200 retail stores and marine centers across North America. That total includes Cabela’s operations that came under the Bass Pro Shops umbrella as part of a 2016 merger.

RMEF and Bass Pro Shops/Cabela’s also collaborate on various projects. One of them took place in 2023 during the summer in Wyoming. The volunteer project focused on removing old, woven wire fencing and replacing it with wildlife-friendly fencing in the Bighorn National Forest. As it stood, passage was extremely difficult for elk, pronghorn antelope, mule deer, moose and other wildlife.

Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s supported RMEF for four decades, contributing millions to land conservation and access, habitat stewardship and wildlife management projects. Thanks to that partnership with RMEF, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s so far helped conserve more than 28,736 acres of habitat, enhance more than 39,864 acres of habitat and open or improved access to more than 144,869 acres.

Cabela’s was among the first advertisers in RMEF’s Bugle magazine in 1984.

RMEF presented Jeff Friesen, general manager of the Cabela’s store in Missoula, Montana, with a framed image of that initial ad (see below).


The post Partner Recognition: Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

1984: What Else Happened Besides the Beginning of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation

(RMEF’s first headquarters in Troy, Montana – 1984)

On May 14, 1984, four elk hunters living in or near the small northwest Montana community of Troy officially launched a conservation organization with a goal to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. The story of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is one of faith, courage, resilience, determination and hard work.

Outside the world of elk and conservation, 1984 was a year to remember for many other reasons including news, politics, sports, entertainment, music, culture and other happenings.

May 14, 1984

  • The 135th day of the year 1984 in the Gregorian calendar, under the sign of Taurus
  • It was a Monday
  • The generation was a Millennial

First issue of Bugle magazine published in the fall of 1984

1984 News Events

  • Apple Macintosh introduces its personal computer (cost $2,500) via a bizarre commercial
  • Bill Gates introduced the floppy disk
  • The U.S. restores diplomatic ties with the Vatican
  • Michael Jackson’s hair caught fire from pyrotechnics while filming a Pepsi commercial & rushed to hospital
  • First successful test tube baby is born
  • New law makes it illegal for those under age 21 to buy or possess alcohol
  • Space Shuttle Discovery takes off on maiden voyage
  • Terrorist drives explosive-filled car into U.S. Embassy in Beirut, killing 24
  • Ronald Reagan defeats Walter Mondale in a landslide victory to maintain the presidency
  • Britain and China sign an agreement to return Hong Kong to China in 1997
  • Scientists identified the cause of AIDS

An early ad in RMEF’s Wapiti Newsletter.

Famous 1984 Births

  • Brad Keselowski, NASCAR driver (2/12)
  • Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (5/14)
  • Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook (5/14)
  • Dustin Johnson, golfer (6/22)
  • Khloe Kardashian, reality TV (6/27)
  • Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (9/15)
  • Avril Lavigne, singer-songwriter (9/27)
  • Lindsey Vonn, skier (10/18)
  • Katy Perry, pop singer (10/25)
  • Scarlett Johansson, actress (11/22)
  • LeBron James, professional basketball (12/30)

A dirty job but someone had to do it, right?

1984 Sports

  • Los Angeles Raiders defeat Washington Redskins to win Super Bowl XVII
  • Sarajevo, Yugoslavia hosts XIV Winter Olympic Games (Soviet Union tops field with 25 medals)
  • Georgetown defeats Houston to win NCAA basketball championship
  • Boston Celtics defeat Los Angeles Lakers to win NBA championship
  • Edmonton Oilers win the NHL’s Stanley Cup by defeating the New York Islanders
  • Soviet Union announces boycott of 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles (USA tops field with 174 medals)
  • John McEnroe & Martina Navratilova win both Wimbledon & the US Open
  • Detroit Tigers defeat San Diego Padres to win the World Series
  • BYU defeats Michigan to clinch NCAA football championship

A membership card issued just 43 days after RMEF opened its doors

1984 Entertainment

  • Terms of Endearment wins five Oscars
  • TV show Happy Days is cancelled after 11 seasons
  • The cult film This is Spinal Tap is released
  • Hour-long informercials became a thing
  • John Hughes released the first of a string of Brat Pack movies with “Sixteen Candles”
  • Alex Trebek takes over as host of Jeopardy

An RMEF historical timeline

Domestic Box Office Top Movies

  1. Ghostbusters
  2. Indians Jones and the Temple of Doom
  3. Gremlins
  4. The Karate Kid
  5. Police Academy
  6. Footloose
  7. Beverly Hills Cop
  8. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  9. Terms of Endearment
  10. Romancing the Stone

Outdoor industry icon/writer Jim Zumbo addressing an early RMEF gathering

1984 Music

Academy of Country Music Awards

Entertainer of the Year: Alabama

Single of the Year:            Islands in the Stream – Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton

Top Male Vocalist:           Lee Greenwood

Top Female Vocalist:       Janie Fricke

Grammy Awards

Record of the Year – Beat It, Michael Jackson

Album of the Year – Thriller, Michael Jackson

Song of the year – Every Breath You Take, The Police

Best New Artist – Culture Club

36 musicians from Britain/Ireland record “Do They Know It’s Christmas” to raise money for Ethiopian famine victims

Early on, growth was slow but steady 

Billboard Year-End Hot 100 Singles

  1. When Doves Cry – Prince
  2. What’s Love Got to Do with It – Tina Turner
  3. Say, Say, Say – Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson
  4. Footloose – Kenny Loggins
  5. Against All Odds – Phil Collins
  6. Jump – Van Halen
  7. Hello – Lionel Richie
  8. Owner of a Lonely Heart – Yes
  9. Ghostbuster – Ray Parker, Jr.
  10. Karma Chameleon – Culture Club

RMEF life member and elk caller extraordinaire Wayne Carlton addressed a crowd

1984 Popular Video Games

  • Agent USA
  • Duck Hunt
  • Space Invaders
  • Asteroids
  • Galaxian

Kaboth wins early elk calling contest

1984 Popular TV Shows

  • Dynasty
  • Dallas
  • The Cosby Show
  • 60 Minutes
  • Family Ties

1984 Popular Toys

  • Cabbage Patch Kids
  • Transformers
  • GI Joe action figures
  • My Pony
  • Masters of the Universe action figures

Auction helpers at a big game banquet in Houston, Texas

1984 Fashion

Women: long sweaters, fishnet stockings, leggings, giant shoulder pads, fingerless gloves, jumpsuits, oversized scarves, miniskirts & spandex cycling shorts

Men: Hawaiian shirts, flannel, shell suits, parachute pants & wool sport coats

Speaking of fashion, what’s better than red, full-body long johns with an RMEF logo on them?

1984 Miscellaneous Stuff

  • Wendy’s unveiled its “Where’s the Beef?” TV ads
  • Van Halen released an album titled “1984” on January 9, 1984
  • The first CD players are introduced
  • Baby on Board signs marketed in the U.S.
  • More than 20 million Trivial Pursuit games sold
  • Hulk Hogan became the WWF champion (sorry, we couldn’t put this in the sports category)
  • President Reagan declared July as National Ice Cream Month, calling it a “nutritious and wholesome food”

Meanwhile, back in Montana…

The post 1984: What Else Happened Besides the Beginning of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Tips Sought on Cow Elk Poached in Western Montana

Below is a news release from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. For 2024-2025, 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 game wardens are seeking information on a cow elk that was killed on Wednesday, April 17 in Ravalli County near the town of Victor.

The elk was shot and left on private property off Pleasant View Drive, near the intersection of Bumpy Lane in Victor. The elk was shot with a high-power rifle out of season, and the meat was left to waste, a violation of state hunting regulations.

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 parks regulations, visit, call the FWP violation reporting hotline at 1-800-TIP-MONT (1-800-847-6668), or call FWP Game Warden Kevin Smith directly at 406-369-5738. Callers may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.

(Photo credit: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

The post Tips Sought on Cow Elk Poached in Western Montana appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Prescribed Burn Enhances Northwest Montana Wildlife Habitat

Below is a Facebook post from the Flathead National Forest.

Thank you to our firefighters and fire & fuels managers for another round of successful prescribed burning conducted across the forest last week.

These photos are from the 220-acre Burnt Grouse 2.0 unit, approximately seven miles southwest of Olney near Good Creek.

Within this particular area, the Flathead Hotshot Crew assisted engines and firefighters in reducing fuel loading in the wildland urban interface by completing 170 acres of treatment.

This work enhances winter range for big game by increasing the amount of forage available. A special shoutout to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation as this was work was partially funded in partnership through their organization!

Our employees will continue to conduct prescribed burns across the forest as conditions allow to reduce wildfire hazards, promote revegetation efforts, and increase the diversity of vegetation conditions. Please contact your local office if you have specific questions.

(Photo credit: Flathead National Forest)


The post Prescribed Burn Enhances Northwest Montana Wildlife Habitat appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Mild Idaho Winter Bodes Well for Elk Calf, Deer Fawn Survival

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

Statewide winter survival for mule deer fawns and elk calves fitted with tracking collars has shown to be slightly higher than average through the end of March.

“From a statewide perspective, winter survival is tracking very close to what we’ve seen prior to last year’s brutal winter,” said Fish and Game’s Deer and Elk Coordinator, Toby Boudreau. “That should help eastern Idaho’s mule deer herds, but it’s going to take more than one mild winter for them to recover.”

A glimpse into winter survival

Winter survival is typically the biggest single factor affecting mule deer herds, and the long-term average is about 60 percent of fawns surviving their first winter, but during hard winters that can be significantly lower. To monitor herds, Fish and Game biologists in early winter captured and collared 217 mule deer fawns and 151 elk calves in various parts of the state to track their survival over winter.

By the end of February, 92% of the collared fawns and 95% of the collared calves were still alive, and here’s how that compares with recent years:

  • 72% fawns and 92% calves in 2022-23
  • 84% fawns and 92% calves in 2021-22
  • 83% fawns and 92% calves in 2020-21
  • 84% fawns and 92% calves in 2019-20
  • 78% fawns and 93% calves in 2018-19
  • 88% fawns and 91% calves in 2017-18

While the big story last year focused on the severity of winter and its impact on eastern Idaho’s deer herds, this year shows a little more optimism.

“Last year was a really hard year on our southeastern herds,” Boudreau said. “By March 9 of last year, the southeast portion of the state was at roughly 145% of its typical snowpack. Critical deer and elk wintering ranges—including Portneuf, Montpelier, Georgetown Summit and Blackfoot WMA —were hit hard by the winter weather.”

Rebounding from harsh winters

The best thing for recovering deer herds following a brutal winter is a series of mild winters that follow. This winter definitely fit that description, and thus gave recovering mule deer herds in east Idaho some much needed reprieve, and the latest reports from Fish and Game collar data support that.

Through the end of March 2024, 82% of fawns and 93% of calves (with tracking collars) have neared the finish line on another winter. But the race isn’t over just yet.

Depending on weather, March and April are often when fawn and calf mortality is the highest because the young animals’ fat reserves are largely depleted, and their digestive systems need time to convert to digesting fresh, green forage.

“Right now, in the middle of April, things are looking promising for both deer and elk,” Boudreau said. “We’ll know for sure what survival will look like in the coming month, after we’ve tallied up the final numbers. But this is exactly what we were hoping for—a much-needed mild winter.”

For mule deer fawns in particular, a stretch of cold, wet weather in the early spring can substantially decrease survival, and biologists can see winter-related mortality as late as May.

Why it all matters

Fawn and calf survival is critical to growing herds or sustaining current populations. The survival of young mule deer has a direct relation to the fall deer harvest because yearling bucks typically make up a significant portion of the overall mule deer harvest.

In addition to all that, knowing how many collared animals die each winter gives Fish and Game wildlife biologists a good estimate of how the rest of the population is faring. And knowing just how many animals—in this case, deer and elk—are out on the landscape is crucial when it comes to setting seasons and providing hunting opportunities.

For more information on this topic and other deer and elk information, check out the video below, or go to Fish and Game’s State of Deer and Elk webpage. Fish and Game have put together a robust series of 10 videos that highlight everything you’ve ever wanted to know about deer and elk, including why surveying matters to why/when Fish and Game step in to feed wintering herds.

(Photo credit: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

The post Mild Idaho Winter Bodes Well for Elk Calf, Deer Fawn Survival appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Information Sought about Elk Shot, Left to Waste in Northeast Wyoming

Below is a news release from the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. For 2024-2025, Fiocchi partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching.   

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is seeking information on three elk that were illegally shot and left to waste southeast of Wright.

On April 24, a member of the public discovered and reported two dead bull elk while recreating on public land in the Rochelle Hills area near Mackey Road.

During the investigation, a cow elk was also discovered along with evidence the elk were shot multiple times from a distance, then shot in the head at close range. The elk were likely killed several days prior to the investigation.

Anyone with possible information about this incident, or who was in the area and may have noted suspicious vehicles or activities, is encouraged to call South Gillette Game Warden Andy Enscore at 307-687-7157, the Sheridan Game and Fish office at (307) 672-7418 or the Stop Poaching Hotline at 1-877-WGFD-TIP (1-877-943-3847). Callers may remain anonymous and any information leading to an arrest and conviction may result in a reward of up to $5,000.

(Photo credit: Wyoming Game & Fish Department)

The post Information Sought about Elk Shot, Left to Waste in Northeast Wyoming appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.