More People are Hunting, Especially Women

Hold on there. It seems hunter participation is not dwindling after all. Data provided by the National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) and National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) indicates 18,108,000 people went hunting in 2019, up from 17,221,000 in 2010 and marking a 5.2 percent increase over the last ten years.

Highlighting that rise in participation over the same time period is a measureable jump among females. NSGA and NSSF information shows 3,924,000 females hunted in 2019 compared to 2,464,000 in 2010. That marks a staggering 59.3 percent increase.

“I was fortunate to grow up in a family that hunts and who instilled in me the values of hunting for food, wildlife management and connection to our natural resources,” said Karie Decker, long-time hunter from Montana and director of habitat stewardship at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “Today, those values persist and I now seek out opportunities to share my experiences with others who are new to hunting and fishing. This tradition is engrained in our culture and I am proud to help sustain it.”

“Within the heart of the hunter is a conservationist that loves wildlife and wild places. These are the principles that are woven into the fabric of our soul,” said Kristy Titus, life-long hunter from Oregon. “And beyond the harvest that brings a bounty to the table of families around the world, the memories made and family ties that are strengthened last this lifetime and beyond. Hunting brings our greatest of joy and allows us to take in the splendor of His creation.”

In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced hunter participation in 2016 dropped by 2 million participants to 11.5 million. That report is conducted every five years and focuses on persons 16 years of age and older compared to the NSGA which compiles information on an annual basis and includes participants age seven and older.

According to the NSGA, more people went hunting in 2019 than took part in golf (17.9 million), motor boating (15.5 million), soccer (14.2 million), baseball (12.2 million), tennis (12.2 million), volleyball (10.6 million) or softball (10.1 million).

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation recognizes the vital role that hunting plays in supporting and funding conservation work. Since 1937, an excise tax on guns, ammunition and archery equipment generated more than $12.2 billion for conservation combined. Licenses and fees paid by hunters accumulate an additional $896 million annually while donations to groups like RMEF generate an additional $440 million each year. All told, hunters generate $1.6 billion annually specifically for conservation.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Gear 101 – Danner Mountain 600

This year, long-time RMEF partner Danner boots created what they call a performance heritage boot, meaning they took a classic-looking hunting booth and gave it some 21st century upgrades. They call it…the Recurve.

With 400 grams of Thinsulate insulation, a breathable mesh lining and optional Danner Dry system, the Recurve can be used all season long. Seven inches of ankle support and a full-grain leather upper keep those classic lines Danner boots are known for. You can even get the boot in Mossy Oak’s bottomland pattern if you want to truly go old-school.

To ensure traction on the nastiest terrain, Vibram’s megagrip lugs dominate in dry or wet conditions. Inside the boot, a nylon shank replaces traditional steel to keep boots lighter and warmer. An open-cell ortholite footbed fights fatigue while a TPU heel clip provides overall support.

With three styles available, you’re sure to find a Recurve that fits your foot and your hunting style.

Learn more at:

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RMEF Supports Recommendations for Conservation Priorities

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports a list of priorities authored by the American Wildlife Conservation Partners (AWCP) to benefit and improve wildlife, habitat, public access and wildlife-associated recreation. The AWCP, a consortium of 50 conservation and hunting organizations including RMEF, spelled out the recommendations for the next White House administration and next two Congresses in Wildlife for the 21st Century: Volume VI.

“These recommendations represent a general agreement of the partners; we urge your consideration and adoption of these recommendations and look forward to working with you to create or reaffirm these federal administrative policies,” said Jennifer Mock Schaeffer, 2019 ACWP Steering Committee chair.

“Adoption of these recommendations will improve federal agencies’ stewardship of our nation’s fish, wildlife, and habitats and enhance access to federal lands and waters for outdoor and wildlife-associated recreation,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer and 2020 ACWP Steering Committee chair. “In addition to our wildlife and wild places, these collaborative actions between federal and state agencies will contribute significantly to the quality of life and economic well-being of citizens and future generations.”

Here are AWCP’s recommendations:

  • Secure permanent and dedicated funding from public and private sources
  • Enhance access for hunters and outdoor recreationists
  • Require collaboration on big game migration corridors and habitats
  • Integrate industry, state and federal wildlife goals early in energy planning
  • Incentivize private landowners to conserve wildlife and habitat, and provide access for hunting
  • Increase active management of federal lands and reduce litigation through collaboration
  • Achieve greater results from an improved Endangered Species Act program
  • Support and assist states in addressing chronic wasting disease and wild sheep pneumonia
  • Focus climate change policy on habitat conservation and restoration
  • Require collaboration for wildlife conservation, hunting and recreational shooting on federal lands

Funding conservation work continues to fall heavily on the shoulders of hunters and anglers. Since 1937, state fish and wildlife agencies received more than $65.1 billion, or 60 percent of their funding, from sportsmen and women via excise taxes on their firearms, ammunition, fishing and boating-related purchases as well as from hunting and fishing licenses.

“RMEF appreciates and values the role hunters and anglers play in supporting conservation. We look forward to working with federal agencies over the next four years to help implement these conservation priorities,” added Henning.

About the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

Founded more than 36 years ago, fueled by hunters and a membership of nearly 235,000 strong, RMEF has conserved more than 7.9 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 or 800-CALL ELK.

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Gear 101 – Danner Mountain 600

A lot of hunters would like to spend the entire fall chasing elk in the high country. But that’s just not a reality for many of us. Maybe we’ll get a week or a couple weekends. And thanks to our friends at Danner, there’s a boot for us weekend warriors. 

The Danner Mountain 600 is a boot that weighs, feels and fits like a gym shoe. The Vibram SPE midsole delivers the comfort and cushioning of a running shoe while the Vibram outsole gives you contoured traction that flexes with the terrain underfoot, be it a scree slope or rocky trail. Vibram’s mega-grip rubber technology gives you the traction of a snow tire on wet and slushy terrain.

But unlike a running shoe, the Mountain 600 is going to keep you dry. Made with lighter weight leather and minimal seams, plus being lined with Danner Dry, the Mountain 600 is obviously made by a company based out of the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest. 

At four and a half inches high, D-ring laces and a shock cord to hold the laces down, these boots have the look of a traditional hunting boot, but don’t require a six-month break-in period.

With around a dozen styles, Danner’s Mountain 600 is worth a test drive at your weekend elk honey hole.

Learn more at:

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Black Bear Euthanized after Breaking into Colorado House, Attacked Homeowner

Below is a news release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The bear involved in the attack on an Aspen homeowner has been euthanized following a short pursuit by wildlife managers. Evidence has been collected from the bear and from the scene of the attack and will be forensically examined to scientifically confirm the bear’s involvement.

“Based on the direct and clear trail that tracking dogs quickly followed, along with the physical description of the bear from witnesses, we’re certain that we got the offending animal,” said Matt Yamashita, Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Area Wildlife Manager, who oversaw the response operation. “We never like to have to put an animal down but the protection of the public is paramount once a bear begins entering homes and responding aggressively toward people.”

The incident began about 1:30 a.m. (7/10/2020) when a homeowner went to check on noises in his home. He encountered a bear in the living area of the home. The bear swiped at the man, striking him in the side of the face and causing severe lacerations to the head, face, and neck. The bear fled the house.

The victim was transported to an Aspen area hospital and then transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. The injuries are severe but not life-threatening. The victim was able to provide some information to wildlife officers at the hospital. No further information on the victim’s condition is available from CPW.

The bear matches the description of a bear that has been frequenting the Castle Creek neighborhood for several days. It may also be the same bear that has been reported for getting into trash in the area for the past couple of years. Past attempts to haze or trap and relocate the bear have been unsuccessful.

This is the first bear attack in Aspen this year. In 2019, wildlife officers responded to three bear-human attacks in the Aspen area. Those attacks all occurred in outdoor settings.

“This is a good time to remind everyone who lives in bear country that they need to be vigilant and responsible,” Yamashita concluded. “Proper management of trash and recycling is the first step to keeping bears away from neighborhoods. Locking doors and windows and keeping cars locked is also important.”

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

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Hunting Is Conservation – Hunting Fosters an Appreciation of Nature, Wildlife & Conservation

“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.”

– Aristotle

But you don’t know if you don’t go. Hunting provides such an opportunity and fosters an appreciation of nature, wildlife and conservation.

A national study conducted in 2017 showed there is massive disconnection between Americans and the outdoors. The majority of 12,000 adults and children surveyed expressed an interest in spending time in nature yet it remains increasingly normal for them to spend little time outside.

Hunting offers an all-sensory experience that widens the eye and opens the mind to the natural world.

It affords the exploration of wild places. Spending time in the mountains, river bottoms, rolling hills and forests, hunting – like no other outdoor activity– offers a first-hand education that makes the hunter increasingly aware of both surroundings and his or her place in the natural world.

They experience the rising of the sun, forests coming to life, changing temperatures and weather patterns; the varying trees, shrubs and vegetation; water sources and the setting of the sun into the stillness of the night.

“Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.”

– Fred Bear

A hunter in search of quarry often has up-close, life-changing experiences with wildlife that may include predator, prey or both together; big game, small mammals, birds, reptiles, aquatic wildlife and even insects.

Here is an example from one hunter’s perspective.

I was in the mountains on a steep finger ridge when a raghorn bull elk climbed directly toward me and stopped at about 20 yards. I dared not move. I swear I thought he could hear my heart pounding. After about two minutes, it finally lowered its head and calmly walked up right past me about 10 yards away. The entire herd about 60 strong then followed in single file…cows, calves, spikes and raghorn bulls. The last elk that passed by was the herd bull…not overly large in body but he carried an impressive 7-by-7 rack of antlers.

Such interactions allow hunters to feel what they are – a part of the natural world around them. They learn tendencies of wildlife – their appearance, behavior, habitat and the ecosystems in which they live.

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.”

– Aldo Leopold

Hunting, whether harvesting game or not, provides a direct link to conservation.

It forms a bond between the hunter and the land, water and wildlife around them.

That connection prompts understanding, knowledge, responsibility and advocacy.

That appreciation of and dedication to conservation, wildlife and nature highlights the fact that Hunting Is Conservation.

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Ouch! Elk Freed from Rat Trap Stuck to Its Lip

A “day at the office” holds a completely different meaning for wildlife officials. For example, take those who work for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) in the northern part of the state.

Officers recently answered a call about a cow elk with a small rat trap stuck to its upper lip. The animal apparently smelled bait intended to lure and capture a rodent and instead triggered the trap’s mechanism on itself.

It happened in Evergreen, about 25 miles west of Denver. Officers tranquilized the elk and removed the trap. They encourage landowners to remove any and all items that may be hazardous for elk and other wildlife.

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

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Bull Elk Rescued from Arizona Canal

Temperatures are steamy hot during the summer in the desert Southwest. Triple digits are the norm near Yuma, Arizona, in the extreme southwest corner of the state so it is not too surprising that a bull elk took a dip in a nearby canal to cool off. Unfortunately, it could not get out because of the canal’s slippery cement bottom and steep banks.

A farmer saw the dilemma and reached out to the Arizona Game and Fish Department for assistance. An officer teamed up with firefighters and other locals to rope and strap it, pull it out and then release it into the desert north of the Gila River Valley.

(Photo source: Arizona Game and Fish Department)

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