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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Ataya, KY – onX Public Access Project

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/ataya-ky-onx-public-access-project/

Ataya, KY

Wins for elk, other wildlife, hunting and especially public access and conservation don’t get much bigger than this one.

In late 2023, a four-way partnership between the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources or KDFWR, The Nature Conservancy and National Fish and Wildlife Foundation completed a legacy project in the heart of Appalachian elk range.

The Cumberland Forest-Ataya landscape-scale voluntary conservation and perpetual access agreement protects 54,636 acres in eastern Kentucky for sustainable forestry, drinking water security, wildlife habitat and, of course, public recreational access.

Plus, it connects 274,000 acres of conservation land stretching into neighboring Tennessee – a landscape that’s home to elk, whitetail, black bears, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, migratory songbirds and other wildlife and aquatic species.

This latest conservation milestone comes 26 years after RMEF supplied vital funding and volunteer support to help with the successful restoration of wild elk to their historic Kentucky range, and 22 years after the state’s first managed elk hunt.

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

Since 1984 – RMEF has opened or improved public access to 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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If These Walls Could Talk – Davis Tent

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/if-these-walls-could-talk-davis-tent/

Trevon Stoltzfus goes over the history of Davis Tent.

Founded in 1955 in Denver, Colorado, Davis Tent has spent decades perfecting the art of crafting high-quality canvas tents and outdoor gear. From its humble beginnings, the company has grown to become a cornerstone in the outdoor equipment industry, known for its unwavering commitment to durability and superior craftsmanship.

Davis Tent’s products are celebrated for their exceptional quality, making them a preferred choice for hunting, camping, and various outdoor activities. Their tents are not only durable but also designed to withstand the rigors of the wilderness, providing reliable shelter that outdoor enthusiasts and professionals alike can depend on.

Over the years, Davis Tent has continually innovated, adapting to the changing needs of its customers while maintaining the high standards that have earned their trust. Their versatile designs cater to a wide range of applications, ensuring that whether you’re on a recreational adventure or a professional expedition, you have the best possible equipment at your disposal.

Today, Davis Tent remains a trusted name in the industry, synonymous with quality and reliability. Their dedication to excellence has made them a beloved brand among outdoor aficionados, cementing their legacy as a leader in the field of outdoor gear and canvas tents.

For great how-to guides and detailed instructions, explore their website or check out some of their recent blog posts:

Repairing Your Canvas Tent

Measuring for a Rain Fly

Frequently Asked Questions about Canvas Wall Tents

You can also connect with them on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.

The post If These Walls Could Talk – Davis Tent appeared first on Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

An Elk Rifle for Every Budget

https://www.rmef.org/elk-network/an-elk-rifle-for-every-budget/

This is the first installment of a three-part series from our friends at Christensen Arms. Stay tuned each month for the next segment. The final part will feature a giveaway with Christensen Arms gift cards: $500 for first place, and $250 for both second and third place winners.

NOTE: Gift cards can only be used on the christensenarms.com web store, and cannot be used to purchase firearms.


 

You can spend $500 or $5,000 dollars on an elk rifle, but what do higher-priced guns have to offer, and are they worth it?

Walk through the doors at any major sporting goods store in America and you’ll see rows of hunting rifles priced anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The question, then, is how much do you really need to spend to own a gun that is suitable for elk hunting?

That’s a deceptively complex question. There’s a difference between needs and wants, and while many different brands and models of elk rifles will serve you well in the field, you’ll need to decide which features are most important to you and whether or not you are willing to pay a premium for those features.

Consider elk rifles the same way you would a vehicle. A new pickup truck costs more than an economy car, and both will get you to and from work, to the grocery store, and to PTO meetings. However, if you need to pull something heavy or transport a piece of furniture the truck has advantages that make it far more suitable for the task at hand. Rifles are much the same. A basic rifle that’s well designed and accurate will work in the field. But if you want a rifle that is customizable and very light, you’re likely to have to pay more for those features.

Entry Level Versus Elite: A Look at Christensen Arms’ New Rifles for 2024

This year Christensen Arms introduced two new centerfire hunting rifles: the Evoke and Modern Carbon Rifle (MCR). Both guns are backed by an accuracy guarantee—in fact, every new Evoke Christensen Arms produces will be shot at the factory in Gunnison, Utah, for proven accuracy—and both benefit from Christensen’s quality manufacturing and attention to detail. The Evoke ranges in price from $898 to $1,048 while the MCR carries a starting MSRP of $2,399. That’s a dramatic difference, but these are two very different hunting rifles.

Let’s begin by examining the Evoke. The base model features a steel Christensen Arms receiver and #4 contour stainless steel barrel, which is button rifled, hand lapped, and features a match chamber. The metalwork comes with a Cerakote® ceramic finish and the stock is synthetic, so this is a rifle that will stand up well to the elements. It also comes with some nice upgrades like a TriggerTech® trigger, an RFR muzzle brake, hybrid target/sporter grip angle, and an integrated Picatinny rail section on the forearm that allows you to easily mount a bipod on the gun. There’s also a Mossy Oak version available with a camouflage stock, and the Hunter version is equipped with a 0-MOA Picatinny optics rail for mounting a scope—as is the Precision model. Step up to the line-topping Evoke Precision and you add an FFT (Flash Forged Technology) adjustable carbon fiber cheek riser, a hex engraving pattern on the stock, and Christensen’s cool Hex Camo stock. The Precision model also features an ARCA rail section on the forearm.

All Evoke rifles are backed by a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee, and they’re all tough enough and accurate enough for any elk hunt. But the new MCR adds several features that aren’t available on the Evoke, including a beautiful FFT carbon fiber stock with a push button-adjustable carbon fiber cheek riser and a Christensen Arms Aerograde® hand-lapped, button rifled carbon fiber barrel with match chamber and threaded muzzle with RFR baffle brake. A 20-MOA rail also comes standard on the MCR, as does a skeletonized bolt handle with a carbon fiber knob and adjustable TriggerTech® trigger. The stock features a hybrid grip angle, and in addition to the Picatinny rail section that’s similar to the Evoke, the MCR also comes with two QD attachment points, M-Lok attachment points underneath the forearms, and stock spacers that allow the owner to adjust length of pull. Like the Evoke, all MCRs are backed by a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee.

When you examine the spec sheet for both rifles, the first thing you’ll notice is that the MCR has a starting weight that’s a pound less than the Evoke (6.7 and 7.7 pounds, respectively). The Evoke’s steel construction and synthetic stock work well in elk country, but the MCR’s carbon fiber stock and barrel cut weight considerably. If you’ve ever hiked miles in thin-air altitudes, you understand the dramatic difference a pound of weight savings makes.

The MCR also comes with a 20-MOA rail, which is particularly beneficial when shooting long range. The Evoke Hunter’s 0-MOA rail will work for most hunters, but if you really want to reach out for long-range hunting, target shooting, or matches, the added MOAs built into the optics rail makes that simpler. The MCR’s stock is also more customizable than that of the Evoke. With the array of M-LOK, QD, and Picatinny attachment points on the MCR, you can customize your bipod, sling, and other accessories as you wish. I have come to prefer a QD sling and M-LOK bipod for my hunts, and with the MCR I can attach both to my gun without modification. The MCR also allows you to quickly adjust cheek riser height and length of pull, which is beneficial for hunting and target shooting.

Are both rifles capable of cleanly harvesting an elk when they’re chambered in appropriate calibers and when the hunter does their job? Absolutely. But perhaps the deciding factor is limited finances, and if that’s the case the Evoke offers a great value without sacrificing some important premium features. If you’re willing or able to pay more for a MCR, it’s money well spent because you’ll shave weight and the rifle can easily be customized by the owner to fit their needs and hunting style.

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