RMEF Members Help Defeat South Dakota Bill


More than 100 members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation weighed in. South Dakota lawmakers listened and took action. By a vote of 38-27, the legislature defeated a bill that would have allowed new owners of private properties with permanent conservation protections to nullify them after the death of the previous owner who originally agreed to them.

RMEF had grave concerns with the legislation because it would have voided the long-term intentions of landowners who place conservation easements on their properties in order to protect their wildlife values in perpetuity. Additionally such a roll-back would devalue the investments made by agencies and land trusts and potentially degrade wildlife habitat.

RMEF holds and manages 19 conservation easements with private landowners across South Dakota, allowing them to maintain agricultural uses while also protecting wildlife habitat on more than 28,000 acres.

(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)

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Secretary Bernhardt Stops Mountain Goal Cull


U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt suspended an operation designed to remove nonnative mountain goats from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Crews already removed 36 of the planned 100 animals when the order came down.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department (WGFD) and Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon strongly objected to removal of mountain goats via aerial gunning. The Jackson Hole News & Guide reports the National Park Service (NPS) will now use ground-based trained volunteers under supervision of NPS personnel with the meat distributed to volunteers or food banks.

WGFD and the NPS both agree the animals need to be removed but disagreed on the previous method.

Wildlife managers maintain that nonnative mountain goats carry pathogens that, if transmitted to bighorn sheep could quickly trigger pneumonia and death to a native species already struggling in numbers.

(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

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Help Find Kentucky Elk Poacher


Game wardens in Kentucky need your help finding who killed two bull elk in Knott County, located in the eastern portion of the state. Someone shot and killed the animals on February 20 in the Ball Creek area.

If you have any information, call the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources’ tip line at 1-800-25-ALERT or (606) 435-6069. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and several other organizations chipped in toward a $6,000 reward for details leading to an arrest and conviction.

For 2020, Remington partnered with RMEF to increase the visibility of poaching incidents in an effort to reduce poaching nationwide.

(Photo source: Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources)

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Wisconsin Eyes Third Managed Elk Hunt


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will accept applications for the 2020 elk hunting tags March 1 – May 31. This fall marks the third elk hunt in state history.

Once widespread across North America, elk were eliminated from Wisconsin in the 1880s. Thanks to the support of many partners and the backing of Wisconsinites, the herd is back. Elk hunting season is open Oct. 17 – Nov. 15, 2020 and Dec. 10-18, 2020. Only Wisconsin residents are eligible to receive an elk tag.

“While we won’t know exact tag numbers until the Natural Resources Board approves the quota in April, we don’t see anything of concern regarding winter effects on the herd,” said Kevin Wallenfang, DNR deer and elk ecologist. “The northern elk population peaked at about 280 last year, and with over 100 breeding age cows in the herd, we’re anticipating continued herd growth and are confident that a hunt will occur. How many tags that are offered will be determined this spring.”

Elk tag applications can be purchased by Wisconsin residents through the DNR Go Wild license system. Each potential hunter may apply once online at gowild.wi.gov or by visiting a license agent. The application fee is $10. Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation raffle tickets are also $10 each, and there is no limit on the number of raffle tickets an individual may purchase. An elk hunting tag for the winners of the drawing is $49.

RMEF provided both funding and volunteer manpower over several years to assist with the successful restoration of elk to their historic Wisconsin range.

Find more information here about the 2020 Wisconsin elk hunt.

(Photo source: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)

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Idaho Extends Wolf Hunting, Trapping Seasons


The Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted nine proposed modifications to wolf hunting and trapping for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons, extending wolf hunting opportunity, opening more areas to wolf trapping and extending trapping seasons, which all take effect immediately.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently announced there were more than 1,500 wolves in Idaho during the 2019 summer and about 1,000 by year’s end, marking a population more than 500 percent above federal minimum recovery levels.

Fifty-five percent of Idaho residents who submitted public comment supported the proposal.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the state management of all wildlife species – predator and prey alike.

Go here for details.

(Photo source: Idaho Department of Fish and Game)

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Biologists Plead with Public to Stop Attracting Bears


“A fed bear is a dead bear.” That statement continues to ring true in many locations where bears interact with humans. And we’re not just talking about intentionally feeding bears either. Oftentimes, landowners unknowingly lure animals to their property by not bear-proofing, and the results are often deadly for bears.

Recent statistics from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) spell that out. From April 1 to December 31, 2019, CPW received 5,369 bear calls. Here’s the breakdown:

1,728 related to trash

1,171 related to other food attractants (fruit trees, beehives, chicken coops, livestock feed bins)

517 dwelling break-ins

397 related to bird-feeders

303 vehicle break-ins

92 bears euthanized

Biologists urge homeowners to avoid leaving trash outside, build a bear-proof enclosure or install an electric fence; store birdfeeders from March through late November; clean and secure BBQ grills, pet food and livestock feed; keep no food in cars; secure outbuildings and never feed bears.

Find more information here.

(Photo source: Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

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