Event Success: Waterfowling for Elk
Don Blakley, RMEF vice president of operations for Region One (left), joined RMEF Habitat Partner Rob Williams (center) and his friend Gordon Rhine (right) for an RMEF waterfowl hunt in North Carolina. A local RMEF chapter has found success inviting supporters to hunt birds and talk about elk and the RMEF mission. The outings help build relationships and increase the network of RMEF donors.
Tundra swans, ducks and geese bob in the sunlit water outside of this “down east” duck hunting lodge. Inside, RMEF guests talk elk, habitat and shotgun strategies for the next morning’s waterfowl hunt.
Though an unlikely mix of subjects, birds and big game have come together on the water for the past seven years at a lodge near Lake Mattamuskeet in Hyde County on the coast of North Carolina.
It’s an unexpected sort of RMEF donor gathering, and one that works well for sharing the RMEF mission and making personal connections with major supporters.
We entertain numerous Major Gift donors each year at a lodge that a generous donor lets us use. They come to experience Lake Mattamuskeet, a fresh-water lake nestled near the salt-water Pamlico Sound. The 50,000-acre lake averages only a three-foot depth or, as the locals say, it’s “a swan’s neck deep.”
Legend has it the lake was formed by a prehistoric underground peat fire some 20,000 years ago that left a depression that fills with rainwater and runoff. Today about 50,000 tundra swans and hundreds of thousands of ducks and geese winter there. From early November through early March, the distinctive calls of the tundra swans can be heard nearly 24 hours a day as they fly from the lake to the fields to feed.
Understandably, guests enjoy the area and the comfortable lodge, filled with wildlife art and duck decoy decor that reflects the hunting passion. We have entertained numerous prospects and donors here throughout the years, some of whom have donated millions of dollars to RMEF’s mission.
Don Blakley, RMEF vice president of operations in the East, and I serve as hunting guides along with one of our local friends who donates his time for our RMEF activities. Together, we entertain our RMEF guests on behalf of elk country.
Our guests have been highly successful on waterfowl but, more importantly, we have been successful in building strong supportive relationships for RMEF while providing people the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
Although the majestic elk is the focus of the RMEF mission, we are really in the people business. Donations and membership translates to a conservation capacity for the Elk Foundation. These surroundings allow us to bare our elk testimony and relate the importance and efficiency of the organization. The results at the end of the day are the successes of a few ducks in the bag and more mission accomplishments for RMEF.
Major Gift Officer