ALABAMA—Volunteers from the Huntsville Chapter, backed by an RMEF state grant, pitched in to help run the Alabama Disabled Veterans Deer Hunt last December and give it a bit of an elk twist, too. During the weekend event at Paint Rock Hunting Club, volunteers transported and guided hunters, cooked meals and provided lodging for four veterans. In addition, they passed out “goodie” bags packed with Bugle magazines, hats, knives and info about RMEF—providing participants with a chance to learn about elk and the Elk Foundation’s mission. “The soldiers carried the thrill of this back to base with them,” says RMEF regional director Randy Waterhouse. “I received several emails saying how grateful they are to the Huntsville Chapter and RMEF for thinking of and honoring them in this way.” Way to go Alabama volunteers!
NEVADA—A little help from your friends is a good thing when you’re rolling out an 100x22-foot sheet of polyethylene tarp. This past summer, Elk Foundation volunteers pitched in to help install two 1,800-gallon guzzlers and a water collection skirt in the Horse Range area of the White Pine Mountains. Water guzzlers catch and store rain and snow runoff to provide a dependable resource for wildlife in an area with ample feed but little water. Crews built a pipe-rail fence around the tanks to keep livestock out while providing wildlife with safe and easy access. The two guzzlers work in tandem. Once the first guzzler fills, its overflow runs down to the second. Volunteers have now installed 10 guzzlers in this ongoing project in the Ely Ranger District. Livestock and wild horses compete with wildlife for limited water in this area, and wildlife managers hope these guzzlers will increase elk numbers to objective levels and better distribute deer and elk into unused portions of the range.
OREGON—Reedsport Chapter chair, Kirby Boyd may be a quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of working for elk and other wildlife. For the second year in a row, Boyd, who is also Oregon state development team leader, put together a volunteer crew to clean up elk habitat on the Siuslaw National Forest. On August 1, 2009, nine volunteers from the South Coast Chapter helped the U. S. Forest Service cut overgrown grass, blackberries and thistles down to a 4-inch height across five acres. The project allows for easier access for wildlife and provides a critical forage plot for the elk during green-up after the autumn rains.
WISCONSIN—RMEF volunteers from six Wisconsin chapters gathered at the Delano Lake conservation easement during summer 2009 to help make the property a little safer for the Clam Lake elk herd. Their mission: to remove a mile-long, 4-foot-high, woven-wire fence built around the lake in the 1920s to keep farmed beavers in and predators out. The crew also helped install a gate to keep out motorized vehicles. The Delano Lake easement has been enrolled into a state program that opens it to hunting, fishing, berry picking and other public recreation. Many of Wisconsin’s elk use the property in the spring, fall and winter, and the landowner has worked with RMEF and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on several projects, including creating forage openings and radio collaring elk. The projects help ensure the Clam Lake herd continues to have a safe place to roam, calve, rut and survive the winter.