Elk NetworkElk Habitat, Hunting Heritage Get Boost in Missouri, Arkansas

News Releases | April 23, 2024

MISSOULA, Mont. — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and its partners allocated $294,714* for a dozen conservation and hunting heritage projects in Missouri and Arkansas. RMEF supplied $80,556 which leveraged $217,158 in partner dollars.

Projects range from planting forage, restoring wildlife habitat and funding for research monitoring elk population dynamics to supporting youth outdoor programs.

“These dollars benefit growing elk populations and the enhanced habitat they need in both states,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer. “We’re also pleased to bolster youth archery and recreational shooting teams and other outdoor activities and events.”

There are 10 RMEF chapters in Missouri and five in Arkansas.

“We would not have this funding to put back on the ground if not for our volunteers who host banquets and other events. To them we say, ‘Thank you,’” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO.

Since 1991, RMEF and its partners completed 152 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Missouri with a combined value of more than $3.3 million. These projects enhanced 11,912 acres of habitat.

RMEF’s work in Arkansas dates to 1992 where it helped complete 112 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects valued at more than $5.4 million. These projects conserved or enhanced 80,664 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 514 acres.

Below is a project list, shown by state and county.


Newton County

  • Restore 200 acres of habitat on the Gene Rush Wildlife Management Area to establish new wildlife openings, treat invasive vegetation, reduce erosion and restore existing fire breaks to aid future prescribed burns. The work benefits elk, whitetail deer, wild turkey and other wildlife. The acreage was part of RMEF’s first voluntary conservation agreement (conservation easement) in Arkansas conserved by a landowner and RMEF, and eventually conveyed to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.


  • Co-sponsored the Arkansas Youth Hunter Education Challenge regional event, a program for hunter-certified youth ages 19 and under to advance and test their skills in firearms, archery, ethical hunting, wildlife identification, map and compass orienteering, and more.


Atchison County

  • Provide funding to help grow the Atchison-Holt County 4-H Shooting Sports Club, which offers opportunities for youth ages 8 to 18 to take part in shotgun, rifles and archery disciplines (also benefits Holt County).

Carter County

  • Plant forage across 350 acres of habitat on the Peck Ranch Conservation Area and Ozark National Scenic Riverways, both within the Missouri Elk Restoration Zone (also benefits Reynolds and Shannon Counties).
  • Provide funding to deploy 100 cameras to better estimate the state’s elk population. Current efforts include helicopter surveys (also benefits Reynolds and Shannon Counties).
  • Supply volunteer support to finish removing elk pens and wire from the original restoration project.

Christian County

  • Supply funding for the Chadwick Cardinals Archery Team, a squad of students in grades four through 12 to learn and compete as part of the National Archery in the Schools Program.

Clinton County

  • Supply funding for Clinton County 4-H Shooting Sports, which offers archery instruction and competition for athletes ages 8 to 18 (also benefits Andrew, Buchanan, Caldwell, Clay, DeKalb and Ray Counties).

Cole County

  • Provide funding support for Cole County 4-H Shooting Sports to help youth learn safe and responsible use of firearms and archery equipment in a safe, fun environment (also benefits Miller, Moniteau and Osage Counties).

New Madrid County

  • Supply funding to expand the archery program in Gideon School District No. 37 to include 3D targets and other equipment to accommodate more students.

Wayne County

  • Provide funding for the Boy Scouts of America Perryville Troop 250 to host a fishing tournament (also benefits Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Jefferson, Perry and Scott Counties).


  • Supply funding to support Missouri 4-H Shooting Sports, a program that engages youth in the American traditions of hunting, shooting and conservation. Participants learn teamwork, self-confidence and sportsmanship while taking part in air rifle, air pistol, smallbore rifle, smallbore pistol, archery and other skills.

Project partners include the Missouri Department of Conservation, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, and various conservation, sportsmen and business groups as well as individuals.

(*States received the funding in 2023 but its impact carries over into 2024 and beyond.)

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.