Elk NetworkFort Riley, Kansas Forage Enhancement – Restoring Elk Country

Conservation , Restoring Elk Country | August 4, 2021

Elk Army Eradicates Fencing 

At the annual Kansas RMEF rendezvous, Elk Foundation volunteers representing five chapters across the state, some as far as four hours away, arrived with more ranch tools than there was dilapidated fence to remove.

First thing Saturday morning, the crew began tearing down a third of a mile of tangled and rusted barbed-wire on the border between the wildlife area and fort. The project was set to take more than half the day, but after 90 minutes the volunteers had removed the entire section.

RMEF member Lynn Reed with his first bull, killed in his home state on the Fort Riley Army Base just a week after helping fellow volunteers remove a large section of old fencing there.

“Kansans should be proud of their proficiency to help wildlife when they come together,” says RMEF’s Kansas and Missouri regional director Jordan Brown. “These were a bunch of farm guys who’ve been pulling fence their entire lives.”

With plenty of time left for more work, the crew set their sights on another section of fence that needed to come down and began tearing into it with the same fervor. Only when the heavens opened with a downpour did the extended project finally halt.

Unfazed by the storm, the crew found a nearby awning, lit the barbecue, threw on some burgers and brats and started talking hunting.

As it turned out, one of the volunteers, Lynn Reed, was one of the luckiest men in Kansas. He was one of 20 hunters to draw an elk tag from a pool of around 900 applicants for the nearby Army base, and was setting out for his hunt the next week. At 101,000 acres, Fort Riley is the largest unbroken sweep of elk country in the state and home to roughly 120 elk, including some outstanding bulls. 

“A lot of our guys put in for that tag and a lot of their kids put in for that tag, so this work really benefits them directly,” Brown says.

After lunch the volunteers were treated to a tour of the base and got to see areas where Elk Foundation funds helped seed and fertilize elk forage plots covering almost 750 acres. They even spotted three bulls, sending Reed’s already high anticipation into overdrive.

The next week, he returned to the base and put his coveted tag to good use by harvesting a six-point, his first bull.