There are no wild, free-ranging elk in America’s six New England states. In fact, history shows there were few in the past either. Prior to European settlement, more than 10 million elk roamed nearly all of the United States and parts of Canada. Historic elk range covered most or sections of every state in the continental U.S. except Florida and some states in the New England region.
Yet despite that past and recent history, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers in 10 chapters across New England love elk, cherish their hunting heritage and enthusiastically continue to raise funds and awareness to benefit RMEF’s mission.
“Our volunteers are a special breed,” said Tim Foster, RMEF regional director in New England. “We have outstanding volunteers and members who show by their actions that they care about elk, the RMEF and our mission. Many of them cross state lines and drive many hours to attend multiple banquets each year. To me, that’s inspirational.”
Funds generated by volunteers go back on the ground in their home states for a series of hunting heritage and conservation outreach projects ranging from archery, shooting sports and other outdoor skills to natural resource management, hunter education and hunter outreach and advocacy.
Below are a few examples from each state.
Connecticut – Discover Outdoor Connecticut Day
- As part of National Hunting and Fishing Day, the free on-day event explores the state’s outdoor traditions including fishing, archery and other outdoors skills as well as activities for participants of all ages.
Maine – Cumberland Junior Rifle Program
- Boys and girls age 10-19 receive instruction on how to properly and safely shoot rifles while developing skills in a competitive environment.
Massachusetts – Undermountain Elementary School National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP)
- One of many in-school programs nationwide to receive funding for students in grades 4-12 to learn skills, discipline and teamwork related to archery and archery competitions.
New Hampshire – Enfield Outing Club
- Second-oldest, continually operated club in New Hampshire that promotes and encourages sportsmanship, safety and participation in ethical outdoor shooting sports.
Rhode Island – Women in the Outdoors
- Female participants receive instruction about a variety of outdoor skills as well as education about conservation.
Vermont – Wildlife Society Northeast Student Conclave
- Collegiate chapters of the Wildlife Society gather annually for field trips, workshops, seminars, field competitions and other conservation-related activities.