January 3, 2019
RMEF Grants Improve Minnesota Elk Country
MISSOULA, Mont.—Elk habitat and hunting heritage programs in Minnesota received a boost thanks to nearly $38,000 in grant funding from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
The ten 2018 projects benefitted Beltrami, Brown, Kittson, Le Sueur, Marshall, Morrison, Nicollet and Sibley Counties. There are also three projects of statewide benefit.
“Minnesota’s elk range is interspersed among private agricultural land. This grant funding improves forage plots to help keep elk off that land while also thinning overly dense vegetation to improve habitat for elk and other wildlife,” said Blake Henning, RMEF chief conservation officer.
RMEF has more than 6,300 members and 18 chapters across Minnesota.
“Our volunteers are vital to all of our on-the-ground efforts in Minnesota,” said Kyle Weaver, RMEF president and CEO. “Thanks to their hard work and the giving of their time and talents to host banquets and membership drives, they raised the money that we put back on the ground in their home state. We recognize that and appreciate their efforts.”
Since 1990, RMEF and its partners completed 199 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Minnesota with a combined value of more than $5.7 million that protected or enhanced 66,523 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 943 acres.
Here is a sampling of the 2018 projects, listed by county:
Shear off brush and trees across 250 acres on the Grygla, Moose River and Wapiti Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) as a means to vigorously sprout new forage and browse growth in the Grygla elk range (also benefits Marshall County).
Establish high quality forage plots across approximately 50 acres on the Karlstad WMA as well as nearby private lands to draw elk away from agricultural crops and increase the acceptance of elk. The habitat stewardship work also benefits bear, deer, moose, sharp-tailed grouse and sandhill cranes.
Provide partial scholarship funding for qualified youth taking part in the Minnesota Horse and Hunt Club’s 2018 Youth Hunt Camps for boys and girls ages 12 to 16. Participants receive instruction in archery and the use of shotguns, rifles and pistols. They also learn to track, handle dogs, identify various types of cover and vegetation, practice safety techniques and much more. (Youth from Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin also attended.)
See below for a full listing of the 2018 RMEF projects in Minnesota.
Minnesota project partners include the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, private landowners and various sportsmen, civic and business organizations.
In addition to the grant funding, RMEF also provided financial support for a survey to determine if residents in northeast Minnesota are in favor of restoring wild, free-ranging elk to that part of the state.