There are no wild, free-ranging elk in Illinois, Indiana or Iowa, but that doesn’t stop Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation volunteers in those states from helping ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. They continue to raise funds to benefit the mission by freely giving of their time, talents and efforts. Below are just a few examples.
Illinois – RMEF donated grant funding and provided volunteer manpower to the Illinois Conservation Foundation between July 2014 and June 2020 that allowed hundreds of youth ages 10-18 to take part in a mentored turkey, dove, deer, waterfowl or pheasant hunt at the Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center in Springfield. The hunts encourage appreciation for wildlife management, respect for the concepts of fair chase, commitment to safe hunting practices and embracing America’s hunting tradition.
“This is a worthy program RMEF is more than proud to support,” said Kevin Koone, RMEF regional director. “We appreciate our volunteers, some of whom are there to help, and many others who stepped up by generating this important funding.”
Indiana – RMEF volunteers raised funding that led to the 2020 donation of $5,000 to Hoosiers Feeding the Hungry, a program designed to help deal with food security in Indiana. The funds help pay processing fees on donated wild game with the meat given to hunger relief agencies. Dating back to 2013, RMEF donated more than $10,000 toward the effort.
“RMEF is pleased to again support this worthy program,” said Rob Ruth, RMEF regional director. “Hunting not only provides nutritious, organic and healthy protein but it funds important conservation work from coast to coast.”
Iowa – RMEF provided both funding and volunteer manpower to help carry out a 2020 Raised at Full Draw (RAFD) youth camp, one of just two such camps that took place nationwide during the coronavirus pandemic. RAFD seeks to forward knowledge and techniques to the next generation while helping participants learn how to bowhunt safely, responsibly and ethically. Four RMEF volunteers attended the camp. They helped youth learn how to better use their archery equipment while also offering education about RMEF’s mission and the importance of valuing our natural resources.
“Our volunteers have tremendous heart,” said Levi Wofford, RMEF regional director. “Not only do many of them travel many miles just to attend our fundraising banquets but they are excited help boys and girls at camps like the RAFD Iowa event. We greatly appreciate all that they do!”
As of January 1, 2021, RMEF carried out 312 hunting and conservation outreach projects in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, which are home to a combined 25 RMEF chapters.