Archives for October 2009

Young Hunters in America

Ciro's First HuntThere’s a lot of buzz about how hunting is on the decline.  Havalon Knives would like to recognize a few organizations that work toward raising awareness and educating young hunters on this useful outdoor sport.

1.  The National Rifle Association sponsors the NRA Youth Hunter Education Challenge.

2.  Young Hunters of America sponsors scholarships for young outdoor sportsmen.

3.  Young Hunters Unlimited is a Christian organization dedicated to promoting awareness of hunting.

4.  Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation offers chapter level hunting heritage education programs and activities. Find out more here.

5. The National Wildlife Foundation supports conservation and wildlife activities for kids and young adults.

These are just a few of the organizations dedicated to promoting awareness and creating educational opportunities for young adults who want to learn more about hunting. Havalon Knives admires their efforts in working toward raising the number of participants in outdoor sports.

How to Volunteer for a Conservation Organization

MISSOULA, MT. / Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation —Whether they work individually or as part of a group, volunteers are essential to conservation today—even more so tomorrow.

That’s the consensus of conservation professionals who predict that fish, wildlife and habitat, as well as the future of America’s sporting traditions, will depend more and more on devoted souls whose only paycheck is the personal reward of preserving traditional values and passing on a cherished way of life.

Volunteerism spans from teaching a neighbor kid to cast at a nearby pond to serving on a board that directs policy for international wildlife habitat initiatives.

A conservation organization can be an effective channel for many volunteer passions.

Here’s how to get involved:

1. Consider why you’re interested in volunteering. Do you want to make a difference in the world, or in your own corner of the outdoors? Is it about building your own skills and social
network? Or are you simply inspired to give something back to a special place, species or heritage? These questions can help you choose the right organization.

2. Select an outfit that represents something special to you. If your pulse quickens at the thought of mallards over decoys, an elk bugling from a golden stand of aspens, a bass exploding on a topwater lure, there’s a group for you. Ditto if you’re concerned about Second Amendment issues. Maybe you believe that youths in your community should know more about handling firearms safely, or how hunting and angling pay for conservation. Or perhaps you’re just worried about the kudzu infestation in the back pasture of your hunting club. Whatever your interest, there’s probably a good fit for you somewhere out there. If not, start something new.

3. Speak with staff or volunteers from the organization and ask what opportunities exist for newcomers as well as experienced volunteers. Attend a meeting to see how the group
interacts. At its best, volunteering is a selfless act for a greater good, but everyone wants to feel appropriately appreciated—find out how the outfit says thank you.

4. Seek out volunteer tasks that suit you. Conservation always needs money but if soliciting donations isn’t your cup of tea, consider helping setup for a fundraising event or even a back
-office gig stuffing envelopes. Maybe you’d rather install aquatic habitat or remove decrepit fencing from a big-game migration corridor. Of course, it’s fun to learn new things and
there’s real satisfaction in completing less pleasant tasks, but it pays to ensure your core duties will be compatible with your time and talent.

5. Start small. If you already have a busy schedule, commitments at home or unpredictable work hours, you can still get involved. In fact, most organizations want volunteers who are busy people because busy people know how to get things done. See about working for only an hour or two per week or perhaps one day per month. Later, if you find you enjoy the work and have more time to pursue it, gradually take on more.

6. Ask, don’t demand. People in charge of organizing volunteers are often volunteers themselves, but, invariably, they’re working to meet certain goals with a bigger mission in
mind. Especially if you’re just starting out, the best bet is simply assimilating into their system. Later on, if you see that it could work better, make suggestions on how to fix it.

7. Ask questions and do research, but until you get your feet wet, you won’t know if volunteering for a particular organization is really right for you.

Volunteering allows a person to make a lasting mark on conservation, leave America’s outdoors as—or better than—they found it, and hand down a meaningful personal legacy to their children and grandchildren.

It matters not whether you get involved individually or as part of a group. The important thing is just getting started.

Sooner the better.

Big Game Tags Still Available in Wyoming

Even though most big game seasons have already come and gone, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department reports that some areas are still open and have licenses available for residents and nonresidents.

For deer, the area with the most licenses is nonresident Region A (hunt areas 1-6) in the Black Hills area in the northeast portion of the state. More than 700 nonresident Region A licenses are available for that area as well as numerous reduced price doe/fawn licenses that may be purchased in addition to the regular price licenses that allow the taking of a buck.  Residents can hunt that region with a general license.  The season in Region A opens Nov. 1 and runs through Nov. 30 in hunt areas 1-3, and until Nov. 20 in areas 4-6.  For type 6 doe licenses, hunt areas 1-6 are open until Nov. 30.

Other nonresident regions with licenses remaining include Region J in the southeast and Region M in north central Wyoming.  Seasons in these regions vary with the individual hunt area but some areas still have open seasons until Oct. 31 while others are open until Nov. 4 for general license holders.

Antelope seasons in the northeast overlap many of the deer seasons in the Black Hills.  Antelope areas 1-5 are open now and will close on Nov. 20.  Antelope hunters should also be aware that seasons in many other areas in northeast Wyoming still have licenses available with most seasons staying open until Oct. 31.

Many of the licenses are in areas that are predominantly private land.  Hunters are advised to check with the Game and Fish if uncertain about land status or access in the area they plan to hunt.

For elk, a number of areas still have antlerless licenses available and for hunters holding general licenses, many areas in the western part of the state will be open Nov. 1 for antlerless elk hunting once the season allowing the taking of bull elk closes.

Hunters can check regulations for seasons that are still open and the Game and Fish Web site http://gf.state.wy.us for license availability and season dates in the various hunt areas.  Hunters can also call the WGFD at (307) 777-4600 for more information.

Elk Foundation Funding Tops $190K for Michigan Initiative

MISSOULA, Mont.—New grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will fund conservation and education projects in eight Michigan counties, and swell total RMEF support for the state’s Pigeon River Habitat Initiative to more than $190,000.

The 2009 RMEF grants will affect Cheboygan, Delta, Montmorency, Muskegon, Oakland, Otsego, Ottawa and Presque Isle counties.

“Our volunteers in Michigan devoted themselves to the 2008 fundraisers that made these grants possible. This is where Elk Foundation banquets, auctions and other events transform into on-the-ground conservation work, and it’s part of the payday for all of our supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

RMEF has been a major supporter of the Pigeon River Habitat Initiative in each of the past four years and in 2003. Contributions have helped secure conservation easements, develop forest stewardship management plans, provide technical assistance for landowners, offer cost-share programs to help with wildlife plantings, and more.

Collectively, these efforts have impacted hundreds of acres for elk and other wildlife.

“RMEF has been a great partner and supporter for this project. There is no way we could accomplish the goals of this project without partners such as RMEF. Funding from RMEF also helps us leverage additional funding for conservation efforts in Pigeon River country,” said Eric Nelson, habitat specialist for Huron Pines, which manages the Pigeon River Habitat Initiative.

Elk Foundation 2009 grants for Michigan, totaling $19,544, will help fund the following projects, listed by county:

Delta County—Sponsor the Delta Youth Archery Initiative to introduce young people to archery instruction, equipment, competition, safety, sportsmanship, ethics and leadership.

Montmorency County—Renovate an elk display with a new life-sized mount of a bull elk to be used for educational purposes by the City of Atlanta, “Elk Capital of Michigan.”

Oakland County—Sponsor the Sherman Middle School National Archery in the Schools Program to introduce youth to archery in a school environment.

Otsego County—Promote long-term land protection, improve habitat for wildlife, discourage invasive species and develop sustainable forestry management as part of the Pigeon River Habitat Initiative (also affects Cheboygan, Montmorency and Presque Isle counties).

Ottawa County—Sponsor the Ottawa County 2009 Youth Hunter Safety program (also affects Muskegon County).

Partners for 2009 projects in Michigan include Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Huron Pines, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, other agencies, schools and organizations.

Since 1984, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed more than 80 conservation projects in Michigan with a value of more than $4.6 million.

Mark Seacat is Off to New Mexico!

Mark SeacatJust when it seems like Mark was about to slow down he found himself sitting in another airport headed on another adventure!

This time Mark is headed back to the Gila area in New Mexico, this time to document a few rifle elk hunts for some friends of his in the industry. It’ll be more of a remote “business trip” of sorts with heads of some of the finest outdoor gear companies in the industry and writers onboard. (I would love to be around that campfire, just for the information alone!) [Read more…]

Montana Surplus Licenses

The hunting districts listed have Surplus licenses or permits available. These have been issued on a first-come, first-served basis since August 10, 2009. Licenses and permits must be purchased online at fwp.mt.gov or over the counter at local license providers or by mail-in application.

Updated October 26, 2009, 8:30 a.m.

You can view the list and download the PDF here!

Hunters, Be Prepared for Bears

Bears are still out and active throughout big game hunting season in much of Montana and they are extending their ranges in some areas where populations are growing.

Hunting is a prime time to encounter a bear, especially if your are calling game, using scents or have harvested an animal. Here are a few important safety tips for hunting in bear country:

  • Always carry bear pepper spray, have it close at hand and know how to use it.
  • If you are going to be alone in bear country, let someone know your detailed plans; better yet, don’t go alone.
  • While hunting, pay attention to fresh bear sign.
  • After making a kill, get the carcass out of the area as quickly as possible.
  • When field dressing the carcass, keep your can of bear pepper spray within easy reach.
  • Use special precautions if you must leave and then return to a carcass, including placing the carcass where you can easily observe it from a distance when you return.
  • Do not attempt to frighten away or haze a bear that is nearby or feeding on a carcass.

For details on how to hunt safely in grizzly country, check the Deer, Elk and Antelope Hunting regulations available online and at FWP offices, or go to FWP’s Living with Wildlife web page.

Montana Antelope

Mark SeacatIn this Live Hunt update, Mark Seacat of Mystery Ranch, provides us with some great insight into his recent trip to eastern Montana.  This seems to be an annual family hunting trip to chase the speed goats.

Read the story and look at the pictures here!

Don’t forget to leave a comment for Mark!

Elk Foundation Grants for Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma

MISSOULA, Mont. Elk and other wildlife in the nation’s breadbasket will benefit from $31,343 in new grants from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The grants will help fund conservation and education initiatives in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Grant amounts are based on RMEF fundraisers held in the respective states.

Elk Foundation volunteers drove the 2008 banquets, auctions and other fundraising events that made these grants possible. This is where their work begins to transform into on-the-ground conservation benefits, and its part of the payday for our supporters who are passionate about giving something back to the outdoors, said David Allen, Elk Foundation president and CEO.

RMEF grants will help fund the following projects, listed by state:

Kansas Received RMEF 2009 grants totaling $15,250. Projects include reducing depredation on private land by managing about 200 forage plots covering 750 acres for elk and other wildlife at Fort Riley military reservation in Riley County; enhancing riparian habitat by treating noxious weeds and planting cottonwood, willow and native shrubs on 777 acres at Cimarron National Grasslands in Morton County; and sponsoring Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops statewide, Big Brothers Big Sisters Pass It On Outdoor Mentors programs statewide, and Ninnescah Valley Archery Club youth education programs in Pratt County. RMEF partners include the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and other conservation groups.

Nebraska Received RMEF 2009 grants totaling $8,075. Projects include developing methodology for aerial elk surveys in the western panhandle of Nebraska including Dawes and Box Butte counties; and funding two scholarships for wildlife conservation students at Chadron State College. RMEF partners include the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

Oklahoma Received RMEF 2009 grants totaling $8,018. Projects include creating forage openings for elk, rejuvenating water impoundments and maintaining firebreaks at Spavinaw Wildlife Management Area in Delaware and Mayes counties; and enhancing forage for elk and other wildlife by prescribe burning 8,195 acres at Pushmataha Wildlife Management Area in Pushmataha County. RMEF partners include the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation and other conservation groups.

Since 1984 in these three states, the Elk Foundation and its partners have completed 155 conservation and education projects with a value of more than $9.8 million.

Results Favorable For Elk in Virginia

Bull ElkResults were favorable to elk in Virginia from yesterday’s Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Board meeting.

After about an hour of public comment, largely in opposition to the proposed regulation amendment (8 speaking against and 2 speaking in favor), the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries voted to table the proposed amendment that would have prohibited the hunting of Rocky Mountain elk in Virginia. [Read more…]