Note from David Allen, RMEF

Dear RMEF Family,

Just like breaking camp after a week of hunting and exhilaration in high country, RMEF ended its recent Elk Camp and convention feeling gratified and fulfilled and energized for another year of hard work. I’m writing to congratulate everyone who helped make our event in Reno a big success and to thank you for your part in safeguarding a way of life that non-elk-hunters will never understand.

Clearly, Elk Camp 2010 has set a tone, direction and fundraising base to position us for a big year in habitat conservation!

Highlights include:

  • Total gross fundraising topping $2.75 million, including auctions, raffles, membership, merchandise sales, admission and exhibitor fees, and more.
  • Participation by 300 exhibitors with 460 booths and 1,800 pre-registered attendees.
  • A new Elk Camp record for new member enlistments, thanks to a special membership drive encouraging show attendees to purchase RMEF memberships for those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Several corporate sponsors are still collecting totals, but a whopping preliminary sum of 2,867 new RMEF members is already confirmed.
  • RMEF launched the Dale Earnhardt Land/Wildlife Legacy.
  • RMEF’s highest honor, the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award, went to Walker S. “Buddy” Smith, Jr. and wife Tammie Lynne Smith of Great Falls, Mont.
  • Numerous awards and recognitions for RMEF volunteers and supporters.
  • First-ever live coverage of the RMEF/Leupold World Elk Calling Championships on ESPN
  • New world champion elk callers including Joel Turner of Eatonville, Wash., who won his second title in the Professional Division.
  • Good day-traffic in the expo hall with numerous attendees booking hunting trips.
  • Entertainment by comedian Jim Gaffigan and country stars Neal McCoy and Sara Evans.
  • An emotional Grand Banquet tribute to U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Patrick Zeigler, who was shot four times Nov. 5 at Fort Hood. RMEF has adopted this brave, tough, deserving soldier and his fiancé Jessica as new members of the RMEF family.

Just over $1.45 million in auction proceeds. Highlights, by the numbers:

  • $150,000-New Mexico Big Game Enhancement Package (deer, elk, oryx, ibex, pronghorn)
  • $95,000-Arizona Special Elk Permit
  • $86,000-Arizona White Mountain Apache Chairman’s Special Elk Permit
  • $52,000-California Tule elk permit at Fort Hunter Liggett
  • $51,000-Another California Tule elk permit at Fort Hunter Liggett
  • $50,000-Washington Special Eastside Elk Permit
  • $48,000-Wyoming Governor’s Big Game Package (1 moose, 2 other big game)
  • $45,000-Oregon elk and deer combo permit
  • $30,000-A sociable mule named Rosetta
  • $7,200-Pendleton gun safe
  • $7,000-A cute Labrador retriever puppy

Event sponsors included Roper, Leupold, Cabela’s, Gerber, Hunter’s Specialties, Midway USA, Mossy Oak, North American Hunter Magazine, Browning and Budweiser.

In many ways, Elk Camp is the official kickoff to our year. As you know, RMEF recently topped 5.7 million acres conserved or enhanced, but the conservation to-do list in elk country is growing longer, not shorter. With the awesome spirit we had at Elk Camp, you couldn’t help but get pumped up about where we’ve been and where we’re going in 2010.

Words cannot express my great pride in the RMEF family, nor my renewed sense of urgency, purpose and commitment to make a difference for conservation in elk country.

Thanks again, and have a great year!

M. David Allen

President and CEO