I have stacks of hunting magazines. It seems like Mr. Postman drops a new one off at least once a week. But there’s only one magazine that I read cover-to-cover each and every time, and that’s Bugle from The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
Every issue of Bugle opens with a message from RMEF President & CEO, David Allen. When I read the President’s Message in the July-August 2014 issue, I immediately knew that I wanted to share it with you, and thankfully The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation gave me the permission to do so.
Whether you hunt elk or not, if you’re a bowhunter you should consider joining the RMEF.
I was an RMEF member years before I started hunting elk.
Learn about the good that RMEF does for elk (of course!), hunting at large, and archery in particular in the article below.
Be sure to see the end of this article for a special offer from the RMEF and onXmaps!
Elk & Bowhunting: Like Jeans & Boots
Even the most diehard rifle hunter has to admit there is no more magical time in elk country than September. Trust me, I’ve been hunting with a rifle for more than 40 years. I love a good fresh tracking snow and the challenge of a long spot-and-stalk sneak as much as anyone. But I’m not blind to the basics of biology.
Come November, bulls will be silent as monks and have a home range roughly the size of your living room. They’ll be in full survival mode, wound tight as the E-string on a pawn shop guitar and gone at the first hint of hunters. Aspens and cottonwoods will be bare skeletons. Your water bottle will freeze solid inside your sleeping bag. Your knuckles will be white from frostbite. Or maybe just from your death-grip on the wheel as you fishtail up toward your secret bull hole at 15 mph, chained up on all four.
In September, the bulls are bugling, wrecking trees, wallowing in their own special muck, traveling far and wide, and engaging in the most epic wildlife battles in North America. They’re basically doing everything possible to advertise their presence, and the megaloads of testosterone in their veins have compromised their judgment. Meanwhile, the trees glow golden amid crisp mornings and afternoons when you can shade up and nap in shirtsleeves. If you hit a patch of stormy weather, it might rain or, heaven forbid, get down to freezing and spit a few flakes.
Then there’s the weapon in your hand. Depending on whether it’s a compound, recurve or longbow, you’ll have to get close, darn close or ridiculously close to an elk to make a clean, killing shot. Whatever your personal maximum yardage is for a responsible bow shot, it’s probably less than the shortest shot most rifle hunters will ever take on an elk. That right there is simultaneously the great curse and blessing of bowhunting. A bull that would be a chip shot with a .30-06 will parade back and forth for 20 minutes just five steps out of bow range. But there’s nothing like the thrill of getting near enough to hear him shake off after a mudbathor feel the ground shake when he bugles.
Is it any wonder so many of you dream of September all year round?
Back in 1996, we took a look at how many RMEF members are passionate bowhunters and decided to put together our first Bowhunting Special Section in Bugle. For 18 years now, we’ve devoted a good chunk of every July-August issue to celebrating bowhunting. This year is no different. Check out the great crop of stories starting on page 37. For the past 9 years, Chuck Adams has been hitting the bull’s-eye with his “Bows & Arrows” column in every issue of Bugle. Every year in the March-April issue, we dedicate our entire “Gear” section to reviewing the best of the new year’s crop of bows, arrows and other archery innovations. And you’ll find great feature hunting stories that happen to involve bows and arrows all year long.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been helping to introduce more people to the joys of the bow for decades. So far, RMEF has invested almost $1.2 million to help fund 966 projects in 47 states, including National Archery in the Schools Program, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops and scores of other programs aimed at young people, women and other first-time shooters. Through almost a thousand projects, RMEF has helped spread the good word on safe and responsible archery and bowhunting to more than 650,000 people.
RMEF spends hundreds of thousands of dollars every year on high-quality archery gear to be auctioned and raffled at Big Game Banquets across the country, and we’ve been a presence at the annual Archery Trade Association national convention for almost 20 years. I’m proud to say it’s a two-way street. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a groundswell of support from the bowhunting community and the archery industry. That’s a natural partnership we want to continue to grow. Everyone should have the chance to experience just how fun and exciting shooting a bow is, let alone getting really close to an elk and then doing it, can be.
Elk and bowhunting really do go together like Wranglers and boots. But whether you’re a hunt-with-a-bow-or-not-at-all purist, a gun nut who wouldn’t dream of swapping arrows for bullets, or like me, someone who enjoys the charms of both, I want to thank you for supporting the RMEF. Because without healthy habitat for elk and robust access for public hunting, it doesn’t matter what you shoot: we all lose. And when we all pull together for elk and wild country and our hunting heritage, we can’t help but win.
By M David Allen, President and CEO, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
When you join The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation you put money on the ground to help protect, preserve, improve, and secure hunting access to wildlife habitat. Here’s a summary of what the RMEF has done from their beginning in 1984 through the middle of this year, 2014.
- 6,473,344 acres of habitat enhanced or protected
- 713,176 acres opened or secured for public access
- 8,795 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects
- 203,703 members (as of December 31, 2013)
- 504 RMEF chapters
- 10,000+ RMEF volunteers
- $918,611,443 = total value of RMEF efforts
This isn’t a sponsored request, this is just me encouraging all of you – whether you hunt elk or not – to become an RMEF member today.
I also wanted to let you know about a brand new RMEF membership benefit from onXmaps (Hunting GPS Maps).
So join us, get a free year of the premium HUNT App from onXmaps, and protect the future of bowhunting.