Conservation Group Tops $1 Billion on The Ground

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts and wild tales from the outdoors

 Nov. 18, 2015
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, devoted to conserving elk habitat and improving hunter access to land, recently exceeded $1 billion in its cumulative conservation efforts. And, as the political season begins to find its full stride, you’ll read the results of a new survey regarding Americans’ opinion of candidates and their rhetoric about firearms.

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Founded in 1984, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has protected or enhanced 6,714,810 acres of vital elk habitat!

$1 Billion For Elk And Elk Hunters
Based in Missoula, Mont., the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was founded in 1984 by four Northwest Montana elk hunters who combined their time, talents and resources to form a conservation organization dedicated to elk, elk hunting and the habitat they needed to thrive. Since RMEF’s inception, North America’s elk population more than doubled in size!

And last week, RMEF announced it recently topped $1 billion in the cumulative value of its on-the-ground conservation efforts.

The $1 billion total was determined by the dollar amount contributed by RMEF plus those partner dollars leveraged by RMEF for its land protection and access, habitat enhancement, wildlife management including elk restorations, research, and hunting heritage, and conservation outreach projects. That lifetime total of those 9,738 projects has so far protected or enhanced 6,714,810 acres of vital elk habitat!

“This is an incredible milestone and testament to many people over a lot of years who are dedicated to ensuring the future of elk, elk habitat and conservation,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.

RMEF partners include the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), state wildlife agencies, universities, private landowners, and many other governmental, tribal, civic, wildlife, and sportsmen groups.

Cook County Board Poised to Impose Ammo Tax
The ruling board of the most populous county of Illinois appears poised to approve a measure that would add a tax to each round of ammunition sold by retailers within its boundaries.

The Cook County Board of Commissioners was scheduled to act upon Ordinance 15-6469, which would mandate a tax of 5 cents per each centerfire round and 1 cent per rimfire round. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said she thought there were sufficient votes within the 17-member board to approve the measure.

Three years ago this month, on Nov. 9, 2012, the Cook County Commission approved a tax of $25 on each gun sold in the county, as part of the county’s 2013 budget plan. An ammunition tax was discussed as part of that original ordinance, but was dropped from the final version.

The 2012 ordinance, like the one proposed to the Commission this week, was brought forth by Cook County Commissioner Richard R. Boykin.

“We should tax bullets just as we do guns to help government address the costs of violence. Currently taxpayers who do not purchase a bullet pay the full cost of gun violence,” stated an op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times attributed jointly to Boykin and Preckwinkle. “We believe this is a fair measure, to make the cost of the product more accurately reflect the costs it has on the county and society. It’s no different than taxing alcohol or tobacco.”

If approved, Cook County would join the city of Seattle, Wash., which instituted a tax on firearms and ammunition earlier this year. That city is currently facing a lawsuit filed by firearms owners and guns rights organizations that charges such discriminatory taxes are unconstitutional.

Poll: Voters Skeptical of Politicians Who Bring up Subject of Guns
As the country embarks on a year promising non-stop politics and campaigning culminating in a general election in November 2016, Americans are increasingly skeptical about politicians who raise gun issues — both pro and con —according to the results of a Rasmussen Reports survey released last week.

Some 77 percent of likely voters polled said they believe politicians bring up gun issues just to get elected. However, 56 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats said gun issues are very important to their vote.

A total of 38 percent of those surveyed thought politicians didn’t discuss gun issues enough, 31 percent felt they did too much and 24 percent thought the amount of gun talk was just right.

Of those voters who felt more discussion needs to happen around the topic of guns, 62 percent identified themselves as Democrat, 27 percent Republican and 23 percent weren’t affiliated with either party.

Ruger Continues Strong 2015 Sales
In its third quarter 2015 financial results released November 4, Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc., a publicly owned company, continued to report a strong performance, with a net income increase of 76.4 percent over the same period in 2014.

The Southport, Conn.-based firearms manufacturer reported net sales of $120.9 million and fully-diluted earnings of 62-cents per share for Q3, reflecting a significant improvement over 2014’s Q3 results of $98.3 million and 34-cents per share, respectively.

Despite falling short of analysts’ earning forecasts, the report was seen as positive by investors and industry watchers, an indication of a continued robust firearms market overall.

In his conference call to investors November 5, Ruger Chief Executive Officer Michael O. Fifer said the estimated sell-through of its products from the independent distributors to retailers increased 28 percent year-over-year. By comparison, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System background checks – as adjusted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) – increased 8 percent during the same period.

Quote of the Week
“Any sportsman who can kill a deer without the tingling spine, the quick clutch at his heart, the delicious trembling of nerve fibers when the game is finally down, has no place in the deer woods.”
– Lawrence R. Koller,
Shots at Whitetails
, 1987

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for You may contact him at

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