Elk NetworkNebraska Volunteers Stand Tall in the Cornhusker State

Volunteer News | November 22, 2022

Nebraska is known for many things including its sprawling farmland, productive beef and veal industries, and its status as the largest corn and ethanol producer west of the Missouri River.

Nebraska is known for some other things you may not know about. For example, it’s the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich, first created by a Lithuanian-born man named Reuben Kulakofsky during a high-stakes poker game in an Omaha hotel in the early 1900s. Not many years after that, Edwin Perkins, who grew up in his family’s general story sporting a fascination with food, invented the now-famous kids drink Kool-Aid in Hastings, Nebraska.

Many people may also not know that Nebraska has a thriving wild elk herd. In fact, there are about 2,500 elk that live in the Pine Ridge, a region in the northwest portion of the state including the North Platte River Valley along its western border with Wyoming.

Additionally, you’ll find about 2,400 members of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in Nebraska. These energetic volunteers plan and host fundraising banquets for RMEF chapters across the state. That funding goes back on the ground to ensure the future of Nebraska’s elk and other wildlife, their habitat and for outreach events and activities that promote hunting and conservation.

Below are a few recent examples of how and where recent volunteer-raised 2021 funding went in Nebraska.

  • A $2,000 RMEF grant awarded to the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln offers education and hands-on opportunity for adults and youth alike to learn how to become successful hunters. The program includes a quarterly class series, field days and other activities.
  • RMEF provided more than $29,000 to assist the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and other partners with a new, comprehensive study in western Nebraska. The seven-year research project will provide information to help biologists better guide the state’s elk management efforts into the future.
  • The Flat Water 4-H Club in Kearney received a $1,000 RMEF grant for the purchase of six 3D targets. Launched in 2020, the club had nine members in its inaugural year and one of them, the son of an RMEF member, shot his way to the 2022 nationals.

“From our eastern border stretching nearly 500 miles across Nebraska to those in the northwest corner, our volunteers to do wonderful things for our elk herd each and every year,” said Levi Wofford, Nebraska/Iowa regional director. “They’re a great bunch of folks who help us do wonderful work.”

Since 1994, RMEF and its partners completed 99 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Nebraska with a combined value of more than $11.8 million. These projects conserved and enhanced 32,827 acres of habitat and opened or improved public access to 16,237 acres.