Elk NetworkUnstoppable Idaho Volunteers

Volunteer News | May 20, 2021

Idaho RMEF volunteers have an insatiable appetite for stewardship and hunting heritage projects. They hauled unwanted wire out of the woods, cut out encroaching conifer trees, helped veterans get out hunting and helped spread the skill of archery to local youth. All that in 2020 alone.

In July 2020, volunteers met along the Route of the Hiawatha, a scenic mountain bike trail straddling the Idaho-Montana border, to remove stretches of 1910-era telegraph wire during the northern Idaho Rendezvous work project. In 2019, someone found a dead bull elk in the area, antlers wrapped tightly in the wire. Volunteers spent six hours and removed about a quarter mile of the multiple-strand wire to protect wildlife. “It was amazing. When we got back down to the trucks there were just piles and piles of wire,” said volunteer Loren Smith (see RMEF Films).

In another project, three Southeast Idaho Chapter volunteers met at the Blackfoot River Wildlife Management Area in July 2020 along with an Idaho Fish and Game employee to remove conifers to promote aspen stands. According to Southeast Idaho Chapter Co-Chair J.D. Johnston, they worked two, 8-hour days clearing conifers from approximately two acres.

Thanks to 11 RMEF adult volunteers and five youth volunteers, elk habitat is looking better on the Sawtooth National Forest near Ketchum. Volunteers spent six hours fighting back encroaching conifer trees around the Smiley Creek area in July of 2020.

RMEF volunteer and Lewiston resident, Willie Diebel helped eight veterans get out hunting in 2020, along with three other RMEF volunteers— Joe Mabey, Ken Georges and Dale Morehouse.

For the past three years RMEF, VetCrew (a non-profit group) and a private landowner teamed up to take U.S. military veterans on a week-long cow elk hunt during the general elk season in southeast Idaho, on Nov. 1st- 7th. All eight veterans were successful in 2020.

Mike Baledge is a volunteer for RMEF’s Blaine County Chapter committee since 2002, serving as chapter chair for several years. Starting in 2018, he’s also been a 4-H archery club leader through the Blaine County 4-H program. The club “Bad to the Bow” currently has 16 kids ages 9-18, that shot through most of the 2020 season.

“What can you say? Idaho volunteers just go, go, go! We appreciate and salute them for their dedicated efforts,” said Jameson Sharp, southern Idaho regional director.

“And let’s not forget, Idaho volunteers also joined RMEF volunteers nationwide in raising funds for our mission during extremely challenging times in 2020. Kudos to all! said Wayne Brood, northern Idaho regional director.