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By Joanne M. Haas/DNR Bureau of Law Enforcement
If you are a youth planning to complete a 2015 Department of Natural Resources hunter education course, you could win a free Browning knife from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. That’s thanks to the group’s donation valued at $40,000 presented in support of Wisconsin’s hunting traditions and conservation partners.
DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp said the future hunters of Wisconsin, their families and dedicated volunteer instructors are grateful for this generous donation that shows confidence in the strength of the state program.
“Becoming a hunter education graduate is a major accomplishment in Wisconsin,” Stepp said at today’s Natural Resources Board meeting when the donation was accepted. “Having a chance to receive a Browning knife from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is quite a bonus.”
The Montana-based foundation donated 4,000 Browning knives, estimated to be worth about $40,000, to be distributed by a name-draw lottery upon every hunter education course completion. The foundation requests the knives be given to only graduates 17 years old and younger. There are more than 1,300 hunter education courses statewide.
Foundation Regional Director Lou George says the knife donation reflects the important part of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s mission – reaching out to youth and ensuring the future of hunting heritage.
“We feel it is vital to inspire the next generation to be engaged in hunting and conservation and this is a great way to do it,” George said. “Those who receive the knives also receive a free RMEF Youth Membership.”
The Wisconsin Hunter Safety Education Course is required for anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1973. Its objectives include: promoting safe, responsible and ethical use of the environment and our resources; reducing the potential for accidents, injuries and fatalities; and, reducing the potential for conflict between participants, landowners and other resource users. (The course is not required for those taking part in the hunting mentorship program.)
The Browning fixed knife features a four-inch blade, rugged RMEF logo handle, sturdy protective plastic sheath with a rubberized lock and belt clip, and a striker for starting fires.
Funding for the donation comes from the Torstenson Family Endowment (TFE) in honor of Bob Torstenson, an Illinois native who had a passion for elk, hunting and sharing our hunting lifestyle and traditions with our children and grandchildren.
Founded more than 30 years ago, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is fueled by hunters and a membership of more than 200,000 strong. The foundation’s web site states it has conserved more than 6.5 million acres for elk and other wildlife. RMEF also works to open and improve public access, fund and advocate for science-based resource management, and ensure the future of America’s hunting heritage.
If you have information regarding natural resource violations, please talk (call) or text: VIOLATION HOTLINE: 1-800-TIP-WDNR or 1-800-847-9367. The Hotline is in operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Trained staff relay reported information to conservation wardens. Anyone who calls or texts the Violation Hotline or provides information can remain anonymous.