MDF President and CEO, Mile Moretti and his wife, Julie, will be in attendance at our March 14 event this year. Miles has now been on board for a couple years and we are seeing good results based upon his efforts. Come to the banquet and take time to say hello, he’s very approachable and interested in hearing what our members have to say.
The last year has been productive for The Mule Deer Foundation. The Western Hunting and Conservation Expo concluded last month and (according to my notes) after the smoke had cleared, MDF had generated somewhere in the vicinity of two million dollars for conservation. Much of the money was generated by sale of conservation deer tags in various western states.
Other money was generated by generous donations by our members and supporters. The MDF Board of Directors also made significant progress this year by creating a mule deer endowment account that now has over $325,000 pledged to it. Until this account holds $2,000,000 the interest will accumulate. After reaching $2,000,000 the interest from the account will be dispersed to benefit mule deer programs. This is a major mile stone for MDF and the account is ready to accept your contributions.
A the WHC Expo Saturday night auction, the Utah Governor’s deer tag sold for $187,500 – a new record for sale of a deer tag. At the Livermore-Pleasanton 2008 banquet, we’ll be auctioning two tags one a California Open Zone deer tag and the other a Wyoming Governor’s deer, elk or antelope tag.
Our banquet proceeds in Livermore from last year’s banquet (including membership money and tag sales) produced approximately seventy thousand dollars net income for the support of MDF. Some of that money is used to promote and educate our members about mule deer primarily through publication of MDF magazine. Other money is used to pay the salaries of MDF staff, establishing new chapters and conducting national programs.
Other staff members are working at headquarters in Utah to provide support for mule deer programs throughout the west, service our members and represent MDF as we interact with various agencies that control mule deer habitat.
Over $10,000 of the proceeds from our banquet, remain under direct control of our chapter committee and will be used for California Projects. One of the projects being selected for funding this year is efforts by CDFG to restore habitat at the Hallelujah Junction Wildlife Area where a huge fire devastated many thousands of acres of deer habitat last year.
Another project enthusiastically supported by MDF has been the Fresno County Fawn Mortality Study, also known as the Round Valley Deer Herd project. The Round Valley deer herd is comprised of two components, one that migrates to the eastern side of the sierras and another that migrates to the western side of the Sierras. For many years, the herd migrating to the western side has been in decline and scientists have been unable to determine the cause.
The most recent adaptations to the project have been to develop a way to track the deer of this herd with GPS collars and vaginal implants for does. This allows scientists to track fawns from their birth and is producing new information about mortality of west side fawns. With help from MDF, CDFG may soon be able to post real time information about these deer on the MDF web site (www.muledeer.org) for our members to follow.
MDF has also been supporting The California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, a 501c4 organization that is lobbying for hunters rights and also helping MDF with various legislative issues related to conservation.
Also at the state level, MDF is working with the Fish and Game Commission and Department of Fish and Game to create public input and oversight on Department expenditures, especially as they relate to dedicated deer accounts. It’s always a challenge working with bureaucracies, but we are making progress and MDF efforts will result in improved funding for deer programs.
As State Co-Chair for MDF in California, I’m taking the initiative to lead an effort to create a five-year plan for California deer. We have all the necessary ingredients to create a plan including CDFG, USFS, BLM and MDF. We’re just getting started on this, but initial inquiries have produced positive responses and we will also be seeking participation from other willing non-profit conservation groups.
Please have a good time at this year’s banquet and do what you can to support MDF.
On behalf of the Livermore-Pleasanton Chapter,
MDF CA State Co-Chair