The state’s Special Elk Conservation Tag – a license created by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and auctioned off by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to benefit wildlife – commanded a stunning $85,000 at auction March 26.
That a record amount eclipses the previous high of $52,500 set last year by a whopping $32,500.
The impressive total says a lot about Pennsylvania’s elk, according to R. Matthew Hough, executive director of the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It’s the reason tens of thousands of hunters line up for a chance at a license, and why visitors flock to the state’s elk range each year during the height of the bugling season.
Still, $85,000 is a jarring figure.
“The fact people are willing to pay that kind of money to come to Pennsylvania and hunt elk speaks for itself – which is a good thing, because that $85,000 total leaves me completely speechless,” Hough said. “What people need to understand is the incredible amount of good that money will do.
“The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has been an important partner of the Game Commission for decades, and without RMEF and the amount of work it has done to purchase land, establish elk habitat and otherwise work to benefit elk and other wildlife, Pennsylvania’s elk wouldn’t be where they are today,” Hough said. “The $85,000 raised at auction will pay dividends to Pennsylvania’s elk by enabling RMEF to do even more good work.”
The organization has been a partner to the Pennsylvania Game Commission for many years. Its membership includes more than 11,000 Pennsylvanians. Since 1991, the foundation and its partners have completed nearly 400 conservation and hunting-heritage outreach projects in Pennsylvania, with a combined value of more than $23.5 million.
RMEF has made 10 land acquisitions that have opened or secured public access to 8,999 acres on Pennsylvania's elk range, and has been involved with land-enhancement projects on the elk range that total another 11,776 acres.