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Elk Camp setting up in Vegas

Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation rally to support conservation in Nevada

By: Steve Wagner, OutdoorChannel.com

MISSOULA, Mont. -- Hunting brings $223 million in economic benefit to the State of Nevada. But you can't have abundant game species to hunt -- as well as other wildlife to watch, photograph or enjoy -- without habitat stewardship and conservation. And that's the inspiration behind Elk Camp, a hunting and conservation rally coming to Las Vegas.

Elk Camp is an annual public-welcome convention, expo and conservation fundraiser hosted by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and International Sportsmen's Expositions.

The event is Feb. 2-4 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Attractions will include the 2012 RMEF/Leupold World Elk Calling Championships, plus 385 exhibiting companies in an expo hall filled with outfitted hunting and fishing opportunities, art, gear, firearms and everything outdoors. Hourly seminars will cover hunting strategies, destinations, gear, survival and fishing. Cabela's will sponsor game-calling clinics. Organizers also are planning special activities for the whole family.

Elk Camp helps raise awareness and funding for conservation.

In 2011, RMEF passed the 6 million acre-mark in habitat conserved or enhanced for elk and other wildlife nationwide.

In Nevada alone, RMEF has completed 190 conservation projects affecting 275,870 acres. Examples include habitat stewardship projects such as prescribe burning, forest thinning and management, weed control, water improvements and many other projects, mostly on public lands. Also included are RMEF land acquisitions transferred to state or federal management agencies to secure habitat and public access in perpetuity.

It's a conservation effort in Nevada now valued at more than $15.1 million.

Affected counties have included Clark, Elko, Humboldt, Lincoln, Nye and White Pine.

"Thanks to our volunteers in Nevada -- most of whom are avid hunters -- RMEF and its partners have protected or enhanced wildlife habitat across an area of Nevada that's larger than Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno and Sparks combined," said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. "But there's a ton of work left to do, and Elk Camp will help us generate the enthusiasm and resources needed to get it done."

Thousands of RMEF supporters from across the U.S. will be in Vegas for the event.

Public admission to the Elk Camp expo is $12 per person daily, free for youth 15 and under, and free for active military with military ID.

Expo hours: Thurs., Feb. 2, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 3, 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 4, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The most recent federal statistics show Nevada has some 63,000 hunters who together spend over 614,000 days afield each year. In addition to hunting licenses and permits, they purchase fuel, lodging, food, equipment and more. It all adds up to $145 million in retail sales and supports more than 1,850 jobs in Nevada.

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