Archives: SFW News
Re: Utah’s Award of 200 Expo Tags to SFW
To Our Valued Members,
As you might be aware, there has recently been much said about SFW on public forums and social media outlets since we were named the successful bidder of Utah’s 200 Tag Expo contract. Unfortunately much of what is being said is being grossly misinterpreted and twisted. As a result I thought it would be beneficial to set the record straight.
It is my hope that you will form your own opinion, based on our conservation record and facts, rather than be wrongly influenced by the falsehoods and negativity you might be hearing.
To grow big bucks, bulls, rams and billies in your backyard requires much more than sprinkling just a few dollars into a handful of projects. Books upon books could be written about what SFW has accomplished in this state. Nearly 150 pages of it were recently compiled in SFW’s winning bid proposal for Utah’s 200 Tag Expo contract. I strongly encourage everyone to please read why the state of Utah selected SFW’s and MDF’s proposal.
I’ve been in my position for a relatively short time, just over one year now. During that time I have been incredibly impressed with the quality of individuals that make up SFW’s membership. I have also been equally impressed with our small but strong leadership and administrative team and all we are able to accomplish to push our mission forward with such limited resources. That being said, I’d like to answer some questions that some may ask regarding SFW funds.
- The funds generated from both the 200 Expo tags as well as the conservation permits auctioned at SFW fundraising banquets across the state are absolutely and without question used for conservation purposes here in Utah.
- SFW owns two hunting concessions in the Northwest Territories and British Columbia, Arctic Red River Outfitters and Full Curl Stone, respectively. Both concessions were 100% acquired through targeted donations by a very generous and longtime SFW supporter. The purpose in these areas being donated to SFW was to generate annual profits to support Utah’s conservation mission and to provide numerous world-class hunts in both auctions and drawings at the Hunt Expo. Additionally, we have annually provided a few of these hunts to some very deserving veterans. Furthermore, these sheep units are run independently of SFW’s Utah conservation operations.
- Regarding conservation dollars: During the 2015 season SFW raised $1,508,650 through auctioning Utah conservation permits. Of those funds $452,595 (30%) was given to the state of Utah (DWR) in September 2015, which follows Administrative Rule R657-4. Also according to the rule, 60% of that total is held in a federally insured bank account for a period of two years and is earmarked for projects that encompass the Watershed Restoration Initiative (WRI). WRI project include transplants of numerous species, population surveys, disease studies, deer transplant, predation and survival studies, and more. Any remaining funds left over at the end of the two-year period are surrendered to the Utah DWR to be used for future projects.
By rule, SFW and the other conservation organizations (seven in total) are allowed to retain 10% of the total amount raised, which in SFW’s case in 2015 was $150,865; and is used for administrative expenses. However, SFW uses these funds for conservation as well. SFW is a business and operates as a business. We currently employ a small staff of five, and there are expenses that must be covered. What many do not know is that for 15 years SFW operated from the basements, trucks and garages of a handful of founding members in order to preserve funds for our conservation mission. Today our team of five operates out of a very modest office/warehouse in North Salt Lake.
We make it a point to attend every RAC and Utah Wildlife Board meeting, numerous federal and state land management planning meetings, numerous species unit management planning meetings, and many other activities required to grow herd numbers and quality big game in Utah. These meetings are not conveniently located but rather, they are regionally spread across the state. This requires travel and time on the road to ensure SFW remains relevant and its members have an active voice as it relates to the best interest of our wildlife here in Utah.
I personally attended several relocation projects in 2015 getting my hands dirty, including sage brush plantings to help restore badly needed mule deer winter range. Just a few weeks ago I spent seven hours in a vehicle driving a load of recently captured urban mule deer from Bountiful to be released in the Uintah Basin. Not only did SFW supply the very funding for this project, we also partnered with Brigham Young University and covered all expenses related to ensuring that the science behind the relocation was sound. The list of projects goes on and on and includes projects for multiple species in our state.
The Expo funds help pave the way for everything outlined above. It is my hope that everyone will read SFW’s and MDF’s proposal and see for yourself why the state chose to go with proven contributors to Utah’s wildlife rather than an out-of-state organization.
It saddens me that there are individuals who do not see the great benefit that our organization brings to Utah, its wildlife and wild places but rather try to tear us down. It is unfortunate that so much negative energy is spent in this regard rather than being a part of something so worthy. It is my hope that we all will continue to rally for all conservation efforts in our amazing state regardless of what organization is doing the work. There are enough anti groups out there trying to tear all of us down. I am a firm believer there is strength in numbers and with the passion of our sportsmen in this state we can accomplish great things for Utah’s wildlife.
SFW President and CEO