FOUNDATION FOR WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
Ensuring ungulate populations recover in areas negatively impacted by wolves
Officers / Board Members
Growing up in the Idaho panhandle during the 60s and 70s, Robert heard his share of elk hunting stories from his father and older siblings. As soon as he was able, Robert joined his family on their annual meat gathering expeditions. Come evening, when his father led the grace before meal, elk was often the main dish. Elk hunting was also the main subject at many a meal. Robert enjoyed trapping bobcat, coyote, muskrat, pine martin, and other furbearers during his teen years. Following in his father’s footsteps, Robert and his wife, Karen, raised their twelve children on a healthy diet of elk and outdoor adventures.
Robert started working in the logging business as a timber faller in 1979. In 1989 He started his own logging business and continues to work as a logging contractor these 30 years later. Working in the forest keeps him close to the land and the animals that live there in. His eldest sons had just gotten the taste for elk hunting when the reintroduced Canadian wolves decimated the local elk herds. A few years’ later Canadian wolves were delisted and Idaho opened hunting and trapping seasons. Robert stepped up to the plate and took his first wolf in 2010 by hunting and has caught over 40 wolves since. He continues to trap and hunt wolves in an effort to help Idaho’s struggling ungulate populations.
Robert was the 50th member of the Foundation for Wildlife Management, the first member to receive a reimbursement check and, the first lifetime member. He was elected to the F4WM board of directors in August of 2016 and became President in August of 2018. Robert enjoys working with the determined F4WM team, to help restore balance amongst wildlife, and pass on abundant opportunity to future generations.
My name is Gary Finney. I am co-owner of Finney custom sawing which is a logging and custom milling company in the Coeur d'Alene area. My wife of 35 years, Mary Jo and I have Four children, Sarah, Rachel, Ben and Will. I am serving as vice president of F4WM. I was born in Coeur d’Alene in 1962. The ninth child in 11 of a logging family. I was in the woods working with my dad and brothers at a very young age. We worked and played in the mountains, rivers and lakes of North Idaho, the mountains drawing me more than the water. I became fascinated with the antlered critters that roam our beautiful mountains. I love hunting the deer, elk and moose especially, be it bow, muzzle loader or rifle. I have spent countless days gathering up shed antlers, numbering and cataloging them ever since I was a boy. I enjoyed many years of hunting the abundant big game in the Idaho panhandle, taking many nice trophies and being blessed with that wonderful meat. Then came the wolf and things started to change. Over the past ten years I have seen our elk numbers drop significantly. With the opening of the 2009 and 2010 wolf season, I started hunting the wolves. Taking wolf number 1 in that first season. Then came trapping and I became hooked on that. I do it to help our elk, deer and moose and to bring what balance I can to the predator, prey dynamic. I have driven over 10,000 miles checking my wolf traps this season of 2018/2019. Trapping is a big commitment, but I really enjoy being out there, hopefully making a difference. Thank you for your support of F4WM. Gary Finney.
My name is Kate Small, I live in the Boise area with my wonderful husband, Justin, our beautiful two-year-old daughter, Finley and our two rowdy black labs Huck and Bro. I am a Registered Nurse and have had some wonderful opportunities to work internationally as well as locally here in the Treasure Valley. My background includes neuroscience and emergency medicine but recently I have found myself drifting towards psych. I am currently half way through my Nurse Practitioner program. When I am not working (and when we can find a babysitter) my husband and I spend most of our time hunting Idaho’s beautiful back-country.
I grew up in Klamath Falls, Oregon where sports ruled my life (basketball, soccer and track) from the time I was old enough to walk until I graduated high school. Which is why, I believe, I was so late to get into hunting. I was introduced to hunting when I was 19 by my Stepfather, Tom. I instantly fell in love with it and looked at it as the toughest “sport” I have ever played. It also solidified an unbreakable bond between my Stepfather and I and I am happy to say we still are able to hunt together at least once a year.
While, I have only been in Idaho for 6 years, I am well acquainted with the devastation wolves can cause as we had plenty of them in Oregon. The only difference in Oregon is we aren’t allowed to do anything about it. This is what motivated me to become involved with the Foundation for Wildlife Management. Here in Idaho, we have no excuses, we have the ability to take care of an issue and as sportsmen I feel as though it is our duty to step up and create a change.
My biggest fear is that if I don’t try to help mitigate our wolf issue now, in the future my daughter won’t ever have the opportunity to be on top of a ridge at sunrise and get to hear a bugling bull. She won’t know what a mule deer backstrap tastes like cooked over an open fire on the mountain top. But most importantly, if our ungulate populations are decimated, she won’t have hunting as a moral compass, skill and tradition to help mold and guide her the way it helped shape me and all the other wonderful hunters I know.
I was born in Weiser and lived in White Bird, Idaho all my life except for my military tour in the US Navy and 7 years in North Pole, AK driving truck on the North Slope haul road. I am an avid sportsman spending as much time in the woods as possible with my wife, Charlotte and son, Wade, passing on this passion to our grandchildren, Kaycen, Payje, & Trayven. I started this journey with my dad hunting and fishing in the mountains around White Bird. I added hound hunting to my adventure after returning from the service and still hound hunt to this day, running 12 hounds. So, when our Moose and Elk population was diminished due to the re-introduction of Wolves and I heard of Foundation for Wildlife Management, I contacted Justin and a new chapter in my outdoor passion was started. My family joined and we began our Wolf trapping experience. Each one of us have harvested multiple Wolves. We are also members of the Idaho Trappers Association and became trappers of Fur Bearing animals.I want to share my passion for the outdoors with the youth of today for they are the future of Hunting, Fishing, Trapping, and the keepers of our wildlife.
Anthony (Tony) McDermott
Life-long hunter and fisherman. Born (1943) and raised in Montana. Following high school work as a logger and hunting guide while attending the University of Montana. Drafted into the US Army in the fall of 1965. Commissioned as an infantry officer, attended airborne school, ranger school, and flight school. Served 22 months as a huey/cobra pilot in Vietnam. Obtained a graduate degree from Central Michigan University, attended the US Army Command and General staff school retiring from the US Army as the professor of military science, University of Montana in 1992. Served as the family back country packer owning horses and mules for the past 50 years. Life member of RMEF, NRA and North American Hunting Club. Served as the Panhandle Fish and Game Commissioner (2005-2013). Currently serving as the Idaho Sportsmen representative to State Wolf Control Board. Totally dedicated to F4WM’s mission of sensible wolf management in maintaining healthy wildlife populations. Committed to opposing anti-hunting organized efforts that line the pockets of attorney’s and in most cases do nothing for the benefit of wildlife or conservation programs.
I am a fourth generation Sandpoint native and I graduated from Sandpoint High in 1988. I then spent 4 years in the U S Navy on the USS Constellation CV-64 Aircraft Carrier traveling the world. I came home to the family business in 1992. I lived in Hope Id for 20 years where I raised three wonderful sons all attending Clark Fork High. I have been an avid hunter all my life mainly archery and rifle for big game. I was a volunteer fire fighter for 20 years when I lived in Hope. I have been a member of numerous boards and committees including the Panhandle Building Contractors Association. Hope volunteer fire fighter, Clark Fork Boosters, I also am an assistant coach at Clark Fork High school for the football program. I have spent 25 years coaching or officiating everything from Baseball, basketball and football at all ages while my boys have been growing up. I love the outdoors and all sports. The reason I am so passionate about the F4WM is like many of you I have been a outdoorsman for most of my life and over the past 15-20 years I have seen the decline in all big game with the exception of the predators. Wolfs, mountain lions, etc. I spend most of my spare time in the woods and outdoors and over the past years the animals numbers have gone down considerably especially the moose and elk. I know some areas the elk have just moved to other areas but without a doubt some units the numbers are declining if not disappearing all together. I love this community and the area and want to see my kids and grandchildren be able to enjoy the same things I have for so many years. I feel we can do that if we work with some of the other organizations and fish and game to manage our large game and bring the elk and moose and mule deer back to our back country.
Sandpoint Chapter Chair
I’m a lifelong resident of North Idaho, went to school in Priest River, Idaho where I consumed my life in basketball, and tons of outdoor activities. After graduating I tried the college thing out at North Idaho College. Being involved with my family and farm, I missed helping my parents. I just wanted to work and enjoy the farm and woods with my family and friends. Working on the farm and being a logger’s daughter taught me more than the average kids’ knowledge of television and video games. Knowing what kind of renewable resource state we live in is amazing and being a part of a family’s business taught me to be smart, ethical, kind hearted, and how to handle extreme hard decisions. I’m a very proud mom of a very special 10-year-old girl, Haylee Mae Jepson. She is the light of my life and the reason I work so hard at passing on what my dad and mom have taught me through the years. I feel like a gazillionaire knowing what I know, seeing what I’ve seen, I know I’m only 34 years old, but what I have shoved into those 34 years is priceless.
I’ve worked hard since moving back to Oldtown, Idaho where I reside. My heart lives at Priest Lake, Idaho where I was lucky to grow up and now spend most of my time at. I am the daughter of Ginny Jepson, and the past President of the Intermountain Fur Harvester’s, A Board Member of the Foundation of Wildlife Management, and board member of the Idaho Trappers Association, and a Board member of the Priest Lake Sportsman’s Association, the North Idaho Trapping Legacy Delbert Jepson. I’ve trapped alongside of Delbert, my Dad, since I was able to walk. I enjoy trapping more than any other adventure. I am an avid outdoorsman from many different kinds hunting, fishing, hiking, and trapping. I’ve been involved with the Intermountain Fur Harvesters, Priest Lake Sportsman’s Association, Foundation for Wildlife Management, and a follower of the Idaho Trappers Association. Trapping is where my heart and soul lives. Not always about catching but getting to experience the world in front of me and using its beauty to live life to its fullest achievements. In my opinion we are the luckiest people of any state, for what we get to do in our woods. I’ve always taken pride in helping people in everyday life. I’ve helped instruct hunters safety for Idaho Fish and Game, coach little kids’ basketball, t-ball, and softball. I like to give back for everyone who has ever taken time to teach me. I always have had a determination in life to lead in ideas and strive to be the best at whatever I put mind too. I believe if we all get involved and being a leader in what we pass on our traditions to our future generations, so our future can have the same elegant experiences that we have got to share growing up and living in Idaho.
My dad always said, I will leave it better then I found it, and remember no matter if you’re elk, deer, bear, lion, moose, wolf or a trapper, archer, hound, bird, rifle, muzzleloader hunter, WE ARE ALL SPORTSMEN, REMEMBER, “UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL.” I am honored to be apart of the Foundation for Wildlife Management and I look forward to our future!
Hello my name is Rusty Kramer and I am the president of the Idaho Trappers Association. I live in Fairfield with my girlfriend Missy and my two teenage boys Remington and Dawson. I farm and am a watermaster for the water district. I also am the head coach of the high school football team. I trap mainly coyotes, fox and cats but I do dabble in some water trapping and quite a bit of summer beaver work. I have trapped every animal legal to trap in Idaho including cougars and have caught and have caught and released a dozen wolves before I got to legally harvest one this season. I have the awesome opportunity of trapping with my father every season since I started when I was little.
My family has been involved in the Idaho Trappers Association since before I was born. I did two terms as director, one as a Vice President before I was elected Idaho Trappers Association president back in 2017. I have been working very hard on unifying the trappers of Idaho and unifying sportsmen groups. After I had recruited Justin Webb to be on the ITA board back in 2016, I expressed interest on running for a board position for F4WM. I was elected to the F4WM board in Aug of 2018. I am excited about this new challenge of giving the F4WM a voice in southern Idaho. Also, I am a huge proponent of sportsmen groups working together and am excited that I am on both boards and can continue to have both groups closely working together.
Hello my name is Matthew Borg. I live in southeast Idaho, have been married for 26 years and have two boys. I have an associate degree in horticulture and landscape design, as well as a helicopter pilot license. I work at INL as a Security Police officer. I am the president of the Idaho Sporting dogs and past president of the Eastern Idaho Houndsman Association (for about twenty years). The last two years, my wife and I have been working as the Secretary/Treasurer for EIHA. I remain consistently engaged with the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners, and representatives to fight for our heritage. I became interested in F4WM after meeting with Justin Webb at the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meetings. As the hound clubs, Idaho Trappers Association and Foundation for Wildlife Management began working together, we have made a huge difference. As sportsmen we all have to work together, and support one another to meet our goals, and keep our heritages alive. This is why I’m excited to be an F4WM board member, and help all the sportsman’s groups work together.
I also volunteer for the “Youth Skills Day” (educating children) and “Wild About Bears” (educating teachers and professors that are new to Idaho) programs. Both are hands on educational opportunities where we teach the importance of hound hunting and how that fits into predator management, while creating a “Mock Bear hunt” where the participant actually handles the hounds, tracking a dragged bear hide to a tree, and learns what the activity is really about. The Youth Skills day (where 400 to 500 kids come through our booth) is my favorite because I believe we need to involve our youth in hunting activities, as they are our future.
This last year I have been working with Idaho Fish and Game putting GPS collars on mountain lions. This has been a really good project in many ways. I am an avid hunter, I love it all! I like to hunt with a rifle, a shot gun, and archery. I love camping and hiking in the backcountry and with my family. But my real passion is hound hunting! There is nothing like watching a dog work whether it be on a bear, lion, bobcat, racoon or even a bird. I love to train dogs and take others out to the mountains so they can experience the outdoors especially our youth. Unfortunately for houndsmen, there are a lot of areas that have changed as the wolves have become established on the landscape, and a lot of areas we can’t run dogs anymore. A lot of guys have lost dogs to wolves... as we also watch our elk herds getting devastated by the over-abundance of wolves.
My name is Teresa Stevens and I have been the Secretary/Treasurer for The Foundation for Wildlife Management since August 2016. I was born and raised in Bonner County, Idaho and grew up spending lots of time in the outdoors with my parents and brother. We spent most of our free time hunting, fishing, working with our 4-H animals, hiking, and berry picking. Growing up in the Idaho Panhandle has made me truly appreciate mother nature, wildlife, and exploring the beautiful area we live in. After graduating High School I took a job as a bank teller and after a few years worked my way up to the Branch Manager position- meanwhile my Husband and I bought a Pizzeria and began that adventure. After almost 10 years in the banking/financial industry I decided it was time to take all that I had learned and apply it to my own business. Since 2016 I have been running our restaurant and working for The F4WM. The core values, morality, and general kindness I’ve experienced within this group makes me proud to be part of the team!
My name is Justin Webb, I’m a fourty-five year old, father of three, who is blessed to have a very understanding wife, two grown daughters, and a nineteen year old son (who just left for college), who all sacrifice a great deal to support me in my passions, and the time I dedicate to F4WM. I’m an avid outdoorsman who grew up off the grid, and learned young that Hunting and Fishing are an important part of my family heritage, and providing for one’s family. I am passionate about wildlife conservation, and the Idea of "Leaving the outdoors better then we found it". I enjoy being in the back country, hunting, fishing, or camping with my family, as well as supporting my family in their passions and activities. I’m currently a Hunting Guide for Clark Fork Outfitters, and do some Commercial Fishing in the off season. A carpenter by trade, I have worked industrial construction as a pipe fitter, done quality control on a rock crusher, and ran my own residential construction company for a number of years… I’d have to say the one job I enjoyed the most was working as a Wildlife Tech for Idaho Fish and Game. Being in the outdoors and improving wildlife habitat is quite rewarding, as is working to manage wolf numbers for the good of all Idaho’s Wildlife. Contrary to the belief of some, I am not Anti-Wolf. In fact, the more time I spend around wolves, the more respect I have for them. They are an amazing predator and are extremely smart. Unfortunately they also breed much faster than sportsmen can harvest them, so managing their numbers is an increasingly difficult task!
As the Executive Director for the Foundation for Wildlife Management, the majority of my efforts are spent working to expand our program, and generating funding for wolf harvest reimbursements. I answer the phones when people have questions, handle the majority of our email communications, operate our social media pages, and try to keep our membership current on what’s going on within the program through newsletters and on our website. Another portion of my time is spent attending Idaho Fish and Game and Commission meetings, promoting liberal wolf harvest seasons and opportunities, giving presentations and helping educate people about wolves, the effect they have had on our wildlife, and wolf trapping. Although I am not the founder of F4WM (as many mistake me to be), I am very passionate about our cause, and have been part of the program since our first year. My own efforts in wolf management taught me quickly that successfully harvesting wolves takes time, dedication, patience, perseverance, and a lot of gas money. Although I trap a few each year, targeting wolves has been an ongoing bout of hard learned lessons, and is far more work than I ever expected. I truly believe in this program and know that many of Idaho’s top trappers could not continue to remove wolves without F4WM.
"United we stand, Divided we fall" - Is a mantra constantly on my mind. Now more than ever, All Sportsmen, Ranchers, and Concerned Citizens, need to stand together to ensure the longevity of our heritage, and way of life… “Lace up your Boots, Pass the Hat, We’ve Got a Job to do!”