North America’s public lands and waters are the lifeblood of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
These are the cherished wild places that restore our spirits and provide the solace of solitude. They’re where we go to challenge ourselves in pursuit of adventure and game. They are strongholds of important wildlife habitat and fisheries, providing places where a range of species – everything from elk and mule deer to grouse, waterfowl and native trout – can grow to maturity and thrive.
Every citizen owns a share of public lands and waters in the United States. It is up to us to defend this heritage and ensure that our legacy of stewardship is handed down to future generations intact. We work to maintain our longstanding sporting traditions through hard work and a focus on the following:
- Habitat Conservation
- Conserving Priority Landscapes
- Responsible OHV Use and Management
- Defending Our Public Lands Legacy
Robust populations of fish and wildlife are directly linked to the health of their habitats. Sportsmen must commit to working with private land owners and state and federal management agencies to overcome jurisdictional barriers, facilitate the development of consistent land-use policies, protect migratory corridors and improve habitat health while enhancing conservation practices regardless of where management boundaries lay on the map.
The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the Public Trust Doctrine define fish and wildlife resources as the property of the people, managed by government agencies entrusted with their stewardship. When coupled with our American legacy of public lands, this model is the foundation of science-based fish and wildlife management, and it is BHA’s duty as an organization committed to hunters and anglers to advance sound stewardship policies and promote citizen engagement. We have an obligation to fish, wildlife and their habitats to build partnerships with state, federal and tribal management agencies to ensure that decisions are being guided by current, peer-reviewed science rather than emotion, opinion or conjecture.
Conserving Priority Landscapes
Landscapes unite people as much as they do fish and wildlife. Habitat degradation and fragmentation threaten the ecological health of our lands and waters, intensify invasive species intrusion and jeopardize the integrity of terrestrial and aquatic migratory corridors.
By promoting policies that advance science-based management and habitat conservation – and zeroing in on areas of special importance to fish and game species, as well as sportsmen and women– BHA is helping implement results-oriented strategies for securing some of our most valuable lands and waters. Our multi-stakeholder approach – engaging user groups such as ranchers, resource management agencies, and hunters and anglers – achieves success via collaboration and consensus, all while ensuring that fish and wildlife populations have access to the clean water and intact landscapes they need to thrive.
Responsible Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Use and Management
Hunters and anglers know that the hike in is usually worth the pack out. Consequently, it’s imperative that motorized vehicle use is balanced with maintaining habitat and non-motorized recreational opportunities. Sportsmen are acutely aware of how illegal off-highway vehicle abuse scars the land, pollutes water, spreads invasive weeds, displaces wildlife and violates the solitude of the backcountry. BHA supports reasonable regulations – and swift enforcement – that encourage responsible OHV use while addressing the needs of fish and wildlife, the security of their habitat and quality hunting and fishing experiences for the general public.
Defending Our Public Lands Legacy
Every American citizen is an equal owner of our public lands. Yet that birthright, so unique to our country, is being threatened by misguided individuals and legislative attacks from fringe interests that seek to seize, transfer or dispose of our federal public lands by promoting state ownership or, worse, selling our children’s inheritance to the highest bidder for private financial gain. Our members recognize the need to protect and enhance these vast intact landscapes for clean water and wide-ranging migratory wildlife. We also recognize our own need for places that are wild, untamed and remote where we can challenge our minds and bodies. By marshaling the voices of conservation-minded hunters and anglers from around the country, BHA not only is making a difference for the future of hunting, fishing and our public lands; we also are inspiring Americans to be bold advocates for the values and outdoor traditions that anchor this public lands inheritance for future generations.