Podcasts are one of the dominant forms of storytelling today, but it's something we can forget in the hurly burly of our daily lives: Stories are meant for telling, and we crave to listen to them.
With Hal Herring, host of BHA's Podcast & Blast, those stories get aired every two weeks as Hal dives into tales of conservation, hunting and fishing - and the people who make that world tick and bugle and who huff up the hills of this changing place we call home.
Here are 10 great stories from 2022, presented in reverse chronological order. We hope that if you missed them the first time - or simply want to lose yourself in them again - these conversations can send you on a journey of your own.
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AUTHOR AND HISTORIAN DOUGLAS BRINKLEY
Douglas Brinkley is the preeminent scholar and writer on the history of America’s public lands and conservation movement. Among his seven bestselling books of history are Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (2010) and Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (2016). His new book in this series, Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, and the Great Environmental Awakening, is available now. Brinkley, who is a professor at Rice University in Texas, is also the author of numerous books on the American presidency, the editor of Ronald Reagan’s papers, a Jack Kerouac scholar, and the literary executor for gonzo journalist and writer Hunter F. Thompson. Listen and enjoy as Hal takes a deep dive with Mr. Brinkley as together they consider the past, present and future of “the public estate of the American people.”
FERAL HORSES ON PUBLIC LANDS IN NEVADA
More than 82,000 feral horses roam U.S. public lands, about four times as many as the land and water can sustain. Almost all of them live in Nevada, the most arid state in the union, where their impacts are almost unimaginable: desertification and massive loss of wildlife, ranging from pollinators and other insects to sage grouse, elk, mule deer and pronghorn. The Bureau of Land Management is doing what it can to address this crisis, but the agency finds itself in an impossible position with an entirely misguided but powerful feral horse advocacy movement. However, a growing coalition of biologists and natural resource scientists, hunters and anglers, wildlife advocates and people who love the Nevada public lands (and the horses) are in a desperate race to solve this problem in a humane way – before it’s too late. Hal traveled to Nevada to talk with some of these experts: Mike Cox, state bighorn sheep and mountain goat biologist for the Nevada Department of Wildlife; Tina Bundy Nappe, an Eastern Sierra landowner and public lands advocate; Jim Sedinger, sage grouse biologist and retired University of Nevada wildlife ecology professor; and Bryce Pollock, a conservationist and hunter with the Nevada chapter of BHA.
Read BHA's policy statement on U.S. feral horse and burro management, which was adopted by the BHA North American board of directors in 2021.
Sign BHA's petition and support the BLM's efforts to address the feral horse and burro problem.
MISSISSIPPI FORESTER ALEX HARVEY
Come with Hal to southern Mississippi to talk with Alex Harvey, a registered professional forester in Mississippi and Alabama and a land management consultant, wildlife biologist and multi-generational conservationist, hunter and fisherman. Harvey is carrying on the outdoor traditions passed on to him from generations of his family, ranging from herbalism and foraging to rabbit, squirrel and deer hunting, cattle ranching, gardening, cooking and living a full and thriving life in the Southern outdoors. Alex is also the founder of Legacy Land Management, “forestry from the ground up,” helping private landowners, many of them Black, make the most of their properties for wildlife, timber and ecological resilience.
MARINE VETERAN AND STORYTELLER RUSSELL WORTH PARKER
Russell Worth Parker, known as Worth, is a retired Marine and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. After 27 years in the Corps, he is home in Wilmington, North Carolina, hunting and fishing and being a husband and father – and has, as he puts it, “fallen backwards into a writing career.” Parker’s work has been published in The New York Times, Garden & Gun, The Bitter Southerner, Backcountry Journal, Shooting Sportsman, Salt Magazine and military websites such as SOFLETE.com. Join us for a full-tilt conversation that ranges from BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative to the Drive-by Truckers, Cormac McCarthy, veterans hunting Texas turkeys, traumatic brain injury and war. We also discuss the classic 80s film Red Dawn.
RUE MAPP, FOUNDER AND CEO, OUTDOOR AFRO
Rue Mapp transformed her kitchen table blog into a national nature business and movement. Today, Mapp is founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro. For more than a decade, the nonprofit has continued to celebrate and inspire Black connections and leadership in nature across the United States. Mapp also is an award-winning and inspirational leader, speaker, public lands champion and author. Her first national book, Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors, was released in the fall of 2022. Mapp is a National Geographic 2019 fellow, Heinz Awards honoree and National Wildlife Federation communication award recipient as well. Her work has earned international media attention from Oprah Winfrey, The New York Times, Good Morning America, NPR, NBC’s TODAY, Forbes and MeatEater. Be inspired by her wide-ranging conversation with Hal Herring, and follow her adventures @RueMapp on Instagram and Twitter.
BLM DIRECTOR TRACY STONE-MANNING
For Americans who live or venture west of the Mississippi River or north to Alaska, no public lands are more important, more abundant or more accessible than those managed by the Bureau of Land Management. We are talking about 247.3 million acres of public land (70 million of them in Alaska). In the Lower 48, this means elk hunting in the Missouri Breaks of Montana, Wyoming’s best pronghorn and mule deer country, quail hunting in the borderlands of New Mexico, and black bear or even bison hunting in the high desert mountains of Utah. The BLM manages the National Conservation Lands system, which includes millions of acres of America’s finest hiking, camping, wandering, canyoneering, rafting and access to rivers. The agency administers 18,000 grazing permits and is responsible for 700 million subsurface acres of publicly owned minerals. If it seems like an impossible task…well, sometimes it is. In this podcast we talk with BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning about the present and future of these lands – and how we can create a future in which politics is no longer the major obstacle to keeping these irreplaceable lands in public hands.
CORNER CROSSING IN WYOMING WITH RYAN CALLAGHAN, LIZ LYNCH AND JARED OAKLEAF
Most of us have been following the case: four hunters from Missouri who used a homemade ladder to cross from one section of public land to the next without setting foot on private land…and the hard-fought court cases that ensued in Carbon County, Wyoming. It’s a case that may define public access to public lands for decades to come. Yet it is more than that. It’s about the resurgence of privatization of public assets in America, a harsh echo from the Gilded Age. It’s a reminder that plutocracy never sleeps, that the public trust is never truly safe and that, as Frederick Douglass said best, “Power concedes nothing without a demand.” Come listen to this discussion, recorded live at BHA’s 11th annual North American Rendezvous with MeatEater’s Ryan Callaghan and Liz Lynch and Jared Oakleaf of the Wyoming chapter of BHA: It’s a deep dive into the Wyoming corner crossing case, 200 years in the making. It’s a story of old range wars, land giveaways and ancient doctrines of law. Explore with us the possibilities that “bruising someone’s airspace with the points of one’s hips or shoulders” can be an offense worthy of full-bore prosecution…at least in the eyes of some folks.
DOUG DUREN, HUNTER, FARMER, LAND MANAGER, CONSERVATIONIST
We hunters and anglers are often lost, these days, in a thicket of questions about public land and private land, loss of access, too much access, conservation priorities, conflicting desires and goals. One person who is forging a path through this thicket is Doug Duren, hunter-conservationist, multi-generational Driftless Area landowner in southern Wisconsin, and somewhat unlikely conservation and hunting media star. Join us for a deeply inspiring conversation about something overwhelmingly positive that is happening right now – when it matters – because, as Doug reminds us, when it comes to land, water and wildlife, “It’s not ours, it’s just our turn.”
RANDY NEWBERG AND ANDREW MCKEAN ON ELK MADNESS IN MONTANA
The Montana chapter of BHA works hard to uphold the gold standard in public hunting opportunities, with one of the longest elk and mule deer hunting seasons in the U.S., a wealth of public land, and one of the most innovative private land access programs ever devised. But the winds of change are howling. MT BHA fought back this legislative session against efforts to commercialize and privatize our public wildlife. BHA members testified before committees, published op-eds and mobilized more than 2,500 resident sportsmen and women to the tune of 57,942 letters sent to Montana's elected officials. Yet the war is far from over. Many of the same bad ideas are back in front of Montana's Fish & Wildlife Commission. Elk numbers are booming, hunting pressure on public lands is skyrocketing, and landownership patterns are changing, with fewer small-scale ranches and more vast “amenity ranches” – many of them purchased specifically for hunting and outfitting that emphatically excludes the public hunter. What is happening? Where are we going? What does this mean, not just for Montana but for the future of hunting in the fast-growing and fast-changing West? Andrew McKean and Randy Newberg join us for a spirited and sobering look at the place where politics and privatization meet the future of our hunting – and how we might affect that future if we have the knowledge and the courage to act.
CHEF EDUARDO GARCIA, CO-FOUNDER OF MONTANA MEX
Eduardo Garcia, one of the greatest wild game chefs of our time and the co-founder of Montana Mex, returns to the Podcast & Blast to talk, as always, about life – family, work, cooking, hunting, gardening, foraging, the discipline of awareness and the glories and struggles of the every day. On Thursday, Jan. 19, Chef Garcia will be leading a Field to Table Experience with BHA. His TV series, Zest for Life, is available now. Listen to Hal’s 2019 interview with Eduardo if you don’t know his story and then listen to this one, a conversation with a man who was struck down by an unimaginable accident while hunting and who worked his way forward: from the edge of death and the reality of loss, to a life more abundant.