Back at it! That’s what we are feeling here on the Michigan Chapter of BHA: the board has been fired up since the winter planning session, and we have enjoyed the ride this year! Our goals this year have been the return of the MI Chapter Rendezvous, greater awareness on policy issues, impact towards access, more conservation efforts, more community outreach through education, more social events – MORE! Covid may have slowed us down, and stalled us for a bit, but we were back to do more! This year we had some incredible victories with events, policy, and education.
Our efforts are certainly enhanced by the assistance of some of our great state partners! A huge shoutout and thank you to Jay’s Sporting Goods, Flint Ridge Rifles, Island View Resort, Sheehan’s Custom Flyrods, Hardside Hydration, and Sauk Trail Archery.
Early on, we had a great event that focused on hunting dogs, their health and care of field trauma. This event was led by Dr. Jill Vander-Yacht, a veterinarian who spoke extensively on caring for our four-legged hunting partners. It had a great turnout with some good information shared and tips for making it easier on the hardest hunters that can’t tell us what hurts. Education was the goal here – and everyone went away with a little more insight on our beloved dogs. Event information here: Field Trauma and Triage for Bird Dogs - Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
The Michigan Chapter always enjoys hosting the Spring Turkey Camp at Island View Resort! This year we had a great turnout with success in the field. This is always an opportunity for several BHA members to come together and spend time in the field. It is a fantastic way to really kick off the spring and head into summer refreshed and ready to make an impact! 2022 Event Details here UP Turkey Camp at Island View Resort - Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
We also returned to the Boardman River for another cleanup day. This is our second year for this, and we couldn’t be prouder to be part of cleaning up this beautiful waterway that is important to so many sportswomen and sportsmen. This river, just southeast of Traverse city, is essential to outdoors persons in the area, and MI BHA was glad to be invited back by an avid fisherman who has made it a priority, Paul Spielbauer. Event details here: MI BHA Boardman River Cleanup - Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
The Michigan chapter was approached by the DNR to attend the Elk Management Team, or EMAT. The EMAT is composed of differing groups – hunters, professional guides, farmers, and indigenous tribal members to name a few. It meets every 10 years to assess the Michigan’s DNR plan on elk management, the health of the heard, dispersion areas, hunting quotas, and the like. It was a great honor to be invited to have a seat at the table, to give input into such an iconic, important game species in this state.
MI BHA also was at the annual Compton Traditional Bowhunters Rendezvous. This event is structured around the growing endeavor of hunting with traditional archery equipment – longbows and recurve bows. This event is held each year in southwest Michigan in June, and draws enthusiasts, vendors, and those new to traditional archery. MI BHA has been at this event for several years now, and our goals align with them in many ways.
We had a great membership boost in September during our Public Lands month – 126 new members! To all of you who joined – thank you and welcome to MI Backcountry Hunters and Anglers!
We have had a few Pints Nights – both in person and virtual. As we get back in the swing of things, our in-person Pint Nights will continue to grow – we are trying to get to areas that don’t see the big events and its nice to meet members that we don’t often get to interact with on a one-on-one basis. We are always thankful to those who take time away from busy schedules to join us at these Pint Nights. We also had a virtual Pint Night with Chad Stewart (Ungulate Management Specialist for MI DNR) and Jared Duquette (Wildlife Division Chief for the MI DNR). It was a great time talking Michigan whitetail, hunting, and conservation.
On the policy front, we worked with Senator Filler in addressing the Pheasant Stamp Act, and how it affects hunting this game bird, and what it means for access and opportunities. Also, we researched and spoke with many people on the expansion of Camp Grayling and all it means in regard to our BHA Mission of access and conservation; it is sensitive situation, one that we wanted to educate ourselves on thoroughly before taken a stance. As a chapter we, like many other conservation organizations, opposed the expansion based on issues of questionable access and opportunity that might arise from the changes that would occur. You can read our latest Camp Grayling Blog here: Camp Grayling Expansion in Michigan - Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Our Michigan Chapter Rendezvous is back! In August we gathered a bunch of Public Land Owners and met in Baldwin, MI for our annual Rendezvous, which we haven’t had since 2019. We were excited to bring this back and share it with so many. The turn out was great, we had a lot of incredible sponsors and guest speakers. Lectures on rifles, out west hunting pack dumps, fly fishing rod building, and arrow construction and lethality to name a few, we also had a retired DNR officer regale us with tales from the field, sharing insights and lessons to further educate hunters. Each night was ended with a great bonfire with new and old friends sharing stories and laughs. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the way it all turned out.
2023 is going to be a stellar year for us and we invite you to watch for information and content from us! We hope to see you at some of our events and thank you for your dedication to conservation! If you have any a questions, suggestions, or want to get involved please email us at [email protected] and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Check out a few more photos below!