BHA Bestows Top Honors at Rendezvous

News for Immediate Release
May 21, 2019
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, mckalip@backcountryhunters.org

Hunters, anglers recognized for contributions to North America’s public lands, waters, wildlife

MISSOULA, Mont. – At Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ 8th Annual North American Rendezvous, the organization honored men and women from across the conservation community for their efforts to sustain valuable fish and wildlife habitat, enhance public access to public lands and waters, and champion fair chase practices afield. The 2019 honorees follow:

BHA’s Jim Posewitz Award for Ethical Hunting and Fishing recognizes outstanding ethical behavior in the field and the education of the outdoor public on the importance of ethical behavior. The recipient of the 2019 award is Karen Boeger, a BHA member and Nevada resident committed to mentoring and bringing up the next generation of BHA leaders in the Silver State.

“Karen Boeger has been a leader in ensuring ethical pursuit of fish and game, including on efforts to regulate or ban live-action game cameras, smart rifles and drones for hunting,” said Ted Koch, BHA North American board member and career federal resource manager. “As an example of her commitment, she attended the BHA chapter leader training in Boise then left early, before many of the fun events of Rendezvous began, so she could testify in Nevada on important conservation issues.”

The Ted Trueblood Award is presented by BHA for exceptional communications work informing and inspiring people for the benefit of public lands, waters and wildlife. The 2019 Trueblood Award recipient is Steve Rinella, host of the MeatEater podcast and TV show. 

“It is a privilege to honor Steve Rinella with BHA’s Ted Trueblood award,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “Quite frankly it should have been communicator of the decade. The public lands revolution is fueled by Steve’s ability to connect, inspire and engage with folks all over North America. I couldn’t be more proud to be in the arena with this fine conservation champion, and I hate to think where our movement would be without him. We have much more to do together.” 

BHA’s Aldo Leopold Award is given for exceptional work and dedication to the conservation of wildlife habitat. The 2019 winner is Virgil Moore, former director of Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

“With four decades of immeasurable contributions to the conservation of Idaho’s fish and wildlife resources and habitats, Virgil Moore is the epitome of the Aldo Leopold Award,” said BHA Idaho Chapter Co-Chair Eric Crawford. “Virgil served as a cabinet member for Idaho Governor Butch Otter in his capacity as director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, providing valuable guidance and direction during the delisting of the gray wolf, and he was co-chair of Governor Otter’s sage grouse task force in 2012. More recently Virgil was president of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, leading that organization in its efforts to ensure the eventual passage of Recovering America's Wildlife Act. Virgil’s name will be associated with a strong conservation legacy, not just in Idaho but in the nation, for decades to come.”

The Sigurd F. Olson Award recognizes outstanding effort in the conservation of rivers, lakes or wetland habitat. The 2019 award winners are Frank and Jeanne Moore, two champions for wild salmonids and wild rivers. The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area Designation Act, signed into law this year as part of the public lands package, reflects their unmatched impact on the policies and conversation surrounding salmon and steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.

“When most of us reflect on the conservation heroes that have made the greatest difference for fish and wildlife and the future of our hunting and fishing traditions, we often recall those who walked the trails of lifetimes before us,” said BHA Conservation Director John Gale. “Now, however, we are proud to honor the legacy of living legends. Frank and Jeanne Moore have dedicated their lives to the wild steelhead of Steamboat Creek and the North Umpqua. The congressional victory achieved for these storied waters was realized only months ago and appropriately bears their name in perpetuity. The Frank and Jeanne Moore Wild Steelhead Special Management Area not only provides a permanent sanctuary for this famed fishery; it also testifies to the dedication of Frank and Jeanne and a unique inheritance for the anglers of tomorrow.”

The 2018 George Bird Grinnell Award for outstanding BHA chapter of the year was presented to the Michigan chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

Tom McGraw, a BHA North American board member and Michigander weighed in: “I’m proud to say that the Michigan chapter reflects the firm dedication that our state’s outdoor community holds for our public lands. Their impressive growth in the last three years is matched by their staunch commitment to engage on the issues that affect our fish, wildlife and outdoor heritage with the legislature and our state agencies. I can’t wait to see them build off this success!”

The Larry Fischer Award honors the memory and contributions of a longtime BHA board member by recognizing exceptional dedication by a business to BHA’s mission. Filson is the winner of the 2019 award. A platinum level corporate partner, Filson has cosponsored dozens of storytelling events across North America with BHA, including the centerpiece event of the 2019 Rendezvous.

“Businesses in the outdoor recreation economy know their success lies in their customers’ ability to access recreation opportunities,” said Rachel VandeVoort, director of the Montana Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Much of this opportunity, especially in the West, resides on public lands and waters. A select group of these companies step up to the plate to support conservation and access in a bigger way; Filson is currently setting that bar with its support of BHA.”

Last but not least, the Mike Beagle-Chairman’s Award is bestowed to an individual who shows outstanding effort on behalf of BHA. The award is named after Beagle, a BHA founder who launched BHA “around an Oregon campfire” in 2004. The 2019 award winner is David Lien, one of the founding members of BHA.

“David Lien epitomizes what it means to be a BHA volunteer,” said Tawney, who presented the award to Lien. “Not only did he help start the Colorado and Minnesota chapters; he also served eight years on our North American board. David is a prolific writer well-known and respected for his thoughtful opinion columns. In addition to his grassroots contributions, he put BHA’s logo on his wedding cake. Now that’s commitment! His tenacious yet even-keeled approach to conservation should be an inspiration to all.”

The 8th annual North American Rendezvous had a strong showing from BHA’s corporate sponsors. BHA Platinum Corporate Partners include Camp ChefFederal Premium AmmunitionFilsonFirst LiteGerber GearGlobal RescuegoHUNT,LeupoldMTN OPSNew Belgium BrewingonXSeek OutsideSITKA GearStanleyTraeger Wood Fired GrillsUnder ArmourVortex Optics and YETI. BHA Gold Corporate Partners include Alpacka RaftBenchmade U.S.A.CrispiDannerNemoOrvisPrime ArcheryRepYourWaterStone GlacierVictory ArcheryWeatherby and Weston. See a list of all Rendezvous sponsors.

Details regarding BHA’s 2020 North American Rendezvous in Missoula, Montana, will be released soon. Find photos from the 2019 Rendezvous here.

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