BHA Membership Is Young, Active, Nonpartisan, Demographic Survey Shows

News for Immediate Release
Aug. 7, 2018
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262,
[email protected]


Two-thirds of members are 45 or younger, identify as Republican or Independent


MISSOULA, Mont. – Results of a new, comprehensive demographic survey of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members shows that the membership of North America’s fastest growing group of public lands sportsmen and women skews young and is politically diverse.

Nearly 70 percent of BHA members are age 45 or younger, and more than 70 percent identify as Republican, Independent or unaffiliated (20 percent are Democrats). Members rely heavily on online platforms, including the BHA website and social media channels, to gain information on the organization and take action on policy issues impacting public lands.

BHA members also spend close to three-quarters of their time afield on public lands and waters, a point flagged by BHA President and CEO Land Tawney.

“The turnout at BHA events – gatherings taking place all across North America – shows that we trend young, but to see the breakdown of these numbers is astounding,” said Tawney, a fifth-generation Montana sportsman. “We are truly combining the sage wisdom of our wisest members with the youthful exuberance of the next generations of conservationists. Not only do we spend a ton a time on the water and in the woods; we also are motivated to protect and promote what was gifted to us.”

Results reveal the following about BHA’s members:

  • 68 percent are age 45 or younger;
  • 33 percent identify as Independent, 23 percent as Republican, 20 percent as Democrat and 16 percent as “none of the above” (8 percent didn’t list an affiliation);
  • 57 percent identify as both a hunter and angler (35 percent identify as hunters, 6 percent as anglers and 2 percent as “others”);
  • A majority of BHA members – 61 percent total – look to BHA’s social media channels, emails and website as primary sources of information about BHA issues;
  • 71 percent of members’ time afield is spent on public lands and waters.

“With elections looming in the fall, both current and prospective politicians should take heed of the growing voice that is public lands sportsmen and women – and Backcountry Hunters & Anglers – in policies they pursue,” Tawney stated. “We hunt and we fish. And we vote public lands and waters.”

More than 13,500 BHA members received the survey, and more than 2,000 responded, equating to a response rate of 15 percent. The survey was conducted in the spring of 2018. BHA has doubled its membership every year for the past five years and currently sits at 24,000 members and an online community of more than a quarter-million. BHA members hail from all 50 states and 13 provinces and territories.

“I have long dreamed of being a part of a vibrant conservation organization whose members act to support the mission of the org over political tribalism,” said Ryan Busse, chair of the BHA North American board of directors. “And goddammit ... at BHA we are doing it!”  

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for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.


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