Steve Witte was recently appointed to serve as the Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers chapter Indemnity Lands Liaison. Steve was born in Wray, Colorado, and raised on a farm near Vernon until age 10 when his folks moved off the farm and purchased a business in Wray, where he finished grade school and graduated from junior high and high school.
“As a boy on the farm, with my Daisy, I did my best to guard our granary from ravaging sparrows. My first fish was a sunfish from a private pond along the banks of the Arikaree,” Steve explained. “In those days, pheasant season was a very big deal in Yuma County, and I couldn’t wait to participate! My hunter safety card number is in the low four-digit range.”
“I’ve had several mentors,” Steve added. “My father taught me firearms safety, my uncle took me pheasant hunting and made big game hunting sound intriguing. One of my bosses, early in my career, and my friend (also named Steve) taught me to fly-fish and took me big game hunting. A man named Floyd tricked me into thinking calling turkeys must be easy.”
Steve is a graduate of the Colorado School of Mines. He worked for the Colorado Division of Water Resources throughout a career spanning forty years. His work took him from downtown Denver, to Alamosa, to Steamboat Springs, and finally Pueblo. At the time of his retirement in 2018, Steve had served as the Division Engineer for the Arkansas River basin for thirty years.
“I’ve used nearly every type of weapon legal for hunting in Colorado,” Steve added. “I hunt turkey each spring and I enjoy fly-fishing small trout streams, but lately my passion has become archery deer hunting, specifically plains archery hunting in Colorado. Recently, I’ve drawn some deer and antelope tags in several western states, but my home base for hunting and fishing is southern Colorado.”
Steve joined Backcountry Hunters & Anglers in 2022 after listening to BHA’s “Podcast and Blast” with Hal Herring, especially Episodes 125 and 132. “As a new member, I was excited to attend the 13th Annual Rendezvous of the Colorado Chapter held at ‘goat wadi’ near Salida in June 2022. In 2023, I was pleased to participate in the Gunnison Fence Pull as part of the Colorado Public Lands Day and was able to meet a number of great people,” he said. “As enjoyable as these events were, I recognized the real reason for having joined BHA after I lost access to public lands that have been very special to me.”
“The experience, advice and support of other BHA members has provided me with a foundation to attempt to bring about changes needed to restore public access and preserve habitat,” Steve added. “Working together is the key to address these issues as well as some of the bigger issues that are in our collective interest, such as resolving corner crossing issues, exploring opportunities to gain meaningful access to landlocked parcels and existing outdoor recreational leases on large parcels, and resisting attempts to privatize public lands.”
Thanks to Steve, the Colorado BHA chapter was able to lead the effort to encourage the State Land Board to provide Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) an exclusive initial opportunity to lease 17,232 acres of indemnity lands under the Hunting and Fishing Access Program before offering these for private recreational leases or other uses that would preclude hunting and fishing.” Steve lives near Pueblo.
-Bryan Jones. “CO BHA Leads the Effort on Public Hunting and Fishing Access to Indemnity Lands.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 11/27/23.
-BHA’s Podcast & Blast: https://www.backcountryhunters.org/bha_podcast
-“2021 Rendezvous Recap-Campfire Stories: Hal Herring.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/1/21.
-Are you interested in serving on the Colorado BHA Chapter Leadership Team? Learn more about our volunteer opportunities here.
Founded by Mike Beagle, a former U.S. Army field artillery officer, and formed around an Oregon campfire, in 2004, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our nation’s wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With members spread out across all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories—including chapters in 48 states, two Canadian provinces and one territory, and Washington, D.C.—BHA brings an authentic, informed, boots-on-the-ground voice to the conservation of public lands. The Colorado BHA chapter was founded by David Petersen (a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) in 2005 (the first official BHA chapter)