Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) was born around a campfire in March 2004 thanks to seven hunters and anglers, men and women, taking the initiative. That’s how all battles are begun and won! Don’t hesitate to take on whatever you have the drive/energy/interest to pursue within the broad parameters of BHA’s wildlands and wildlife preservation mission.
Contact your local/regional Colorado BHA Group leaders for additional information and see examples of what we’ve been doing/working on recently below.
Top Chapter Highlights:
- We helped defeat a bobcat, lynx, and lion hunting ban (SB-031) introduced in the state senate and we’re working to pass a Wildlife Crossings Bill.
- The chapter is offering a $500 reward for reports or information leading to a conviction of anyone responsible for illegal trail construction (mechanized and motorized) on public lands.
- New chapter leaders: Bill Dombroski (Assistant Regional Director-Boulder County); Scott Heatwold and Derek Pankratz (Communications Committee); Dave Deschenes (Habitat Watch Volunteer: Pike-San Isabel National Forest).
“Our most important asset is our volunteers The first two bullets (above) are not possible without the third.”
Chapter Leadership Team Updates (43 Chapter Leadership Team Members/46 Habitat Watch Volunteers)
Bill Dombroski volunteered to serve as an Assistant Regional Director for Boulder County. Scott Heatwold and Derek Pankratz have volunteered to lead our new chapter Communications Committee and are working with BHA Colorado Chapter Coordinator Brien (“Army of One”) Webster to get the ball rolling. Dave Deschenes volunteered to serve as a Habitat Watch Volunteer for the Pike-San Isabel National Forest.
Habitat Watch Volunteers serve as our “eyes and ears” in all eleven Colorado national forests. Contact HWV Program Coordinator Don Holmstrom ([email protected]) for additional information. See the links/information below for more information on CLTs/HWVs and other members.
Help Colorado BHA member Shawn Andreatta kick leukemia's ass! Colorado BHA member Shawn Andreatta was recently diagnosed with leukemia and will be undergoing chemotherapy treatment in Denver. If you know someone who has been through chemo, you know the cost they endure physically and financially. This fundraiser is a way to lessen the financial burden to Shawn, his wife and children. We know Shawn will kick leukemia's ass and will be adventuring in the San Juans again soon with his family and friends.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Bill Dombroski Assistant Regional Director.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/16/22.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint (Derek Pankratz) Communications Co-Chair.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/2/22.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint (Scott Heatwole) Communications Co-Chair.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/25/22.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint (Dave Deschenes) Habitat Watch Volunteer.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/9/22.
- Colorado Wildlife Council (CWC) Spotlight-Bob Shettel (Colorado BHA CPW West Slope Liaison).
- Colorado BHA Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) program information.
- “Colorado BHA State Chapter Leadership (Triad) Structure.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/26/21.
- “Empowering Leaders: It’s In BHA’s DNA.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/7/21.
Chapter Communications Update-Derek Pankratz & Scott Heatwole
“Scott Heatwole and Derek Pankratz here. We’re both excited to serve as the new chapter communications team, and are looking forward to working with all of you to get the word out on all the incredible things CO BHA is up to.”
“By way of quick introduction, Scott is a Virginia native who now lives in Castle Rock. He's an Air Force Veteran who has managed several social media pages since 2013. Derek lives in Gunnison but is originally from Wisconsin. He’s been a researcher, writer, and editor for his entire professional career, including editing a comprehensive guidebook to the national parks.”
“Our goal is to deepen relationships and engagement with our members and increase awareness of the chapter's mission, activities, and policy objectives--all in the service of our wild public lands and waters. Our initial focus will be on strengthening our presence on social media and launching a refreshed chapter newsletter.”
“Finally, if you have an event you'd like to promote on social media, reach out to Scott and include a caption and image in the email so he can post. More to come in the weeks and months ahead. Please don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or suggestions.” Let Derek and Scott know (contact info. below) if you are interested in assisting/contributing in any way:
- CO BHA Communications Co-Chair (Scott Heatwole, Castle Rock): [email protected]
- CO BHA Communications Co-Chair (Derek Pankratz, Gunnison): [email protected]
OHV/Illegal Trails Reward Program/Initiative
Boulder County Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Kris Hess hit the ground running after first volunteering as a Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) for the Arapahoe-Roosevelt National Forest (ARNF) during Nov. 2021 followed by volunteering to serve as an ARD for Boulder County during Dec. 2021.
Then, during January 2022 Kris sent a letter to the ARNF Forest Supervisor that stated (in part): “In support of habitat protection BHA offers up to $500 in reward for reports or information leading to a conviction of illegal motorized users. This reward program also applies to illegal e-bike use, illegal dumping, and illegal trail construction. Details can be found at https://www.backcountryhunters.org/bha_s_ohv_reward_fund.”
“BHA has worked with public agencies to install signs at critical points or problem areas identified by the agency and/or local BHA members. These signs serve to educate the public on legal use, dissuade illegal use, and provide incentive for all forest users to report illegal use … BHA … would like to propose a partnership … to implement this program in the ARNF. BHA can offer leadership, volunteers, materials (signs/sign posts), liability insurance, and a passion to preserve our public lands for all users … our Boulder Region chapter is ready to lead efforts in partnership with the USFS Boulder Ranger District to install signage in the summer of 2022.”
Kris also suggested expanding the BHA OHV Reward program to include illegal trail building. “For all who love the outdoors and wildlife of Colorado you can help preserve it and earn some cash at the same time,” Kris said. “The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) is offering a $500 reward for reports or information leading to a conviction of those responsible for illegal trail construction on public lands. Illegal trails destroy wildlife habitat by creating higher density recreation traffic and ultimately displace wildlife or alter natural patterns of the ecosystem.” See links to related posts/information below:
- Kris Hess, Boulder County Assistant Regional Director. “Colorado outdoors: Help preserve it.” Daily Camera: 4/3/22 (scroll down).
- “Report rogue trails.” Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post-Independent: 2/14/22 (scroll down)
- “Reward offered for info on illegal trail construction.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 2/6/22 (scroll down).
- “Reward For Illegal Trail Construction Offered By Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/31/22.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Kris Hess Boulder County Assistant Regional Director.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 12/7/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Kris Hess Habitat Watch Volunteer.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 11/15/21.
Hunting Ban (SB22-031)
A bill to ban bobcat, lynx, and lion hunting was introduced in the state senate. The Board/ELT quickly voted to engage in opposition to this bill. In less than a day our action alert drove over 12,000 messages to legislators. We also published a blog post and launched a paid digital ad campaign that linked to our action alert and generated over 20,000 emails. Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) Liaison Ryan McSparran testified at the state capitol on BHA’s behalf. This bill was defeated in committee.
As a story in the Feb. 9 Sopris Sun noted: “Ryan McSparran, CPW liaison for Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, told the committee that S.B. 31 would ‘unravel’ the NAMWC. ‘It is imperative that Colorado Parks and Wildlife retain its authority over wildlife management in making science-based decisions.’ In other words, wildlife management in the state belongs in the hands of CPW and not through legislation.” See links to related posts/information below:
- Brien Webster. “The Colorado Bill To Ban Lion, Lynx, And Bobcat Hunting.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/14/22.
- Jason Blevins. “An attempt to ban mountain lion hunting in Colorado thrills animal activists, troubles hunters.” The Colorado Sun: 1/21/22.
- Tim Brass. “Defending The Public Trust.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/10/22.
Colorado Wildlife Conservation Project (CWCP)
The Colorado Wildlife Conservation Project (CWCP) is a coalition of hunter and angler groups coordinating on issues that impact us all. To that end, we signed onto a CWCP letter opposing SB22-031. Additionally, Gaspar Perricone, a principal organizer of this project, organized a press conference announcing the formation of this group at the state capitol on February 3. A crowd of sportsmen and women were present for the announcement. It’s important to note that our participation in this group/project is voluntary and our continued participation will depend on how this group/project evolves and prioritizes issues. See links to related posts/information below:
- “Brand new coalition notches first win for science-based wildlife management: Colorado Wildlife Conservation Project.” The Fence Post: 2/3/22.
- “Hunters & Anglers United To Stop Proposed Hunting Bans.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/25/22.
Chapter Co-Chair Don Holmstrom has long been engaged on stream access issues and is tracking an important court case here in Colorado Hill v. Warsewa that could set positive precedent for stream access through the navigability for title doctrine. Colorado has some of the worst stream access laws on the books. The Colorado Court of Appeals has held that Mr. Hill has standing to claim that the Arkansas River is navigable for title and subject to a trust on behalf of the public. This opinion doesn’t resolve the issue, but it’s a very important step forward. See links to related posts/information below:
- Mark Squillance. “Stand Up For Access.” Writers On The Range: 2/28/22.
- “But Roger Hill’s fight is not just about his right to fish. It is about pushing back against the creeping tide of wealth-driven privatization that seeks to deny public access to our waterways and other public resources.” -Mark Squillance
- BHA Podcast & last, Ep. 125: Mark Squillace, Attorney, Legal Scholar, Public Access Expert.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/15/22.
- “Stream Access Case In Colorado Will Move Forward.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/28/22.
Safe Crossings for Colorado Wildlife and Motorists Bill (SB22-151)
If passed, this bill would create a $25 million fund for wildlife crossing projects that will reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and strengthen landscape connectivity necessary to sustain healthy wildlife populations. Moreover, this bill would provide the state with matching funds needed to leverage $350 million in available federal grants for migratory corridors recently established under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Finally, this bill would assist private land conservation efforts to ensure landscapes adjacent to wildlife crossing projects remain intact and functional as wildlife habitat and corridors. See links to related posts/information below:
- Brett Jones, Colorado BHA Mesa County/Grand Valley group leader. “Pass legislation that will protect drivers and wildlife.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 3/24/22 (scroll down).
- “Colorado Legislature Considers Crossings Bill.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/8/22.
Roaring Fork Valley Group
Colorado BHA’s newest regional Group leaders (Assistant Regional Directors Brittany Parker, Andrew Coe and Genevieve Villamizar) are continuing to take the initiative. Brittany wrote an excellent report on the impacts of trails on wildlife and submitted comments on the Uinta Basin Railway Project (links below). Geneviève wrote a story (link below) in the Sopris Sun about BHA’s day-long “Introduction to Bow Hunting” workshop at Roaring Fork High School. The workshop was geared toward people who had never hunted with a bow to help them decide, “Is bowhunting something for me?”
- “Introduction to Bowhunting.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (on Saturday, Mar. 26, in Carbondale, Colorado)
- Geneviève Villamizar. “Bow hunting taught locally.” Sopris Sun: 3/23/22.
- Brittany Parker. “CO BHA Comments On Uinta Basin Railway Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/14/22.
- Brittany Parker. “Trails Based Recreation And Its Impacts On Wildlife.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/31/22.
- Danielle Davis. “From roadside to table: Colorado Parks & Wildlife permit turns roadkill into meals.” The Sopris Sun: 1/19/22 (includes input from CO BHA Roaring Fork Valley ARD Geneviève Villamizar).
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Roaring Fork Valley Group Assistant Regional Directors.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 12/14/21.
Trails vs. Elk
During January 2022 Colorado BHA submitted comments (link below) to the USFS on three proposed bike trails in the Vail Valley. At a Feb. 23 Eagle County Roundtable meeting, District Ranger Leanne Veldhuis confirmed that, in light of comments received (by BHA and many others), the USFS would conduct further review of two of the three trails.
As detailed in a 2018 Colorado BHA report (“Impacts of Off-Road Recreation on Public Lands Habitat”), “Wildlife habitat in Colorado is being significantly impacted by the proliferation of mechanized (i.e., mountain bike) and motorized (ATV/OHV) trails on public lands. Sportsmen and wildlife managers are finding that elk hunting opportunities, in particular, are being compromised by trail development in many parts of the state.”
Jon Holst, a former CPW employee, is currently Colorado Field Representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “According to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, there are nearly 40,000 miles of mapped motorized and non-motorized trails in Colorado,” he explained. “Some estimates suggest there exists an additional 25 to 30 percent of unmapped, user-created trails near popular mountain biking communities.”
Routt County has seen the resident elk herd of GMU-14 decline approximately 30% over the past 15 years. More worrying, the number of elk calves per cow is dropping the same amount, bringing into question whether the herd can remain viable at all. The Roaring Fork and Eagle valleys elk herds have experienced a 50% reduction in their population since around the year 2000, much of it credited to increased human recreation. “It’s not like these elk walked up and over another hill to another unit,” says former CPW biologist Bill Andree. “They just don’t exist anymore. They’re dead.”
With so much of Colorado’s public lands base crisscrossed with trails and roads, “access” has become “excess” and the end result for hunters, big game and other wildlife is decidedly negative, with elk feeling the heat first and foremost. It’s a slippery slope from more mechanized and motorized trails to fewer elk and hunting opportunities, but here in Colorado we’re already getting a disturbing preview of how it ends. For additional information see the sources/links below.
- “CO BHA Comments On Vail Trail Proposals.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/31/22.
- “Trails vs. Elk: ‘They’re Just Dying Off.’” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 12/3/21.
- “More trails a slippery slope to less hunting.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 12/9/21.
- Jon Holst, Colorado Field Representative for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Proposed management plan prioritizes wildlife.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 11/7/21.
- “Colorado BHA Report: Impacts of Off-Road Recreation on Public Lands Habitat.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/21/18.
- Sylvia Kantor. “Seeking Ground Less Traveled: Elk Responses to Recreation.” Science Findings #219 (U.S. Department of Agriculture-Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station): September 2019. https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/sciencef/scifi219.pdf
- The importance of roadless areas to Colorado’s fish, wildlife, hunting and angling is detailed in this Trout Unlimited report (authored by David Petersen and Keith Curley): “Where The Wild Lands Are: Colorado.”
- Larry Desgardin is president of Keep Routt Wild and a resident of Steamboat Springs. “Keeping Routt Wild: when is enough enough?” Steamboat Pilot: 4/5/22.
- Suzie Romig. “Study highlights recreational trail impacts to wildlife habitat.” Steamboat Pilot: 2/24/22.
- Keep Routt Wild (2/25/22). “This disturbance ‘heat map’ shows the impact of human recreational disturbance on elk habitat in Routt National Forest.”
- Keep Routt Wild (2/27/22). “This is why we shouldn’t build trails in elk calving areas. There is a 5% chance of mortality from every recreational disturbance.”
- A set of related studies compiled by Keep Routt Wild.
Women in the Woods (WitW)
Colorado BHA Board/ELT member Kassi Smith aims to use the Women in the Woods (WitW) program to teach ethics, safety and conservation when people take to the outdoors. In the Winter 2022 Backcountry Journal Kassi said (in part):
“Using the network of people I’ve met through my time volunteering for BHA, I started pitching ideas for themed camps. We’re still in the early days if what I hope is a long and fruitful endeavor, but so far with an elk camp, fly fishing camp and waterfowl camp in the books in Colorado, I am excited to see what comes next both here and across our many other chapters.”
“Recreating in the outdoors is not gendered, and conservation reaches far beyond our imposed societal norms and expectations. Women in the Woods is just one part of a much larger push towards introducing people to the importance of protecting lands, waters and all that inhabit them.”
“I want Women in the Woods to extend our reach. I want it to be the extra push to get people from curious to committed. By building confidence, dedication and engagement, we can expand the community of conservationists on the ground fighting for our public lands and all that inhabit them. Women in the Woods is our opportunity to strengthen our community around the public lands, waters and wildlife that have shaped our values and identities.”
“The efficacy of R3 [recruitment, retention and reactivation] programming shouldn’t necessarily be measured by brand-new hunters but rather measured by the people who have a better understanding of how and why hunting plays an important role in wildlife conservation and habitat management and where it plays a role in society moving forward,” added Trey Curtiss, BHA’s R3 coordinator. For additional information see the BHA post below:
- Kassi Smith. “Women In The Woods.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 4/5/22.
- “Member of the Month: Kassi Smith, Colorado Board Member.” Backcountry Beat: October 2021.
Bighorn Sheep Monitoring
In 2017, as Colorado BHA Southwest Regional Director (currently a Board/ELT member), Dan Parkinson spearheaded a citizen-science effort to help state and federal agencies gather verifiable observations of the presence of bighorn sheep in and near active domestic sheep grazing allotments in the Weminuche Wilderness.
In 2018 BHA joined forces with Great Old Broads for Wilderness, Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, and Mountain Studies Institute to form the Colorado Bighorn Monitoring Program which is now active throughout all the San Juan Mountains in SW CO. http://www.mountainstudies.org/bighorn.
Dan also participated in the Southwest CO Sheep Solutions Working Group organized by CPW in 2017. Excerpts (below) from a recent Durango Herald story (“Citizen scientists play key role in tracking bighorn sheep,” 3/31/22) provide an update on how the monitoring program is progressing.
- “In Southwest Colorado, a growing army of everyday scientists scours the mountains for Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep every year. Mountain Studies Institute started its Colorado bighorn sheep monitoring project in 2018 …”
- "Citizen scientists are increasingly out on the landscape … we may be able to help the agencies respond in a timely manner to help possibly prevent a disease transmission from occurring or from spreading to bighorns,’ said Dan Parkinson, a field representative for the conservation group Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and one of the citizen scientists with the project.”
- “Parkinson gave the example of a domestic sheep that strayed into bighorn sheep habitat on North Twilight Peak near Purgatory Resort. A hunter took a picture of the sheep that popped up on the monitoring project’s database and Terry Meyers, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Society, was able to contact CPW and the Forest Service to initiate a plan to remove the sheep and prevent possible contact. ‘Agencies know that the threat is very real,’ Parkinson said.”
- “The allure of bighorn sheep and the difference people can make are two reasons why many people have been joining the project in the last few years, Parkinson said. ‘Once people get the bighorn bug, it kind of grabs you,’ he said. ‘Bighorns are the wildest of the wild. They’re this highly rugged, highly evolved species that is very iconic, yet they’re so, so at risk.’” For additional information see the sources/links below.
- Mountain Studies Institute (MSI). “San Juan Mountains Colorado Bighorn Sheep Monitoring.” MSI: http://www.mountainstudies.org/bighorn/
- Aedan Hannon. “Citizen scientists play key role in tracking bighorn sheep.” The Durango Herald: 3/31/22.]
- Jonathan Romeo. “Land of too many uses?: Forest Service grapples with grazing, wildlife issues.” The Durango Telegraph: 11/18/21
- Paige Blankenbuehler. “‘A ticking time bomb for a mass die-off’: Recent grazing decisions continue to risk Southwest Colorado’s bighorns.” High Country News: 11/4/21.
Zephyr Gold Mine
Zephyr Minerals Ltd., the company seeking a permit to mine for gold near Canon City and the Grape Creek Wilderness Study Area, announced that it intends to withdraw its permit application. The Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety recently notified Zephyr that its application still included some 35 items that required additional information and clarification, including groundwater monitoring data, which Zephyr would not be able to collect and submit within the period required for approval of the application.
Zephyr said that it intends to withdraw the application to provide additional time for data collection. It intends to submit an updated application for a mining permit late in 2023. The threat to Grape Creek and the wild areas surrounding it is therefore not ended. In order to permanently protect Grape Creek from activities such as these, it is vital that Congress pass the Colorado Wilderness Act, which would give wilderness designation to Grape Creek and many other wild areas in Colorado. See the links below for additional information.
- “Colorado BHA: Zephyr Mining Permit Application Should Be Denied.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/13/21.
- Help protect the water supply for Canon City (i.e., Grape Creek and the Arkansas River) from a proposed hard rock mine. Another example of the wrong mine in the wrong place!
Wilderness designation—the gold standard for wildlife habitat and backcountry hunting grounds—protects mostly high-elevation mountaintops in Colorado. A mere 3 percent of the lower 48 is protected as wilderness. Which is why Colorado BHA supports bills like HR 803 (Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act). The legislation is a collection of nine separate public lands bills the House approved last year–including Rep Diana DeGette’s Colorado Wilderness Act and Rep. Joe Neguse’s Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy (CORE) Act. See the links below for additional information.
- “The 10th Mountain Division & HR 803 (Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/27/21.
- “Preserve Camp Hale and other public lands for future generations: Wilderness bill will protect Colorado’s robust outdoor recreation economy.” Colorado Newsline: 9/24/21.
- “Colorado BHA Supports HR 803 (Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/18/21.
- “Protecting America’s Wilderness.” Aspen Daily News: 3/6/21.
- “Hunters and anglers support the CORE Act.” Daily Camera: 2/9/21 (scroll down).
- “Hunters, anglers support the CORE Act.” The Durango Herald: 2/5/21.
By now you’ve likely heard about President Joe Biden’s “30x30” initiative. Also known as “America the Beautiful,” the program aims to conserve 30% of America’s lands and waters by the year 2030. The hunting and fishing community has largely coalesced behind the principles outlined in the HuntFish30x30 statement.
This statement was signed by a wide variety of outdoor-related organizations ranging from the National Rifle Association to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers to the TRCP. “The undersigned members of the hunting and fishing community support in principle the 30 by 30 initiative’s stated goal of protecting and enhancing biodiversity in terrestrial, wetland, aquatic, and marine habitats by the year 2030,” the groups wrote.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney praised efforts to conserve a minimum of 30 percent of U.S. lands and waters by 2030. “…we commend the Biden administration for taking a bold step forward toward their long-term conservation,” Tawney said. “We share a commitment to securing important landscapes, maintaining biodiversity and advancing durable policy solutions to mitigate the impacts of climate change.”
Conservation Colorado’s 2021 Conservation in the West survey found that 81 percent of Coloradans support a national goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and oceans by 2030. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, about 12% of the United States’ landmass and 23% of its sovereign waters are currently protected. The initiative will be “locally-led and voluntary” and will seek to, among other things, “honor private property rights and support the voluntary stewardship efforts of private landowners.” See the following links/sources for additional information.
- Hunting and Fishing Community Statement on the “30 by 30” Initiative.
- Jordan Sillars. “What President Biden’s ‘30X30’ Plan Means For Hunters And Anglers.” The MeatEater: 4/1/22.
- Katie McKalip. “Administration’s ‘America The Beautiful’ Plan Focuses On Collaboration, Transparency, Backcountry.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/6/21.
- “Biden conservation plan good for hunters, anglers.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 1/19/21.
BHA & MeatEater
The first Backcountry Hunters & Anglers North American Rendezvous was held at Fort Missoula, Montana, during March 2-4, 2012. Seminars, activities and events on the schedule included (in part): llama packing, casting accuracy, archery range access, DIY outfitting for wilderness fishing and hunting float trips, backcountry success story: Oregon’s Copper Salmon country, etc. Our Saturday evening keynote speaker was author, television personality and hunter-angler-conservationist Steven Rinella.
After stops in Boise (2013), Denver (2014) and Spokane (2015), the BHA North American Rendezvous returned to Missoula in 2016, and Steven Rinella was there. “It’s inspiring to spend time around hunters and anglers who are willing to fight on behalf of our public lands and outdoor heritage,” he said. “That’s why I continue to support Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Their focus on public lands conservation is something that benefits all of today’s outdoorsmen, as well as future generations. I will continue to stand side by side with this group.”
At the 2019 Rendezvous (also in Boise), Rinella was awarded BHA’s Ted Trueblood Award. As detailed in the Summer 2019 Backcountry Journal: “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,” BHA President and CEO Land Tawney said. “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.”
“There are many ways to become an effective conservationist. A great way to start is to get involved with one or two conservation groups whose missions appeal to you,” Rinella explained in “Ask MeatEater.” “I sit on the board of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership … Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is another important player, and a few of the MeatEater crew sit on their board. By mixing it up with these organizations, you’ll keep abreast of the rapidly evolving conservation landscape. That’s an education worth having.” See the links/sources below for additional information.
- “It’s All About The Meat.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/17/22.
- First (2012) BHA North American Rendezvous photos, at Fort Missoula in Montana: Day 1 (3/3/12): https://photos.app.goo.gl/wapw6eKkGNvejXiV7
- First (2012) BHA North American Rendezvous photos, at Fort Missoula in Montana: Day 2 (3/4/12): https://photos.app.goo.gl/yv5b2NVxHSbUAi4f9
- “Colorado BHA Hosts Steven Rinella” at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Thornton, Colorado, photos (9/13/12): https://photos.app.goo.gl/jaD4vmMcWZaCNTQ79
- Malia Willan. “‘An Environmentalist With a Gun’: Inside Steven Rinella’s Hunting Empire.” The New York Times: 2/2/22.
Colorado BHA Rendezvous & BHA North American Rendezvous
The Colorado BHA 2022 Rendezvous will be held in the San Isabel National Forest west of Salida (in the same place as the 2016 Rendezvous, at the “goat wadi” site) June 10-12. For additional information on the 2022 and 2021 Colorado BHA Rendezvous see the links below.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 13th Annual Rendezvous.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/7/22.
- “Colorado BHA (2021) Annual Rendezvous Highlights.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/2/21.
The BHA 2022 North America Rendezvous (May 12-14) will be held in Missoula (again) at Fort Missoula. For additional information about the 2021 (Fort Missoula) Rendezvous see the links below.
- “2021 Rendezvous Recap-Campfire Stories: Hal Herring.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/1/21.
- “Hunting For Experience: At BHA’s North American Rendezvous.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/9/21.
- “Colorado BHA Chapter Leader Recognized At Rendezvous.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/24/21.
- “We are the carriers of the fire. We are the repository of 30,000-40,000 years of human passion and drive to hunt. We totally evolved to live this way … We need to be sure this elemental fire doesn’t go out.” –Hal Herring, Backcountry Journal: Winter 2014
2022 Events (Completed)
- Join us on Thursday, Jan. 27, at Gemini Beer Company in Grand Junction, CO for a wild game potluck. Help us celebrate our hunting and fishing heritage by sharing your harvest, favorite recipes, and experiences!
- Ann Wright. “Well plated: Warm yourself with local, gourmet food.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 1/7/22 (scroll down).
- Brien Webster. “McInnis NCA Fence Removal (Feb. 26) Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/25/22.
- Backcountry on Ice: Ice Fishing. Join fellow BHA Front Range members for a hike to ice fish in our public lands for brook, rainbow and cutthroat trout (on Saturday, Mar. 5).
- "Backcountry On Ice’ Fishing Event A Big Hit.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/7/22.
- Join Denver area BHAers for our first Pint Night of 2022 (on Mar. 10). We will be getting together at Locavore Beer Works in Littleton.
- Denver International Sportsmen’s Expo (March 23-27) Volunteer Signup.
- “Introduction to Bowhunting.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (on Saturday, Mar. 26, in Carbondale, Colorado).
- Join the Colorado Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers on Thursday, April 7, at Maxline Brewing in Fort Collins, CO (5:00 – 8:00 PM).
- Colorado Fly Girls: Women in the Woods event (April 9) by Amber Leach and Chyanne Davis. Join BHA in conjunction with Tumbling Trout Fly Shop and the Pike’s Peak Chapter of Trout Unlimited for an entire day dedicated to trout, Colorado’s fisheries, the sport of fly fishing, and strengthening our community of sportswomen.
2022 Events (Upcoming)
- See the Chapter Events page for complete list.
- Sportsmen’s Day at the State Capitol (April 21).
- Join the Southeast Colorado Group for a pint night in Colorado Springs at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company (April 27 @ 6:30 pm).
- Join us for an evening of fly tying at Upslope Brewery in Boulder (flatiron location) on May 10 at 6:00 pm.
- BHA Bows & Brews. Join BHA’s Central Rockies Chapter and C&K Archery in Frisco, CO (May 12 @ 5 pm) for an evening to discuss BHA and all-things archery.
- McInnis National Conservation Area fence removal (May 26).
- Denver Pint Night (on May 26 @ 7 pm) at Diebolt Brewing Company.
- Women in the Wood Shotgun Skills Clinic (July 16).
- This story includes input from Colorado BHA Southwest Regional Director, Luke Kline: Aedan Hannon. “Hunting faces numerous challenges as Southwest Colorado grows.” Durango Herald: 3/3/22.
- “Hunting Backcountry Mountain Merriam’s (The Bare Essentials).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/18/22.
- “Whitetails, Wolves, Moose & Grizz.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/14/22.
What Has BHA/CO BHA Done For Me?
- “Colorado BHA Q1 2022 Update.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/14/22.
- “Colorado BHA Q4 2021 Update.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/4/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 2021 Mid-Year (January-June) Report.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/4/21.
- “Colorado BHA Q3 2021 Update.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/2/21.
- “Colorado BHA Q2 2021 Update.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 4/19/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers End of Year Report: June-December 2020.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/8/21.
- “Winter 2021 [Q1] Colorado Chapter News.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/28/21.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Mid-Year Report/Update: June 2020.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/20/20.
- “Spring 2020 Colorado Chapter News.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/1/20.
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers End of Year Report.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/15/20.
- John Gale, BHA Conservation Director. “2022 U.S. Policy Priorities: Priority Landscapes-Colorado-Continental Divide, San Jaun Mountains, Thompson Divide and Curecanti Designations.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/6/22.
- Thomas Plank. “2021 Policy Roundup.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 12/15/21.
- Check out BHA’s North American Action Map, tracking/highlighting examples of our accomplishments as an organization across the continent.
- See our Take Action Center to stay engaged on legislation in your area.
- Gift a BHA membership
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 over 40,000 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. Since the Colorado BHA chapter was founded by David Petersen (a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) in 2005 (the first official BHA chapter), they’ve grown their boots-on-the-ground presence to some 2,000 dedicated hunters and anglers.
 Kassi Smith. “Women In The Woods.” Backcountry Journal: Winter 2022, p. 31.
 Trey Curtiss is BHA’s R3 coordinator. “R3: The Why.” Backcountry Journal: Fall 2021, p. 37.
 “The 10th Mountain Division & HR 803 (Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/27/21; “Preserve Camp Hale and other public lands for future generations: Wilderness bill will protect Colorado’s robust outdoor recreation economy.” Colorado Newsline: 9/24/21.
 Katie McKalip. “BHA Rendezvous Smashes Attendance Numbers, Breaks Fundraising Records.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 4/7/16.
 Editor. “BHA Bestows Top Honors At Rendezvous.” Backcountry Journal: Summer 2019, p. 11.
 Holly Endersby. “Hal Herring: Fighting Indifference Word by Word.” Backcountry Journal: Winter 2014, p. 9.