Colorado BHA Q4 2022 Update

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) was born around a campfire in March 2004, thanks to seven hunters and anglers, men and women, taking the initiative.[1] That’s how all battles are begun and won! In fact, BHA was founded by former U.S. Army officer, Mike Beagle. The “Gang of Seven” that gathered around our founding campfire also included a U.S. Navy veteran, Tony Heckard.[2]

The first state chapter, here in Colorado, was founded (in 2005) by a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot, David “Elkheart” Petersen, who was also the recipient of BHA’s 2013 Mike Beagle Chairman’s Award. And the first BHA North American Rendezvous (in 2012) was held at Fort Missoula (established by the U.S. Army in 1877) in Montana. Today some 20% of BHA members are Active Duty Military or Veterans. More than twice the U.S. average.”[3]

We encourage all chapter leaders and members to take the initiative 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 (or contact us at [email protected]) and see some examples of what we’ve been doing/working on below. 


Top Chapter Highlights (Q4)

  • We posted/published “Tag Allocation Observations” and a “Memo on Illegal Trails.”
  • We submitted comments for the BLM’s Colorado Big Game Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA).
  • See Seek Outside Podcasts with co-chair Don Holmstrom (Ep. 99) and chapter coordinator Brien Webster (Ep. 104).
  • New chapter leaders include: Nicholas Alfieri and David Brown (Central Mountains Group ARDs).
  • Our 14th Annual Rendezvous will be held June 9-11, 2023, at the Soap Creek Corral/Coal Mesa Horse Camp west of Gunnison.

“Our most important asset is our volunteers.”


Chapter News

Chapter Leadership Team Updates

(48 Chapter Leadership Team Members/46 Habitat Watch Volunteers)

As detailed in the Chapter Highlights above, we’ve added two new Chapter Leadership Team (CLT) members: Nicholas Alfieri and David Brown joined our Central Mountains Group as Assistant Regional Directors (ARDs). See link below for additional information.

We also have Habitat Watch Volunteers (HWVs) who serve as our “eyes and ears” in all eleven Colorado national forests. Contact HWV Program Coordinator/Co-Chair Don Holmstrom ([email protected]) for additional information. See the links/information below for more information about our CLTs/HWVs and other members.

In addition, BHA staffers based in Colorado include: Brien (“Army of One”) Webster (Program Manager and Colorado and Wyoming Chapter Coordinator); Tim Brass (State Policy and Field Operations Director); John Gale (Conservation Director); and Brittany Parker (Habitat Stewardship Coordinator).

Brittany is the most recent addition and wasted no time after joining BHA’s North American staff/team. In short order she had multiple boots on the ground fence pulling projects planned/completed, including (in part):

  • “Dome Rock SWA Aspen Regeneration Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/12/22.
  • “Public Lands Day Stewardship Recap in Colorado.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/29/22.
  • “CO BHA Oak Ridge SWA Fence Removal Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/8/22.
  • Seek Outside Podcast: Ep. 104 Public Land Wins and Celebrating Public Lands Month with BHA’s Brien Webster.
  • “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Appoint Nicholas Alfieri And David Brown Central Mountains Group Assistant Regional Directors.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/23/22.
  • 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.

David “Elkheart” Petersen (a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) started (as explained above) the first BHA state chapter in Colorado. David is also one of North America’s most renowned hunting ethicists and trad bow elk hunters and his writings (in part) inspired Mike Beagle to start BHA. A documentary film, “On the Wild Edge: Hunting for A Natural Life,” about his life and love of hunting and all things wild is now available on YouTube: Also see:

Armed Forces Initiative-Colorado

We are excited that BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative (AFI) is prioritizing Fort Carson in Colorado Springs for one of the programs newest installations/clubs. During the second half of 2022 two AFI hunts were organized/held in Colorado: a black bear hunt (Sept. 2-7) and elk hunt (Nov. 11-18). In addition, AFI Communications Director Justin Townsend is an active duty Coast Guard officer (he’s also Editor-in-Chief of Harvesting Nature: and is stationed in Colorado Springs. Justin can be contacted at: [email protected].

“AFI resonates with the veteran and military community because it provides a sense of purpose. In creating the program, we were very conscious that we didn’t want just a hunting/fishing club, and we didn’t want to provide a one-time semi-guided experience; we wanted to provide the knowledge, skills and opportunities to create conservation leaders. From the start, our mantra was: ‘Our goal is to give veterans and service members a new mission, and that mission is conservation.’” -Ryan Burkert, AFI Veteran Programs Lead[4]

Hunting, fishing and the outdoors in general can also serve to help restore the soul and psyche of those who have been battered by the horrors of war. As explained by Daniel Howe (in National Parks: Spring 2020), “Earl Shaffer, the first person to complete a documented end-to-end hike of the Appalachian Trail, was trying to walk off World War II when he began that first trek in 1948. A sizable contingent of veterans do the same today, hoping to exorcise some of the demons they met in wartime.”[5]

  • “BHA Members Serve Their Country: 20% of BHA Members Are Active Duty Military or Veterans. More Than Twice The U.S. Average.”[6]
  • Thomas Plank. “BHA's Member Survey: 2022 Results.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/22/22.
  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (9/26/22). “Why BHA? [Colonel] Mike Abell.”
  • “Armed Forces Initiative Helps Veterans Hunt … And More.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/17/22.
  • “Armed Forces Initiative: Where We Were, Where We're Going.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: August 2022.
  • Trevor Hubbs. “2022 AFI Quarter 2 In Review.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/21/22.
  • Trevor Hubbs. “AFI Colorado Bear.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/7/22.
  • Trevor Hubbs. “BHA Armed Forces Camp Colorado 3rd Rifle-Veterans Day Elk Camp.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/7/22.
  • Trevor Hubbs. “You Can’t Cheat The Mountain.” Bugle: May/June 2022.
  • BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative. “Armed Forces Initiative-Get Involved.”
  • Become An AFI Volunteer; Armed Forces Initiative Leadership.
  • Contact Trevor Hubbs at: [email protected].

Chapter Communications Update-Derek Pankratz & Scott Heatwole

Communications Co-Chair Derek Pankratz spearheaded our first (Summer 2022 & Fall 2022) Colorado BHA Newsletters. If you have an event you’d like to promote on social media, reach out to Communications Co-Chair Scott Heatwole and include a caption and image so he can post on Instagram. As you’ve likely surmised, Scott is handling social media and Derek will be generating the chapter newsletter and assisting with other long-form content. Let them know (contact info. below) if you are interested in assisting/contributing in any way.

  • “CO BHA Summer Newsletter.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/13/22.
  • CO BHA Communications Co-Chair (Scott Heatwole, Castle Rock): [email protected]
  • CO BHA Communications Co-Chair (Derek Pankratz, Gunnison): [email protected]

Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument/CORE Act

President Biden visited Colorado on Wednesday, Oct. 12, to designate Camp Hale as a National Monument, providing long overdue recognition to the World War II veterans who trained there in preparation for joining the war in Europe to defeat Hitler’s Nazi regime. Tucked in a high mountain valley 17 miles north of Leadville, Camp Hale was home base for the renowned 10th Mountain Division.[7]

“Valuable wildlife habitat in central Colorado will be permanently conserved following today’s designation of Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument by President Joe Biden,” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) stated in a press release. “Encompassing more than 10,000 acres of critical winter range for elk as well as mule deer habitat, migration corridors and headwaters fisheries, the area also is home to a historic military site, Camp Hale …”[8]

Pro-hunting and fishing conservation groups had pushed for the monument designation, which was previously included in a conservation bill known as Colorado Outdoor Recreation and Economy Act, or CORE Act. The House of Representatives has passed the bill five times, but it has so far been stymied by the Senate. Creating official protections for Camp Hale was just one part of the bill, which will protect more than 400,000 acres of public lands in Colorado.[9]

  • Camp Hale becoming a national monument is an overdue recognition.” Summit Daily: 10/25/22.
  • Dennis Webb. “'These guys were true heroes': Descendants of Camp Hale trainees welcome recognition of dads' service in World War II.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 10/22/22.
  • “How Camp Hale National Monument will protect elk.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 10/16/22 (scroll down).
  • “Designation long overdue.” Aspen Daily News: 10/14/22.
  • “The CORE Act & Camp Hale.” Backcountry Journal: Fall 2022, p. 39. Also see: Zack Williams. “Fall 2022 issue of Backcountry Journal.” Backcountry Journal: 10/10/22.
  • Nick Gann. “Military, mountains, and a new monument.” Trout Unlimited: 10/13/22.
  • The White House. “A Proclamation on Establishment of the Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument.” Briefing Room-Presidential Actions: 10/12/22.
  • Katie McKalip. “BHA Commends Administration Designation of National Monument in Colorado.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/12/22.
  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) Report. “Hunter & Angler Tenets for New Monuments.” BHA: 10/12/22.
  • Thomas Novelly. “Army’s Historic WWII Training Grounds Named America’s Newest National Monument.” 10/12/22.
  • Tennessee Pass 10th Mountain Division Memorial photos (8/19/22).
  • Colorado Snowsports Museum & Hall of Fame (photos, includes 10th Mt. Div.) in Vail (8/20/22).
  • “The CORE Act & Camp Hale.” Backcountry Journal: Fall 2022, p. 39.
  • “CORE Act Will Honor Camp Hale, Provide Habitat Protections for Wildlife.” Pagosa Daily Post: 7/29/22.
  • “The CORE Act (& Camp Hale).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/29/22.
  • “Final steps for crucial preservation of over 400,000 acres in Colorado: The CORE Act would honor Cape Hale legacy and provide important habitat protections for wildlife.” Colorado Newsline: 7/27/22.
  • “Antiquities Act protects hunting and angling on public lands.” Greeley Tribune: 4/26/17.
  • “National Monuments Report.” Backcountry Hunters & Angers: 2/19/16.

Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA)

As many of you know, the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) will annually invest $1.4 billion in state/tribal management agencies. This bill has passed out of the House of Representatives and is headed to the Senate. If passed, it will likely be the landmark conservation achievement during our lifetimes. On June 14, 2022, the House of Representatives passed the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act with bipartisan support. See BHA’s press release here. And ask your senator today to support RAWA!

  • “Invest in the future of America’s great wildlife legacy | Opinion: Thirty-three percent of all U.S. species are at risk of becoming endangered.” Capital-Star: 9/1/22.
  • “Bipartisan Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) will transform wildlife conservation.” Grand Rapids (Minn.) Herald-Review: 8/31/22.
  • “Bipartisan bill would invest in the future of America’s great wildlife legacy.” The Pulse: 8/31/22.
  • “Invest in the future of America’s great wildlife legacy: 33% of all U.S. species are at risk of becoming endangered.” Colorado Newsline: 8/30/22.
  • “Bipartisan wildlife bill will transform conservation.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 8/28/22.
  • “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.” Aspen Daily News: 8/28/22.

BLM Big Game Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA)

Some important land management/wildlife processes have been initiated by the BLM, including a Resource Management Plan Amendment (RMPA), which is happening in part to address deficiencies in recently completed RMPs in the state of Colorado and out of recognition that sensitive wildlife habitat is facing unprecedented and dynamic pressures that current RMPs are not suited to address. Liz Rose, a Colorado BHA chapter leader and TRCP’s Colorado Representative, is running point on this campaign, so we are in excellent hands.

  • “Big game rescue plan is good for Colorado.” Daily Camera: 8/10/22.
  • “Submit comments on the Colorado big game management plan.” Summit Daily: 7/31/22.
  • “Sustaining Colorado’s big game populations.” Vail Daily: 7/29/22.
  • “Sustaining big game populations.” Aspen Daily News: 7/28/22.
  • John Howard“Securing a brighter future for wildlife and communities.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 7/24/22.
  • Brien Webster. “BLM Kicks Off Important Big Game Amendment Process in Colorado.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/19/22.
  • Randall Williams. “Sportspersons Commend Colo. BLM for Prioritizing Big Game Seasonal Habitats.” Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership: 7/18/22.

OHV/Illegal Trails Reward Program/Initiative

Boulder County Assistant Regional Director (ARD) Kris Hess has been spearheading efforts to work with public lands (state and federal) agencies and other groups to address illegal trail building. BHA offers up to $500 in reward for reports or information leading to a conviction of illegal motorized/mechanized users. This reward program also applies to illegal e-bike use, illegal dumping, and illegal trail construction.

So why are illegal trails a problem now and why do they need more attention? The answer lies in the Colorado population of approximately 5.8 million (2021) which naturally creates a larger recreation user base. Today’s population is double the 2.9 million people in Colorado in 1980!  More people, more recreation, and increased access to electronic maps and information (e.g., Strava, All Trails, CalTopo) that help people find new trails.

Illegal trails are created by all user groups. However, in many areas mountain bike specific trail building dominates. Although the emphasis on the mountain biking community creates tension amongst user groups, BHA sees the involvement of the organized mountain bike community in addressing illegal trails as one of the most important steps forward. See the resources/links below for additional information.

  • Liz Rose. “40% of Most Important Colorado Elk Habitat Is Affected by Trail Use.” Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP): 9/27/22.
  • Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP). “Outdoor Recreation and Elk: A Colorado Case Study: Where do elk habitat and recreational trails overlap in Colorado, and why does it matter?” TRCP: 9/27/22.
  • Tracy Ross. “Why Did a Hunting Nonprofit Put a Bounty on Mountain Bikers? Mountain bikers and hunters are butting heads in Colorado over wildlife, access, and public lands.” Outside: 10/6/22.
  • Judith Kohler “Colorado’s world-class elk herd in bull’s-eye of outdoor recreation boom, report warns.” The Denver Post: 10/4/22.
  • Jonathan Romeo. “Slippery slope: A new proposed mountain bike park in Pagosa is ... complicated.” The Durango Telegraph: 9/29/22.
  • Brien Webster/Kriss Hess. “CO BHA Publishes Memo on Illegal Trails.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/24/22.
  • Spencer McKee. “City reports 60 miles of illegal trails in 1.25-square-mile park in Colorado.” OutThereColorado: 6/28/22.
  • Kris Hess, Boulder County Assistant Regional Director. “Colorado outdoors: Help preserve it.” Daily Camera: 4/3/22 (scroll down).
  • “CO BHA Comments On Vail Trail Proposals.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/31/22.
  • “Reward For Illegal Trail Construction Offered By Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/31/22.
  • Brittany Parker. “Trails Based Recreation And Its Impacts On Wildlife.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/31/22.
  • “More trails a slippery slope to less hunting.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 12/9/21.
  • “Trails vs. Elk: ‘They’re Just Dying Off.’” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 12/3/21.
  • 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.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW). “Emblems of the West: Colorado Parks and Wildlife researchers have set out to evaluate how human recreation may be influencing Colorado’s elk populations.” Colorado Outdoors: 3/22/21.
  • 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.”

Dolores River Canyon National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act

Sen. Bennet and Sen. Hickenlooper introduced the bipartisan Dolores River Canyon National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act in the Senate and Rep. Boebert introduced a companion bill in the House.

“Living in Grand Junction I can tell you how much I value National Conservation Areas (NCAs),” said Brien (“Army of One”) Webster, BHA Program Manager and Colorado Chapter Coordinator. “This Dolores Landscape is incredible and I highly recommend you check it out. I will be working with the Chapter and our policy team in the weeks/months ahead on this bill.” 

  • Dennis Webb. “Boebert backs Delores River Canyon conservation bill.” Grand Junction (Colo.) Daily Sentinel: 8/4/22.
  • U.S. Senator Michael Bennet. “Dolores River Canyon National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act.” Newsletter: 2022.
  • U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert. “Congresswoman Lauren Boebert Introduces the House Companion to the Bipartisan Dolores River National Conservation Area and Special Management Area Act.” Press Release: 8/22/22.
  • Katharhynn Heidelberg “Bipartisan support for protecting Dolores River Canyon areas; proposed law does not affect Montrose County.” Montrose Press: 8/4/22.

Stream Access Initiative (SAI) & Fly Fishing

“… Colorado … Roger Hill is fighting in support of public access to his favorite fishing spot on the Arkansas River. Hill believes this stretch of water should be open to the public and legal to fish. However, a private landowner threatened Hill with trespassing for fishing here, which led to a case making its way through the Colorado court system. Colorado BHA, including longtime CO BHA members like Don Holmstrom, is working for better public waters access in the state and has provided support to Hill, contacted state decision makers and educated the BHA community. And our team was glad to speak up in support of public waters access in a recent feature in the New York Times.” -Land Tawney, BHA President and CEO[10]

Chapter Co-Chair Don Holmstrom has long been engaged on our stream access initiative (SAI) 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. Unfortunately, Colorado has some of the worst stream access laws in the nation on the books.

In addition, Don is working with Tim Brass and Brien Webster on developing a chapter stream access engagement plan. We are in the process of gathering intel on historic efforts, actors, and moments to inform our strategy. We’re also in the process of developing a memo that will outline strategic pathways based on potential outcomes of the Hill v. Warsewa case. Bryan Gwinn, one of our chapter’s policy leads, will be joining this effort and if others are interested in engaging, we would gladly welcome the help.

  • Seek Outside Podcast Ep. 99: Why Are Colorado’s Water Laws So Confusing with Don Holmstrom.
  • Bob Shettel. “Women in the Woods Fly Fishing Event Recap.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/30/22.
  • “Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Fly Fishing 101 (w/CPW Liaison Bob Shettel).” The Aspen Times: 8/27/22.
  • Travis Hall. “How One 80-Year Old Angler Might Change Colorado Stream Access Forever.” MeatEater: 3/29/22.
  • Mark Squillance. “Stand Up For Access.” Writers On The Range: 2/28/22.
  • BHA Podcast & Blast, 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.

Trails/State Grant Program

Colorado BHA Central West Slope Regional Director Craig Grother has been one of our chapter’s staunchest advocates for much needed reforms to the state’s Non-Motorized Recreational Trail Grant Application Process and for protecting wildlands and wildlife from the proliferation of motorized and mechanized trails.[11]

See the resources/links below for additional information. Also, please reach out to the Colorado Chapter at [email protected] if there are trails proposals in your area that may have negative wildlife impacts.

  • Craig Grother. “CO BHA Comments On State Trails Policy: Public Comment-State Trails Program Policy and Grants.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/1/22.
  • Craig Grother. “CO BHA Comments On Hidden Lakes Trail Proposal.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/27/22.
  • “Comments on CPW Non-Motorized Recreational Trail Grant Application Process.” Colorado BHA: 1/10/18.
  • Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Colorado’s 2021 Guide for Planning Trails with Wildlife in Mind.” Appendix A includes standard protocols for how and where the trails are developed (i.e., Avoid, Minimize, Mitigate). The Guide recommends limiting trail densities to less than 1 linear mile of trail per square mile in mapped bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer winter concentration areas and production areas. A 300-foot buffer for wetlands is widely accepted.

North American Grasslands Conservation Act

We are also engaging on the North American Grasslands Conservation Act (Senator Bennet co-sponsor). In partnership with a coalition of conservation organizations, BHA is working to advance a proposal in Congress to establish the North American Grasslands Conservation Act. 

Grasslands are one of America's most threatened landscapes, and they're vital to everything from deer and bison to grouse and quail. Sadly, we've lost 50 million acres of grasslands habitat in the last decade, and we've lost 40% of our grasslands bird population in the last 50 years. The #NAGCA would replicate the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, which has successfully protected 30 million acres of wetlands. This legislation would create a landowner-driven, voluntary, incentive-based program to conserve and restore threated grassland ecosystems across the continent. Encourage your congressional legislators to Support the North American Grasslands Conservation Act!

  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (10/14/22). “Wild game birds and wild songbirds are both important to the ecosystems hunters and anglers rely on. The recently released 2022 State of the Birds Report shows steep losses in virtually all habitats but provides an insight as to what policies can provide a solution …”
  • Ryan Callaghan. “Why Hunters Should Support The New Grasslands Bill.” MeatEater: 7/27/22.
  • Bethany Erb is the government affairs director for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. “The North American Grasslands Conservation Act.” Backcountry Journal: Fall 2021, p. 52.

Trails vs. Elk

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.”[12]

Routt County, for example, 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.”[13]

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.[14] Also see links below.

  • 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.

BHA CEO Land Tawney/Inflation Reduction Act/Misc.

  • Katie McKalip. “BHA CEO Appointed to Federal Committee to Advance Hunting, Conservation.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/23/22.
  • Public Affairs HQ. “Departments of the Interior and Agriculture Announce Members of Federal Council to Support Hunting, Conservation Efforts.” U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: 9/23/22.
  • The Chapter signed onto a comment letter submitted during the comment period for the DOI's Gunnison Sage Grouse Rangewide Draft. For additional information see the following link.
  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA). “National Policy Updates [Inflation Reduction Act; Bristol Bay; Boundary Waters; Invasive Mussels].” Backcountry Beat: August 2022.
  • Chapter Policy Updates.” Backcountry Beat: August 2022.
  • Kaden McArthur. “House Passes Inflation Reduction Act Following Senate.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/12/22.
  • Wade Thiel. “The Inflation Reduction Act Includes Billions of Dollars for Deer Habitat, Wildlife Refuges, and Coastal Projects.” Outdoor Life: 8/9/22.

Colorado BHA 2023 Rendezvous

Our 2023 (14th Annual) Colorado BHA Rendezvous will be June 9-11 @ Soap Creek Corral/Coal Mesa Horse Camp west of Gunnison. More information to follow (in 2023).

The 13th Annual (2022) Colorado BHA Rendezvous was held in the San Isabel National Forest west of Salida/Poncha Springs during June 10-22, 2022. A group of 20-to-30 hunters and anglers from around the state set up camp in a high-mountain meadow (known locally as the “goat wadi”) covering about six acres at 10,000 feet in the Sawatch Range.

This event has traditionally been an opportunity for chapter leaders and members (and others who may be interested in BHA) to get together in an informal setting where no one has to work. Our Rendezvous is not about raising money or even growing membership, it’s an opportunity to get together, put names to faces, build personal bonds and discuss chapter issues in an outdoors/public lands setting. It boils down to the three Gs (G3): good people, good food, and good times.

  • “Colorado BHA Rendezvous Report: San Isabel National Forest (June 10-12, 2022).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/17/22.
  • Colorado BHA 13th Annual Rendezvous photos (June 10-12, 2022).
  • “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 13th Annual Rendezvous.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 2/7/22.

BHA 2023 North American Rendezvous

  • March 15-18, 2023–BHA Rendezvous in Missoula (RSVP now and stay up to date on next year’s event!)
  • Thomas Plank. “Save The Date For Rendezvous 2023.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/16/22. Rendezvous 2023 - taking place in Missoula, Montana, March 15-18.
  • “Conservation is the most optimistic idea that America ever gave the rest of the world … Our work gives hope. Hope motivates action. And action changes the world.” -Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited President[15]
  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (5/27/22). “2022 Rendezvous Recap.”
  • BHA 2022 North American Rendezvous (Fort Missoula) photos: May 12-14.
  • “A long time ago, I figured something out: human beings who love the natural world and are willing to make a stand for what they believe in tend to be the very best people.” –Hal Herring, Field & Stream contributing editor, recipient of BHA’s 2016 Ted Trueblood Award and host of BHA’s Podcast & Blast[16]

CPW Commission Engagement

CPW Commission meetings/information:

Privatization of Wildlife/Tag Allocation

This issue of resident vs. nonresident (and landowner) elk (and other) tag allocations has been a controversial issue in multiple Western states over the years, including Colorado. As a result, during May 2022 the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) North American Board adopted a policy statement on hunting license allocation.

During 2017 the Colorado BHA Executive Leadership Team/Board adopted a position statement on Big Game License Resident/Non-Resident Allocations. Since then, there has been much additional discussion and information made available related to tag allocations. Some Colorado BHA members have requested that we consider the issues/concerns raised in the following post and possibly adopt a related/updated policy/position statement: “The Secret to the Elk and Deer Tags in Colorado.” Public Land Jurisdiction: 3/24/22.

This information is, in general, likely not new to most Colorado big game hunters, but some of the specifics/details may be (assuming the data is accurate, which we ask you to determine for yourself if you have questions/concerns). The post also notes/states (in part): “In March 2021, Colorado finally proposed a Senate Bill, SB 21-150 (Reserve Big Game Hunting Licenses for Residents), to ease resident hunter frustration as a result of a tag allocation bias inflicted on resident hunters for decades—when compared to other western states.”

This November 17th and 18th the CPW Commission will be meeting in Gateway. Among the many issues, they will be discussing is limiting license sales in GMU 521. Central West Slope Assistant Regional Director Adam Gall has been working on this issue for a long time and there are real concerns around the impact to wildlife resources in this unit and the diminishing hunt quality from the increasingly high pressure it is experiencing. Similar concerns have been expressed by hunters across the West Slope for multiple GMUs. See: “Colorado BHA Tag Allocation Observations & Information.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/20/22.

What Has BHA/CO BHA Done For Me?

  • “Colorado BHA Q3 2022 Update.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/25/22.
  • “CO BHA Summer Newsletter.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/13/22.
  • “CO BHA Q2 2022 Update.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 4/1/22.
  • “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.

2022 Events/Projects (Completed)

  • Wild game potluck. (on Jan. 27) at Gemini Beer Company in Grand Junction.
  • 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 (Saturday, Mar. 5).
  • “‘Backcountry On Ice’ Fishing Event A Big Hit.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/7/22.
  • Denver area BHAers Pint Night (on Mar. 10) 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).
  • Pint Night on April 7 at Maxline Brewing in Fort Collins.
  • Colorado Fly Girls: Women in the Woods event (April 9) by Amber Leach and Chyanne Davis.
  • Sportsmen’s Day at the State Capitol (April 21).
  • Southeast Colorado Group pint night in Colorado Springs at Phantom Canyon Brewing Company (April 27).
  • Fly tying at Upslope Brewery in Boulder (flatiron location) on May 10.
  • BHA Bows & Brews. Join BHA’s Central Rockies Chapter and C&K Archery in Frisco (May 12 for an evening to discuss BHA and all-things archery.
  • “Southwest Colorado BHA Planning Session (May 24, Durango).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/4/22.
  • McInnis National Conservation Area fence removal (May 26).
  • Denver Pint Night (on May 26) at Diebolt Brewing Company.
  • On June 1, 25 volunteers including local staff from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and members of BHA worked together to improve wildlife habitat on the Almont Triangle between Gunnison and Crested Butte.
  • John Chandler. “CO BHA chapter Leaders Spearhead Fence Removal Efforts in Gunnison.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/3/22.
  • Northern Colorado BHA Group trash cleanup day at Smith Lake and Wellington State Wildlife Areas (on June 4).
  • Platte River Cleanup w/Denver Parks and Recreation (June 5).
  • Colorado BHA 13th Annual Rendezvous: June 10-12.
  • Bill Dombroski. “Hike To Fish.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/16/22.
  • Women in the Woods – Rifle Sight-in, Brighton, CO (June 25).
  • Buffalo Creek Guzzler Project: Pine, CO (June 25).
  • Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Gunnison Wildlife Association, and West Elk Archers worked jointly (6/28/22) on a Wet Meadow Restoration Project.
  • John Chandler. “Wet Meadows Restoration (6/28/22).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/15/22.
  • Buffalo Creek Guzzler Project: July 9.
  • Roan Plateau Stewardship Project, Rifle, CO (July 9-10).
  • Glenwood Springs Pint Night: July 12.
  • Brien Webster. “CO BHA Wildlife Guzzler Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/15/22.
  • Women in the Woods Shotgun Skills Clinic (Brighton): July 16.
  • Join us for an overnight backpacking trip on the Cimarron Trail in the Uncompahgre National Forest (July 30-31).
  • “Southwest Colorado Pint Night (8/3/22).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/29/22.
  • Craig Grother. “Thanks to Our Members For Giving Back to Our Public Lands (Dan Noble SWA Project).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/19/22.
  • Chicken Park Fence Removal (August 20): Lost Lake Camping Area in Red Feather Lakes.
  • “Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Fly Fishing 101.” The Aspen Times: 8/27/22.
  • Wild Game Potluck-Großen Bart Brewery (August 24: Longmont).
  • Pint Night-Bent Barley Brewing (August 25: Aurora).
  • Lincoln Mountain Open Space Fence Removal (August 27: Larkspur).
  • Wild Game Processing Workshop-Farm Collaborative at Cozy Point Ranch (August 27: Aspen).
  • Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area Fence Removal (August 27-28): Meeker.
  • Brittany Parker. “CO BHA Oak Ridge SWA Fence Removal Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/8/22.
  • Trevor Hubbs. “AFI Colorado Bear (Sept. 2-7).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/7/22.
  • Meeker Public Lands Day Project (September 24-25): Fence Removal at Rio Blanco Lake State Wildlife Area in Meeker.
  • Chrysalis Barrel Aged Beer Pint Night (in Paonia) Presented By onX Hunt (Sept. 29).
  • Brittany Parker. “Public Lands Day Stewardship Recap in Colorado.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/29/22.
  • Brittany Parker. “Dome Rock SWA Aspen Regeneration Project.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/12/22.
  • Grand Valley Beast Feast at Copper Club Brewing Company on THURSDAY, Oct. 27, AT 5:30 PM.
  • Hunting for Sustainability: Learn To Hunt Big Game [Nov. 8-10: Hotchkiss, CO].” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/13/22.
  • Big Springs Fence Project (Colorado Parks and Wildlife-Colorado Springs office): SATURDAY, Nov. 12, AT 7 AM
  • Trevor Hubbs. “BHA Armed Forces Camp Colorado 3rd Rifle-Veterans Day Elk Camp (Nov. 11-18).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/7/22.
  • Brittany Parker. “Brush Creek Open Space Fence Removal. [Nov. 12 in Eagle County].” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/20/22.
  • If you're in the Longmont area on Tuesday, Dec. 6th, please join your local CO BHA Chapter Leaders for some great brews and a chance to win a Titan Truck Tent.

2022/2023 Events (Upcoming)

See Chapter Events page.

Other Information

  • 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

Auto-Renewal of Membership Option Now Live on the BHA Website. 

Landing Page to Track Chapter-Generated Memberships. To better track memberships renewed or recruited by chapters, we’ve developed a new landing page:

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.


[2] Ben Long. “Welcome aboard, Land!” Backcountry Journal: Summer 2013, p. 3.

[3] Thomas Plank. “BHA's Member Survey: 2022 Results.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/22/22.

[4] Ryan Burkert, Veteran Programs Lead, Armed Forces Initiative. “Faces of BHA.” Backcountry Journal: Winter 2022, p. 15.

[5] Daniel Howe. “Homecoming.” National Parks: Spring 2020.

[6] Thomas Plank. “BHA's Member Survey: 2022 Results.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/22/22.

[7] “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 10th Annual State Gathering Recap.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/9/18.

[8] Katie McKalip. “BHA Commends Administration Designation of National Monument in Colorado.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 10/12/22.

[9] Sage Marshall. “Conservation Groups Cheer Biden Administration’s National Monument Designation: The Camp Hale-Continental Divide National Monument permanently protects an iconic former Army Base—and critical habitat for elk and mule deer in Colorado.” Field &Stream: 10/19/22.

[10] Land Tawney, BHA President and CEO. “Why We Punch Above Our Weight.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 9/9/22.

[11] Craig worked as a wildlife biologist for the US Forest Service for 33 years on various Ranger Districts in Idaho, Nevada, and Colorado. For the last 20 years of his career he was the wildlife biologist for the Norwood and Ouray Ranger Districts of the GMUG National Forest.

[12] “Colorado BHA Report: Impacts of Off-Road Recreation on Public Lands Habitat.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 5/21/18; George Wuerthner. “Impacts of Mountain Biking.” The Wildlife News: 6/18/19.

[13] 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.

[14] David A. Lien. “Defending Wilderness and Hunting Defends Our Right to Bear Arms.” NewWest: 3/29/07.

[15] Chris Wood, Trout Unlimited President. “A Note to the TU Family …” Trout: Spring 2020, p. 6.

[16] Editor. “An Interview with Podcast Host Hal Herring.” Backcountry Journal: Winter 2020, p. 24.

About David Lien

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