The Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) have a Chapter Leadership Team (CLT) that includes 27 dedicated hunter-angler-conservationists and six Groups (i.e., sub-chapters), including our Northern Colorado Group, led by Regional Director Kylie Schumacher. Kylie joined BHA at a 2017 Full Draw Film Tour showing, hoping to win “a sweet knife,” she said, and had no idea what BHA was at the time. “I didn’t win the knife, but came to passionately support BHA’s mission and work.”
From the start, Kylie embraced BHA’s wildlands and wildlife preservation efforts and during June 2018 she volunteered as the chapter’s Northern Colorado Regional Director. By October, she started organizing an event geared toward introducing women to hunting and angling. “The event will be focused on hunting and fishing resources as well as connecting with other new or seasoned hunters-anglers,” she said. “We hope to have a lot of collaborating organizations join who are focused on getting women outside.”
“Stemming from this event, we are also working on a hunting-fishing curriculum … This would be geared towards women and new hunters,” she added. “The courses would cover hunting 101, getting a tag, gear essentials, navigation, etc., with the goal that you would emerge from this series prepared for your first hunt and perhaps with a new hunting partner!” It didn’t take long for the folks at BHA’s North American Headquarters in Missoula, Montana, to grasp the excellent potential of Kylie’s idea.
By the end of the year, Kylie and BHA HQ had put a “Women in the Woods” Campfire Storytelling event on the docket for February 6, 2019, teaming up with New Belgium Brewing Co and Filson. The evening featured “an all-star lineup of all women speakers representing some of the most exciting leaders in the hunting, fishing and conservation community.” BHA also announced a new R3 program at the event.
It was a huge hit! “What a night! Thank you to everyone who helped to make Women in the Woods a success and to everyone who braved the winter storm to join us,” BHA HQ posted on Facebook (on 2/7/19). “Kylie Schumacher thank you for making this vision a reality! Thanks to our amazing speakers Jess Johnson, Katie DeLorenzo, Anna Caroline Ortega and Mary Rondepierre. Filson and New Belgium Brewing, thank you for being such incredible members of the BHA family.”
“Sitka Gear we can’t thank you enough for your generosity,” BHA added. “Prois, Murdoch’s, Kifaru International thank you so much for your support. Scheels, Bold Betties, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Rep Your Water, thank you for joining us! This is one for the books. Thank you all! #publiclandowner #publiclands#sportswomen.”
“Tonight was inspiring and humbling,” Kylie added. “These women are true badasses in the hunting and conservation worlds. Thank you to all who came out to support women, public land and conservation. The movement is just beginning!” As Kylie alluded to, BHA isn’t slowing down and has launched a “Women in the Woods” R3 series led by women for women interested in taking the next step to learn more about hunting, angling and conservation.
We’ll be hosting one session per month covering different topics starting with hunting basics and ending with getting participants out in the field this fall. The first session (Hunting Strategies: An Introduction to Hunting) will be Sunday, March 3, at the Welsh Rabbit in Fort Collins (200B Walnut St.), where in addition to sharing information, we will be enjoying some great tapas, beer, and wine thanks to the Welsh Rabbit and Cambium Dining Group. Please RSVP here.
Future classes (still tentative) will likely includes/address:
- April - Animal biology, scouting, navigation, hunting fitness
- May - Range day (shotguns, rifle, bow)
- June - Gearing up with Scheels
- July - Backpacking trip, wilderness first aid
- August - Intro to small game hunting
- September - Field dressing, mentored small game hunt, pair attendees up with mentors
- December - Field to plate
“From the beginning BHA has been an all-encompassing group, appealing to anyone who recreates on public land,” Kylie said. “It’s a great venue to start bridging gaps and bringing people together to make big differences in the realm of wildlife, conservation and public land.” In the words of BHA president and CEO, Land Tawney: “Thank you for your continued asskickery!” We need many more like you, Kylie!
For additional information, also see:
- CPW’s “Women Afield” program/hunts: https://cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/OutreachWomen.aspx
- “Women Walking Point in Hunting and Shooting Trends.” Colorado Outdoors: 1/12/15. http://coloradooutdoorsmag.com/2015/01/12/women-walking-point-in-hunting-and-shooting-trends
- “More Women Give Hunting A Shot.” Colorado Outdoors: 10/16/14. http://coloradooutdoorsmag.com/2014/10/16/more-women-give-hunting-a-shot/
- Wild-game chef (Georgia Pellegrini) and author (of “Girl Hunter”) went from Wall Street to duck blinds: http://www.startribune.com/sports/outdoors/190947071.html
- Lily Raff McCaulou. Call of The Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner https://www.amazon.com/Call-Mild-Learning-Hunt-Dinner-ebook/dp/B005SCR2X8
Founded by Mike Beagle, a former U.S. Army field artillery officer, and formed around an Oregon campfire, in 2004, BHA is the sportsmen’s voice for our nation’s wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With over 30,000 members spread out across all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories, including chapters in 39 states and two international chapters—in Alberta and British Columbia—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 over 2,000 dedicated hunters and anglers.