Across the continent we are currently facing an onslaught of attempts to ban certain types of hunting, trapping and animal production. While Backcountry Hunters & Anglers remains focused on advancing public access and conservation measures to benefit our wild public lands and waters, we have also long stood for the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. These proposed bans threaten a key tenet of this model, which states that wildlife management decisions are to be made by our fish and wildlife agencies – and that these management decisions be guided by the best available science.
Recently, BHA chapters have unfortunately been forced to respond to an increasing number of attacks on our unique wildlife management system, which has helped bring countless game species back from the brink of extinction. This model continues to provide North American families of many backgrounds unparalleled opportunities to put wild food on the table, to play a part in the active management of our wildlife populations and to build memories.
Much could be lost if those who do not fully understand or appreciate our outdoor lifestyle have their way – and BHA leaders have responded accordingly. The following is a short list of hunting bans that BHA chapters are currently actively working to stop/reverse:
- Arizona: An organized group of advocates is attempting to ban all hunting of mountain lions, bobcats and bears by utilizing the comment period currently open for its five-year hunting season setting guidelines. The Arizona chapter has set up an action alert to help BHA members speak up in support of the proposed hunt guidelines from Arizona Game & Fish, which would ensure continued hunting opportunities for bear, mountain lion and bobcat.
- California: Following up on a failed legislative attempt in 2021 to ban all black bear hunting, a petition (2021-027) was filed in early January with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife that attempts eliminate all bear hunting. The California chapter is working through the commission process to oppose this proposal.
- Colorado: A bill has been introduced (SB 22-031) that would prohibit any hunting or trapping of mountain lions or bobcats. The Colorado chapter has launched an action alert and is coordinating with other hunting and angling groups to kill this bill.
- New Jersey: For years, the New Jersey chapter of BHA has been working to restore an outright closure of the bear hunting season, which was initiated by the New Jersey governor by an executive order, without any scientific basis undergirding the decision. BHA remains committed to restoring this bear hunting season and calls on the governor to reverse course on this decision.
- Oregon: The chapter is working with a coalition of hunting and fishing organizations in the state to educate our community and help stop Initiative Petition 13 from advancing. This proposed ballot measure would criminalize hunting and fishing in the state and put an end to our outdoor traditions.
- Washington: Following the unfortunate recent decision by the Washington Game and Fish Commission to end the spring bear hunting season in 2022 – and the subsequent resignation of a commission member over the issue – the Washington BHA chapter has launched an action alert urging hunters to join in asking the Washington Game and Fish Commission to reconsider this decision.
As hunters and anglers, it is on on us to stay engaged – and speak up – on these and other issues facing our North American hunting and angling traditions. You can stay up to date on the latest public lands, waters and wildlife management issues by signing up for BHA’s e-newsletters (if you haven't already). Or better yet, help support our efforts to sustain your outdoor traditions by becoming a dues paying member of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.