BHA's Hunting for Sustainability program has its roots in Montana, so it's no surprise that the program has seen some of its most impactful achievements here. Working in tandem with the Collegiate Program, H4S gives college students to knowledge and skills to hunt safely, legally, and ethically. This semester, both programs celebrated the addition of a brand new H4S workshop focused on learning to hunt waterfowl at the Teller Wildlife Refuge. With an eye on expanding these programs to new states and clubs over the coming years, Montana continues to serve as a proving ground for BHA's R3 work. Here's a recap of our R3 efforts in Montana this fall.
Teller Hunting for Sustainability: Learn to Hunt Waterfowl
BHA added their newest Hunting for Sustainability workshop to the program this fall at the Teller Wildlife Refuge focused on learning to hunt waterfowl. Students stayed on-site at the Slack House (a former homestead and the oldest building on the refuge) for the 3-day workshop and spent two full days in the classroom where they learned about conservation history, hunting ethics, where to hunt, gear, and waterfowl management, biology, and ID. On Sunday, students put their new knowledge to the test with a mentored waterfowl hunt on the refuge where some students harvested their first ducks! Montana chapter leader, Tom Healy, provided a stellar menu for students over the course of the weekend that included elk, bear, deer, and hand-harvested wild rice. Montana BHA members, Hannah Nikinow and Brett Finneran, volunteered their time and expert knowledge as presenters and mentors over the course of the weekend.
University of Montana's Wild Sustenance Course
BHA has been hosting Hunting for Sustainability in collaboration with the Boone and Crockett Club and the University of Montana since 2015. In 2019, the course was officially established for college credit through the university. Since renamed Wild Sustenance, the program has seen over 50 students graduate from the course. This year, due to university regulations, the usual 3-day workshop at the Boone and Crockett Ranch was canceled. However, UM faculty and BHA staff came together to host a series of weekday classroom and local field sessions for the students including a field dressing workshop led by BHA's R3 coordinator, Trey Curtiss. We celebrated a successful end to the course with a wild game feast where students got to try everything from deer to beaver.
Montana Hunter Mentorship
The University of Montana BHA club hosts Hunter Mentorship every fall which provides hunting mentors to students who want to get afield. The program sees students seeking a variety of experiences from learning to hunt themselves to just observing. Every year, UM alum, James Goerz hosts students and mentors at his cabin near Phillipsburg. This fall, with the help of UM BHA club leader Nicole Bealer, James hosted groups all six weekends of general rifle season to give busy students maximum opportunity to attend and hunt. UM BHA's Romero scholars participated in the program and two of them successfully filled their tags--tags in which the Montana BHA chapter helped fund.