I originally joined BHA, because I wanted to be outside, doing cool things with like-minded folk. I quickly found BHA was the perfect Reese’s peanut butter cup of getting guidance to advance my hunting abilities and having a sense of purpose by giving back to everyone that uses our public lands. This first weekend of April was no exception at Mills Canyon on the Kiowa National Grasslands. April first and second nearly 25 BHA board leaders and members along with several staff from the US Forest Service got down and dirty with old homestead era cattle fence; improving habitat by removing barriers for pronghorn antelope, all wrapped around an excuse to camp out and tell stories around the campfire.
Many of you probably already know that pronghorn do not like to jump, and these old cattle fences, with their low barbed wire, make it impossible for them to get under; usually leaving them vulnerable to predators and making water and food at times inaccessible. Five work crews verified or raised the bottom wire of fencing on dozens of miles to allow pronghorn to safely travel under it without compromising any of the ranch operations. We also cleared enormous piles of tumbleweeds from the fenceline that obstruct pronghorn passage, making it easy for coyotes to corner them. This year we modified/verified nearly 25 miles of fenceline, converted 0.2 miles of an exclosure from barbed wire to smooth wire, removed vegetation blocking corners and crossings and improved 10,292 acres or 16.08 square miles of habitat.
The USFS was grateful to BHA board member Beau Murphy for coordinating and impressed by work-ethic of the NMBHA family. This is our third year of doing this work and we are already talking about how much more we can do next year.
If you haven’t been out to help during a BHA conservation event, you don’t know what you are missing (but camaraderie, sharing recipes, and getting great recommendations on gear and strategy are but a few.) If you feel like you missed out, here are a couple of opportunities right around the corner:
April 21 - The Hidden Tap, Ruidoso
Southern NM Stream Stewardship Pint Night - Learn More and RSVP Here
Speaker Brad Allen of USFS will discuss the importance of our watersheds in New Mexico, stream and beaver ecology, how our restoration goals promote those processes, and how those processes will support our state fish, the Rio Grande cutthroat trout.
April 21-23 - Lincoln National Forest
Stream Restoration Project & Turkey Hunt - Learn More and RSVP Here by Wednesday, April 19
This is a great chance for meeting other members, turkey hunting and boots on ground conservation efforts with the US forest service in an important riparian area.
April 22 - Santa Fe Brewing Co. HQ, Santa Fe
Spring Runoff Event - Volunteers Needed
There will be outdoor activities, live music, food, vendors, raffles and more! We will need people to help staff a BHA booth and help out with activities. Email Lance at [email protected] to volunteer or sign-up for a shift here.
Thank you for your interest in getting involved with BHA and protecting our wild public lands, waters and wildlife in New Mexico! Please share these opportunities and we hope to see you soon!