Your Michigan Board just finished our annual planning retreat and we want to share a few things with all of you about this past year and the upcoming plans that we have scheduled for 2020.
First, as many of you already know, Michigan was honored as Chapter of the Year this past spring at the National Rendezvous in Boise, Idaho. Congratulations to each and every one of you for the role you played. None of that recognition could come without members that are always willing to step up, volunteers that give their time at various events and the support of our Michigan state sponsors who fund the great majority of the work we do.
Here are a few highlights from 2019:
Our state membership grew by 64% from just under 1,100 to just over 1,800 members. That places Michigan as the 6th largest chapter overall (just slightly behind Washington) and the largest chapter East of the Mississippi. This really is tremendous, but we have the potential to be much much more. Each of you likely know a friend or family member that shares the same values you do, who should be a member. Invite them. Better yet, gift them a membership. More members increases our voice, maximizes our impact and protects the wild places we all care about in our great state.
Last year we engaged in a number of conservation efforts across the state. These boots-on-the ground activities improve the habitat we all cherish. Here are two highlights:
On May 4th, 2019, BHA partnered with the DNR and Top of Michigan Mountain Bike Association (ToMMBA) to recruit almost 100 volunteers in an effort to maintain and improve the entire 82-mile High Country Pathway loop that reaches four counties in the Pigeon River Country State Forest and Atlanta State Forests. A total of 9 members of BHA volunteered, traveling from as far as Battle Creek.
PC: Sarah Topp
On Saturday July 27th MI BHA hosted a Grand/Flat River Clean-up in Lowell Michigan for the third consecutive year. The cleanup was sponsored by Scientific Anglers and featured on Michigan Out of Doors TV Episode #1931 Approximately 30 volunteers removed trash and large debris from the banks and within the Grand River between Saranac and Lowell and on the Flat River from the Lowell Dam down to its confluence with the Grand River. Three local fishing guides participated and volunteered the use of their jet boats with an additional 3 boats from local anglers who volunteered. Bin There Dump That, a dumpster service out of Grand Rapids donated a 14 yard dumpster and coordinated the pick and disposal of all the trash removed from the river at no charge.
The clean up was followed by a cookout and refreshments by the Michigan Chapter along with a free raffle of various Scientific Anglers fishing items, apparel, YETI cooler, as well as guided fishing trips from Reel Therapy Guide Service and A Grand Addiction Guide service. Scientific Anglers also brought several full fly fishing setups and held a hands on casting demonstration for all the participants.
PC: Amber Casey
Last year we also engaged in several events designed to introduce new or underserved groups into the hunting and fishing community. Some of these included:
July 19th - 21st marked the first ever Michigan Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Women’s Cast & Blast weekend. They set up camp next to Lake Margrethe on Friday and started the day off on Saturday with skeet and trap shooting at the Grayling Sportsman’s Club. The storms put an end to that fairly quickly, so they retreated inside for some fly tying and knot tying lessons followed by a rib sticking dinner. There was finally a good break in the weather for some fly casting lessons outside. Those skills were put to the test Sunday morning on a beautiful section of the Manistee River. No fish were caught, but the cooler temperatures and blue skies more than made up for it. In between all of the teaching and learning, conversations outside of fishing and shooting were taking place and bonds were developing. A women’s weekend full of fly fishing and shooting was more than just fly fishing and shooting; it was a time for women to come together from all walks of life, sit around the campfire (maybe drink too much) and realize how much they all have in common.
PC: Kaitlin Grace Photography
October 11-12th MI BHA along with QDMA paired eight new hunters with eight mentors to participate in their first whitetail deer hunts in the Waterloo Recreation Area. The hunt was put on for two days where we cooked wild game, talked deer hunting, swapped stories around the campfire, and explored some gorgeous public land. A MDNR conservation officer was even kind enough to swing out and answer questions about regulations and common issues hunters face in the field. Unfortunately there were no shots fired or game harvested, but a great time was had by all and lasting friendships were made.
PC: Josh Hillyard
We have even BIGGER plans in store for 2020. Here’s a quick snapshot of our 2020 goals:
- Achieve a net growth of 900 new members by the end of 2020, bringing us to approximately 2,700.
- Conduct at least one conservation effort and one member social event per district (7) - see map below for Districts.
- Introduce at least 50 new people in Michigan to hunting or angling through various events and efforts.
Here are a few of the events we already have in place for the coming year. Some of the details are yet to be finalized but watch your email, keep an eye on our social pages or check the events page on our site because new events will be added regularly: MI BHA Events Page
We hope to see you all at a few of these!
- February 10th - Grouse Film - Jay’s in Gaylord
- February 20th - Ironwood Pint Night
- February 28th - F3T in Ann Arbor
- February 29th - F3T in GR (2 showings)
- In April MI BHA will be hosting a Hunting for sustainability mentored Turkey Hunt. Details on how to participate will be released soon!
- Two-part event - One weekend of safety, shooting, learning, etc.
Turkey Camp & Pint Night in the UP
- May 23rd- Cedarville Pint Night at Les Cheneaux Distillery
- June 4th - 7th - HQ Rende (Missoula)
June 4th - MeatEater - Royal Oak Theatre
June 12th - 14th - TAC
- Pre-Party Friday
- June 18th - 21st - Compton Trad (Berrien Springs)
- End of July
- Northern Lower MI
Lifestyle Lost River Cleanup
- West Michigan
MI Rendezvous (Big Star Lake)
- PLO Film
- Gear demonstrations
- And more! Click here to see photos from last year’s MI Rende!
September (Public Lands Month):
Women’s Cast and Blast Event
- Cleanup with Long Range Archery (Allegan State Game Area)
If you’d like to get more involved in your District please click on and fill out the survey below and we will be in touch! Thank you for being a part of the MI BHA Family!
Michigan Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Volunteer Survey