Wow! What a winter and spring! BHA in New England is starting to really step it up. Pint Nights galore, sessions with biologists and legislators, state leadership teams, growth on the Chapter Board. We're beginning to swing the conversation on conservation our way folks!
Oh yeah, the weather was incredible too. Reports of 8" of snow in northern VT on April 20th...
Read on for what has been going on in your chapter:
- State-specific projects we've been involved in
- Details about our Chapter Board
- Participation in regional and national BHA Rendezvous events
- Opportunities for participation in local projects
- plus a book recommendation
State Leadership Teams
Over the past year NEBHA has been developing state leadership teams to focus on policy issues and events for members and the public within each of the New England states. Vermont formed the first team in 2017, and thanks to members who came to recent pint nights and expressed a willingness to pitch in BHA has new leadership teams in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.
Members wishing to become more involved in state NEBHA activities should contact a chapter leader from their state listed at the end of this newsletter.
Help Needed! We still have state leadership team and board slots to fill in New Hampshire and Rhode Island. For NH please contact Jenna Rozelle-Darcy; for RI please contact Mike Woods or Andy Billipp.
State News Briefs
BHA members in Connecticut came out in support of SJ35, a proposed state constitutional amendment that will help protect CT state lands from sale or transfer, and added another of their members, James Quadrino to the New England chapter leadership.
Fed Todd has been tracking proposed changes to the Land Use Planning Commission (LUPC) rules, which affect how development occurs in the unorganized townships of Maine’s North Woods. Currently it appears that the changes will be minor and not result in a significant shift in protecting remote areas in the north country. NEBHA also has been monitoring exchanges of public ownership rights in the Allagash Region. Essentially the state is exchanging some of its common and undivided interest in timberlands where it holds a minor share among many owners for parcels that the public will own in their entirety.
Unfortunately, the Legislature did not support a ban on the use of live fish as bait in the tributaries to designated Heritage Fish Waters, which have self-sustaining populations of wild trout and Arctic char. The Legislature also did not pass legislation requiring the removal of barriers to alewife passage in the upper Sheepscot watershed, which would have been an overall boost to the productivity of the river, lakes, and adjacent coastal waters.
NEBHA’s presence is being felt strongly for the first time in Massachusetts. Members Chris Borgatti and David Larson attended a recent Mass Wildlife hearing pertaining to the leashing of dogs (except while hunting) on state WMAs, where Chris gave testimony. The chapter supports MassWildlife’s proposal to require dogs to be leashed, unless engaged in hunting or training. In addition, two successful Pint Nights were held in Amherst and Framingham. The events definitely demonstrated the chapter could benefit by the formation of a state leadership team, as a result, there is one in the works. Contact David Larson or Chris Borgatti if you would like to be involved. Stay tuned for more Massachusetts NEBHA events in the near future!
The issue that's risen to priority in New Hampshire is the stocking program within White Mountain National Forest, where NHFW is stocking non-native Rainbow Trout in native Brook Trout habitat. Native trout habitat is one of the crown jewels of our New England outdoors, and it deserves our attention. We are currently reaching out to area biologists and agencies to hear their sides of the story so we can hopefully present a thoughtful solution. If any N.H. members have any input or insight on this matter we'd be glad to hear it - please email JennaLRozelle@gmail.com
Efforts in Rhode Island have been focused on recruiting new members and starting up the state leadership team. If you’re interested in joining in and helping out, contact Mike Woods at email@example.com
Members in VT have submitted comments on the Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte National Wildlife Refuge Habitat Management Plan and to the F&W department on the Border Management Unit Long Range Management Plan. The State Leadership Team (SLT) will be holding its second formal meeting in late April and will be moving forward on a number of projects related to Stewardship, Outreach and Policy work. SLT member Kyle Lapointe has been busy attending meetings and engaging staff on numerous projects within Green Mountain National Forest. New England Chapter Board and member from VT Eric Nuse was awarded BHA’s Jim Posewitz Award for Ethical Hunting and Fishing at the National Rendezvous for his many years of work- Congratulations Eric!
New England-Wide News
Canadian Power Lines
A number of proposals have been put forward to construct new high-voltage transmission lines to bring Canadian hydro and wind power to southern New England. In 2017 NEBHA opposed the Northern Pass option because it would have resulted in significant fragmentation and loss of backcountry habitat in northern New Hampshire. The NH siting board denied the permit, and now the leading contender is a route that would require over 40 miles of new transmission corridor through the Maine Woods between The Forks and the Canadian border if approved. Permit Hearings are likely to begin in the fall. Other options are on the table in Vermont and northeastern New York. Matt Breton and Rob Bryan will be heading up an analysis of the various routes over the coming months.
With a tremendous surge of engagement, every state in New England has had a pint night in the last three months. Oddly enough, it seems that BHA’ers are so interesting to talk to that no one drinks much beer! Stay tuned for more!
Vermont BHA members at a recent pint night
by Jenna Rozelle-Darcy
I was lucky enough to attend the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Annual Rendezvous in Boise, ID and I can confirm it is everything they promised and more. I went two days early for chapter leader training which was super helpful for me as someone new to this arena. The national staff was all hands-on deck; running the workshops at the same time as setting up for the big weekend events - they really worked their tails off to make this a good balance of education and fun.
In the workshops, we covered everything from the nuts and bolts of a well-functioning board to membership recruitment, policy strategy, best practices for events and so much more - then we ate Oryx kabobs and Elk Chili in the park with the most docile Canada geese I've ever seen. Friday was full to the gills with more helpful workshops for the majority of the day that I'm confident will facilitate some targeted growth and efficacy in our chapter here at home. After that was a Q&A session with a panel of staff and National Board members, then we broke out for Beers, Bands and Public Lands out in the courtyard. I capped the night off with the Filmfest- some of the most impressive amateur cinematography I've ever seen.
Saturday I attended workshops on: How to Use the Whole Animal, Public Waters Panel (formerly known as #streamaccessnow program has been rebranded as #accessourwaters) led by our new hire Rob Parkins who is heading up some very important work to keep your eyes on, Policy Engagement with John Gale and our new hire Julia Peebles (who is based in D.C. and I think will be a real game-changer for our influence on Capitol Hill), Still Hunting with Clay Hayes, Turkey Tactics and more.
The Awards Luncheon was an unexpected tearjerker - people in our ranks do some pretty amazing work and I am so glad to report that our very own Eric Nuse was honored with the Jim Posewitz Award for Outstanding Effort in Promoting and Protecting Fair Chase Ethics - presented by Randy Newberg! The Filson Campfire Stories event on Saturday night was really the icing on an already gluttonous cake with storytellers like Steve Rinella, Yvon Choinard, Remi Warren and more.
I was so happy that we had 6 New England members on the premises for the weekend - let's make it 20 next year - you won't regret it.
If you are on Instagram and would like to see photos of the weekend you can search the hashtag #rende2018 - I'm sure there will be something included in the next Backcountry Journal as well.
Mark Your Calendars
Sturbridge, MA June 22-24. Rinehart 100 Shoot in Sturbridge, MA at the Hamilton Rod and Gun Club. BHA will have a table/booth at the shoot. Members interested in attending the shoot and helping to promote BHA should contact Dave Larson firstname.lastname@example.org. Dave plans to have an informal gathering after the shoot.
Richmond, ME August 10-12, 2018. Join your fellow BHA enthusiasts at the first New England BHA Rendezvous at Swan Island Wildlife Management Area in Richmond, Maine. Weekend camping or come for the day, events will include a backcountry 3-D course, member-led workshops focused on hunting, fishing and other outdoor skills, a wild foods pot-luck dinner, campfire storytelling and more.
Yeti Membership Incentive
Yeti is giving each chapter a large cooler and a hopper to help with member recruitment and renewals. Beginning May 1, the first 100 New Englanders who sign up for new or renewed memberships at events, or by signing up with a state leader, will receive a drawing ticket for a 75-quart Yeti Tundra Cooler. This incentive is not available for routine online sign-ups for new or renewed memberships. The chapter’s goal is to have at least 50 of the drawing tickets going to new members, so get a friend or two to join or buy them a gift membership while you renew! Tickets are limited and may not last long, so contact the state leaders below for more details on how to get into the drawing.
Chapter Board Updates
Welcome to our New Board Members:
Dave Larson: Dave is a science teacher in central Massachusetts with a degree in Environmental Science. He grew up in Connecticut, where access to public lands is limited. Introduced to hunting and fishing at a young age by his father, he has a deep love for the woods and waters of New England and a passion to protect and enhance them through sound stewardship. Currently living in Massachusetts, he attempts to instill a shared appreciation for our fish, wildlife and wild places in all he meets.
Chris Borgatti: Chris teaches Biology and AP Environmental Science at a Massachusetts prep school. Outside the classroom, he leads students on outdoor adventure trips, typically with a heavy dose of backcountry fishing. He has taken students to some of America’s best public lands in the East, West, and Alaska, plus destinations in Central and South America, and Europe.
A lifelong angler and a relatively new hunter, his passion is getting as far off the beaten path as possible throughout the region’s public lands. A lover of wild proteins from land and sea, an avid surfer, and competitive endurance athlete, Chris lives on the North Shore of Massachusetts with his wife, and three children.
Matthew Breton: Matt hails from Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom where he lives with Lori and a pack of pets. After traveling to the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming and Colorado's Mount Zirkel Wilderness in pursuit of elk and mule deer, along with floating Montana’s Blackfoot River to catch cutthroat on a fly, Matt joined BHA to protect the places where those incredible experiences can happen. He figured out that the rural hunting/fishing way of life that he holds so dear needed protecting closer to home, too. A big woods deer tracker needs big woods to roam in; he has realized the role that conservation easements allowing public access on New England’s timberlands plays in guaranteeing long-term access to hunting and fishing.
Trained as a Physical Therapist by the U.S.Army, he continues to work as a PT in his civilian life. In his time off, he likes to run, hike, hunt, fish and paddle in quiet places. He plans to continue his western pursuits when he can and try to track down a buck in the mountains of northern New England every November.
James Quadrino: James is a hunter and fly fisherman who is originally from New York City. He grew up saltwater fishing and birdwatching there but developed his love for hunting while at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. James works as a Data Scientist, but enjoys exploring public lands, fly fishing for trout, and bow hunting. He lives in Northwestern Connecticut with his fiancée and fellow BHA'er Caitlin. James is passionate about expanding and preserving public lands.
North-South Board Leadership:
Dave Larson has also taken on the role of NEBHA Co-chair. Dave’s primary focus area will be helping to coordinate chapter activities in southern New England, while Co-chair Rob Bryan will take the lead in the northern states.
Tovar Cerulli, one of the founding members of New England BHA, recently stepped down after serving on the board since its inception in 2013. Tovar will continue to help NEBHA as a member of the Vermont State Leadership team. On behalf of the NEBHA board we wish to thank Tovar for his years of service, leadership, and clear thinking during a period of rapid growth and when the chapter has faced difficult decisions. - Rob Bryan, Co-chair and Eric Nuse, Vermont
On the Nightstand
This quarter’s book review comes to us from Rob Bryan:
I just finished Bucks that Got Away: From Failure to Success in the Art of Tracking, just off the press and written by Matt Breton, NEBHA board member from Vermont. I picked up my copy at the Maine Sportsman’s show, where I had gone to finally meet Matt who has been editing this newsletter for over a year and handling a lot of other NEBHA business. While I was there Matt gave a great seminar on diet, physical training, and mental preparation for tracking big bucks in the North Woods.
About half the book is a series of stories of different bucks that Matt has tracked over the years and what he learned from his failures as well as successes. In the remainder of the book Matt summarizes his keys to success, lays out a well-honed gear list to enable the tracker to put in many miles without getting bogged down by unnecessary equipment, and provides an overview of training and preparing venison for the table.
In the concluding chapter he lays out a well stated credo on what it means to be a hunter-conservationist in the twenty-first century and where we need to go from here. This chapter reminded me about why I believe BHA is such an important organization and of the deep land ethic held by the hunters and anglers that I have been fortunate to meet by being a member. Whether you are looking to hone your big woods skills or are primarily an ambush hunter and buck-tracking wannabe like me, you’ll enjoy following Matt’s trail into the backcountry.
State Leader Contact List
NH Jenna Rozelle-Darcy: email@example.com
RI Mike Woods: firstname.lastname@example.org
VT Matt Breton: email@example.com
If you have an item of interest or an upcoming event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org