New England Chapter Newsletter Spring 2019

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Thanks for being part of the fastest growing conservation organization in the country! Your efforts are paying off- the U.S. Senate just passed S.47, now we need the U.S. House to follow suit- contact your Representative today!

The New England chapter is making plans for 2019. A major goal is to have more local events, recruit more members, and provide opportunities for members to participate. If you’d like to get more involved please contact newengland@backcountryhunters.org , tell us which state you live in and how you might want to help.

Take a look at a few of the things that are going on!

 

New England BHA T-shirt!

New England BHA Tees are in! Not only will you look awesome while supporting BHA in New England, but proceeds also directly benefit the New England chapter and help to fund events and work in our area. These limited edition tees will be available at all New England BHA events while supplies last.

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Event Recap

MA Ice Fishing Round Up

On January 26th, the New England Chapter had an ice fishing event at Comet Pond in Hubbardston, Massachusetts. The event had 15 people attend a day of fishing, food and great conversation. Half of those that attended were new to ice fishing and got a hands on introduction to fishing hard-water. While all attendees had experience with fishing, some had reservations and questions about walking on ice. Others question what the equipment was and how it worked. Others pondered how the tactics differed from open water fishing and all these questions were answered.

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Fish were caught, prepped and cooked on the ice to also share the success and build the bond between members that attended and shared this educational experience, the fish were delicious. The day was filled with conversation continuously revolved around hunting, fishing and being outside. Friendships forged and plans for adventure were made. We truly wish you could have been there with us.

Take Aways

  • Ice fishing has a barrier to entry, find someone who does it, get out there, and learn.
  • Ice fishing is best done with other public land owners.
  • Set flags into the wind to prevent the dreaded wind flags.
  • Don’t worry about what you don’t know because learning is the fun part and that’s why we go outside.
  • Be safe on the ice and never take chances on ice you aren’t sure is safe.

 

State-by-State

Maine-

Maine members are helping the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife with implementing  its Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation (R3) program.  Maine BHA  members were represented at Maine’s recent R3 Summit by Justin King and Rob Bryan.  BHA’s appeal to new and non-traditional food-oriented hunters and anglers positions the chapter to play a key role in reaching these audiences in collaboration with public agency partners and other groups.  

Jon Robbins testified before the Land Use Planning Commission on the potential impacts that changes in zoning regulations could have backcountry habitats and access in Maine’s unorganized townships.  John Simoneau submitted comments to the Maine Land Conservation Task Force on behalf of Maine members in support of new funding for land protection and public access for hunting and angling. The legislature began its biennial session in January and BHA is tracking bills that would affect access, public lands, and sound stewardship of fish and wildlife and their habitats.

New Hampshire-

A lot percolating in NH, but not much pinned down on the calendar yet! Thank you to everyone who responded to the request for NH leadership at the start of the year - we received a number of enthusiastic responses and are actively building out the State Leadership Team. Keep an eye out for local events around the state and other fun ways to engage as we make plans for 2019.

In January, several members participated in a training session for a Winter Cottontail Rabbit survey. They’ll help collect pellets this winter for DNA testing, so researchers at the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension can better understand the range of the state’s eastern cottontails.

The chapter will have a table at the 15th Annual Concord Sportsmen’s Banquet this year. Swing by on Saturday, April 6th to meet other members, talk about BHA, and learn about the local projects we’re working on.

Vermont-

Members met for two great pint nights in December- more than 70 people attended in Burlington and Montpelier! January found members attending several meetings with other conservation organizations such as Vermont Traditions Coallition, The Nature Conservancy, Audubon and Northeast Wilderness Trust (see the guest write up!).

We were involved with a meeting around Conservation Design and we met the VT Department of Fish and Wildlife to discuss assisting on a Learn to Hunt program in May. Plans are in the works for collaboration on several projects with a variety of these groups. We are also working on an April turkey calling Pint Night, so watch for that!

Massachusetts- A couple of upcoming events in MA- see the Event section. Also, some recent success across New England with the Mentorship Program:

Many BHA members and other hunters and anglers are new to the sport, but those who do not come from families or peer groups with hunting or fishing backgrounds have few resources to learn basic skills to use in the field.  Hunter certification courses offer basic safety skills but do not teach skills necessary to become a successful hunter.  

Beginning in 2017 some New England BHA members began to informally mentor other members who were looking for more help.  At the same time, NEBHA recognized that many people new to hunting and fishing are looking at these activities as way to obtain a source of healthy, sustainable food.

In response to current trends, NEBHA initiated its Recruitment and Mentoring Program in 2018 with a goal of providing to those interested a jump on the learning curve that comes with being new to hunting or fishing, and providing those new to the field with an experienced based on the principles of fair chase and outdoor ethics.

The 2018 mentorship program had 19 participants with 100% of survey respondents stating that they found the program valuable and that they would recomend it and participate again. 

From a Mentor: "Working with a mentee makes me think more about how I hunt and why I make certain decisions, so even though I was a mentor I feel like it made me think more strategically about how I hunt. I am in the "passing it on" phase of my hunting career, so sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm for the hunt with someone who is eager to learn more is very satisfying."

If you are interested in being a mentor or mentee in 2019, please reach out! jennalrozelle@gmail.com 

Connecticut-

From new Board Member from CT, Alex Gust!
There is a heaping pile of proposed legislation has been introduced this year. Wide ranging from bear hunting, Sunday hunting, local hunting bans, firearms and permitting issues, and specific trap type bans. We're keeping a close eye on anything that might pertain to BHA and will bring things forward is they gain any traction. 
Working on a river clean up for the early spring. We're going to survey interest level from folks at the upcoming pint night (Feb 24th) before choosing a location. 
Thanks for stepping up Alex- anyone interested in helping out, please contact the chapter.

Rhode Island-

Stay tuned for upcoming pint nights, hunting workshops and other events in Rhode Island! Leadership is working on comments regarding H5130- stay tuned for more on that.

 

A New Conservation Collaboration- Guest Commentary

As we work to spread our message of conservation and access, new collaborative partnerships are starting to put down roots. The VT Leadership Team recently met with the Northeast Wilderness Trust and found a lot of common ground. Check them out for our post on their blog, while we share a message of theirs here. We're hoping to see this partnership grow, blossom and bear fruit for years to come!

In Pursuit of a Wilder Northeast

from Shelby Perry

I came to love wild places at a very young age; raised in a family with a long tradition of hunting and fishing in the woods of Vermont.  As far back as I can remember I marked the passing of seasons by watching the wildlife around me.  We went on long rambles through wild orchards scouting before deer season in fall, looked for dropped antlers and interesting tracks in winter, visited the hatchery in spring to stock our pond with rainbow trout, and then watched enraptured through binoculars every summer as otters showed up and ate them all.  

Over my life and professional career, my love of wild places has developed into a passion for protecting wilderness, and I am not the only one who has followed this trajectory.  Since the earliest days of America’s conservation movement, hunters and anglers have figured prominently. With eyes and ears to the water and ground, sportswomen and men are often among the first to sound the alarm over policies and practices that lead to dangerous over-harvest, pollution of wild waters, and the mismanagement of forests.

I came to Northeast Wilderness Trust three years ago, impressed by their model of applying the concept of wilderness-level protections to private land conservation.  Working throughout New England and the Adirondacks, the Wilderness Trust protects over 27,000-acres of self-willed, forever-wild land and water. 

The Trust allows hunting (with some restrictions) on many of its preserves with permission. The permission process is quick, easy, and completely online.  Hearing from hunters and anglers that spend time on lands we protect is one of the highlights of my job.  I love to hear success stories, like the Boy Scout who bagged his first buck last year on the Binney Hill Preserve in southern NH.  Or just stories of the land, like the hunters who called to say that they had found and removed a bunch of trash from the Alder Stream Wilderness Preserve in central ME.

Northeast Wilderness Trust looks forward to working alongside the members and volunteers of NEBHA in pursuit of a wilder Northeast.  With your help, we can safeguard thousands of additional acres in the coming years for the benefit of fish and wildlife and the outdoor traditions that depend on them.

Learn more and join us at newildernesstrust.org.

 

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Shelby Perry

Stewardship Director

shelby@newildernesstrust.org

(802) 224-1000

 

On The Nightstand

All the Wild That Remains by David Gessner reads like part biography, part book report and part travel-adventure novel. About the author's journey to follow in the footsteps of two "writer-environmentalists", this book puts a modern spin on the now-prophetic words of Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner, as population and climate change threaten the land they each wrote about. He puts each of their works in perspective by exploring each man's life and relationship to the West, then punctuates it with his own relationship and thoughts. Through this, he conveys the importance of our continued protection of this rugged and fragile landscape from the competing American ideals of wilderness and the frontier mentality of progress.


New England BHA
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About Christopher Hennessey

Regional Manager for BHA. Working with chapter leaders and members across the East to preserve our public lands and waters. Mainly a Keystone State hunter and angler, but loves having public land everywhere he goes.

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