December is upon us! As the end of the year approaches I ask you to take time to reflect on how you have used public lands and water in your outdoor pursuits. Our mission at BHA is to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. Join us for continued access to our public lands and waters across New York and beyond.
Get out there and enjoy your public lands and waters!
Brian Bird NYBHA Chapter Chair
Chapter News from November
HOC/BHA/TNC Mentored Hunt
NY BHA partnered with Hunters of Color and The Nature Conservancy in a weekend long deer camp for 8 brand new hunter/conservationists of color. The hunt was hosted on TNC property on Long Island and the new hunters were paired up with mentors to hunt deer out of treestands with compound bows. Multiple deer were taken and mentees were able to experience processing and butchering of deer along with basic hunting skills. Read more about it in a press article.
Legislative / Policy Update
Call to Action - Protect the Catskills
We are asking folks to request that Governor Kathy Hochul sign S.7538/A.7754 and S.7537/A.7761 into law. Current legislation allows for the abuse of local building, zoning, and development regulations designed to protect wild spaces and these bills would amend current laws to make this more difficult. Please take a moment to learn more and sign the letter hosted by Catskill Mountankeeper.
Unit/Recreation Management Plans - DEC regularly seeks public input as they work to manage our public lands. While they will regularly receive input from other groups, often hunters and anglers are fairly silent. It directly benefits the hunting and angling communities for you to take a look at these plans and voice your feedback directly to DEC. They do listen to your input and in the past, our voices have resulted in wins for hunters and anglers. Current plans open for feedback include:
- Keuka Highlands UMP and Keuka Lowlands UMP - comments open until further notice
- Great Divide Unit Management Plan (formerly Erwin UMP and Great Divide UMP) - comments open until further notice
While the legislative session has wrapped in Albany, it is still worth keeping an eye on the following bills and letting your elected officials hear from you.
Lead ammo ban on all public lands - Both the Assembly and the Senate have bills proposing banning all lead ammunition only on public lands. The bill passed in the Assembly and the relevant bill in the Senate is S4976. While we are in very much in favor of hunters voluntarily switching to non-toxic ammunition, we feel that these bills are likely to be ineffective and unfairly target only public land hunters. Reach out to your elected officials!
New York wildlife crossing act - A bill that directs the Department of Transportation to identify sites along all highways, thruways and parkways in the state where wildlife crossings are most needed to increase public safety and improve habitat connectivity and create a priority list of wildlife opportunity areas where federal grant monies may be available to implement the top five projects identified. We are in favor of this proposed bill and encourage you to reach out to your elected officials to get this one over the finish line. The relevant bills are S4198 and A4243.
Back tags, hunting rights, crossbows and dogs - A few other bills to keep your eye on:
- Remove the requirements for back tags - S367 / A1486
- Hunting dogs cannot be deemed running at large - A2224
- Remove restrictions on crossbow size/weight - S2250 / A4372
- Constitutional right to hunt and fish - S870 / A3348
- Prohibits leasing public land for gas production - S724
- Ban leg gripping traps - A110 / S1619
Call for Volunteers
We need your help! We are looking for volunteers to help with the following efforts.
- Regional Event Coordinators - Want to help us plan gatherings for your fellow NY BHA members? We need help with local Pint Nights as well as our upcoming NY Rendezvous
- Policy and Legislative work - Our Policy team and newly forming Legislative team needs passionate folks to jump in and help us do the important work to protect our public lands and access for hunters and anglers!
- Mentorship work - We want to build a list of folks in the state who are open to being mentors for new hunters and anglers. We have opportunities and need for folks who can give a little all the way up to folks who want to really invest a lot. Everything from answering questions to being a one on one coach to participating on our larger weekend long hunt camps for new hunters.
- Conservation work - We are working with DEC to have more opportunities for events to do quality habitat work on our public lands. Want to roll your sleeves up and help, we would love to have you!
If you are interested in volunteering a bit of your time and talents, please let us know by filling out and submitting this form.
How to Connect with Us
Here are a few ways you can keep in touch with the New York BHA chapter:
Stay up to date with events and blogs from New York on our BHA web page at New York Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
Join our Facebook group at New York BHA on Facebook.
Follow us on Instagram New York BHA (@newyorkbha).
Contact the Chapter Board by email: [email protected]
Thank our sponsors: New York BHA Corporate Sponsors
Join us at an upcoming event: BHA Events
Signup to be a volunteer: NY BHA Volunteer