NY BHA June Newsletter

Update from Chapter Chair

I hope everyone had an amazing May out chasing turkeys, trout or just spending time outdoors! As we roll into the summer months, we hope to see you at one of our many upcoming events happening this summer, including Muster in the Mountains (Aug 9-11 in PA), and our own NY Chapter Rally in the Valley happening August 16-18.  Check out this month's newsletter for events happening near you and also some legislative news now that the legislative session has closed.  I again want to encourage you all to please tag and follow us on social media, join us at Pint Nights and conservation stewardship events, let your legislators hear from you about proposed bills impacting hunters and anglers, and make sure your BHA membership is current! Get out there and enjoy your NY public lands and waters!


Greg Whalin - NY BHA Chapter Chair 

Chapter News from May


Turkey Hunting 101 - Filson NYCturkey_101.JPG

NY Hunters of Color, the NY Chapter of BHA, and NY Department of Environmental Conservation got together May 15th at the Filson NYC store to support new turkey hunters.   DEC gave a brief presentation on regulations and public lands around NYC and then a panel of seasoned turkey hunters from BHA and HOC answered questions about all things turkey.   Attendees learned about turkey biology, scouting tips, hunting tactics, and saw some calling demos.   After the panel, some attendees won raffles for turkey calls, decoys and a turkey hunting backpack.   We had a great turnout of roughly 40-45 people and want to thank all the organizations involved as well as a special thanks to Filson NYC for hosting!





HOC / BHA / CLC Turkey Camp - Columbia Countyturkeyhunt.jpg

New York Hunters of Color, NY BHA, and the Columbia Land Conservancy hosted a mentored turkey camp for new hunters of color May 16th - 18th.   New hunters camped out in tents, practiced shotgun shooting and spent two mornings hunting gobblers paired 1:1 with an experienced mentor.  Multiple mentees were able to bag a bird with one mentee actually tagging out!  This was an incredible experience for all!  If you want to help out in the future as a hunting mentor, please reach out to us at [email protected]


nyspring3.jpgAnnual Central NY Spring Pint Night - Homer NY

NY BHA held its second Annual Central NY Spring Pint Night May 30th '24 in Homer, NY and was sponsored by Sporting Lead-Free and onX! Folks brought a dish to pass and played conservation themed trivia at the historic Homer Center for the Arts. Put it on your calendar for next year!






Western NY Allen Lake Trail Project - Allen LakeIMG_4186.jpg

On June 1st volunteers from NY BHA assisted NYSDEC West Almond Foresters with the construction of a new foot trail around Allen Lake. The trail begins near the ADA compliant fishing dock and traverses through many different forest cover types before looping back to the parking area. In total, the project added 1.5 miles of trail to the 2,421-acre state forest in Allegany County. Future projects for this trail include constructing spurs to the lake for additional fishing opportunities, adding trail puncheons through wet areas, and eventually connecting this loop to the Hidden Falls Trail. For more information about Allen Lake State Forest, visit Allen Lake State Forest - NYSDEC



Upcoming Events


Outdoor Archery and Wilderness Skills Day, Westchester County, June 22 @ 10am

Join NY Hunters of Color, The Nature Conservancy and New York BHA for a 3D Archery Shoot and Outdoor Skills training day! All are welcome. Transportation to and from NYC is also provided!  Participants will learn the basics of how to shoot archery. Stations on different types of deer stands, scouting and general outdoor skills day. Experienced and inexperienced archers welcome. Event participants must all be over the age of 18+.  More details and signup required at the following link.

OUTDOOR 3D ARCHERY & Wilderness SKILLS DAY 2024- Signup Here


Western NY BHA Bow Tuning and Bonfire Social, East Aurora, June 22 @ 5pm

Come join your fellow NY BHA community for an evening of fun and friends. We'll be gathering in East Aurora for an evening of good old fashioned fun. We'll have dogs and burgers on the grill, fling some arrows, share some stories, and then have a bonfire a-crackling. Bring your bow and we will work to get you on paper and tuned up. Camping will be available on site.  Come get to know your fellow NY BHA members, learn to tune your bow, and find out more about what we have on tap this year. Details and RSVP at link below.

Western NY BHA Bow Tuning and Bonfire Social - RSVP Here


NY onX Pint Night with NYSDEC, Albany, June 26th @ 6:00pm

Join us Wednesday June 26th at 6pm at the Common Roots Brewing Company, Albany Outpost to chat with BHA folks and the NYSDEC Bureau Chief of Fisheries, Steve Hurst. He will be giving an informal talk about the latest plan for brook trout ponds in the Adirondacks. Be one of the first 20 people to sign up or renew your BHA membership and you will get a free beer and our partners at OnX Hunt will give you a free one-year Premium Membership. Details and RSVP at link below.

NY onX Pint Night with NYSDEC in Albany - RSVP Here


Drink & Duck : Paint Your Own Duck Decoy Night, Filson NYC, June 27 @ 6:30pm

Enjoy some beer from the Catskill’s own West Kill Brewing (non-alcoholic refreshments will be available as well) while you paint your own working black duck decoy! The handsome black duck is a year-round New York State resident and our choice species to introduce folks to the joy and art of decoy painting. Drinks, snacks, and all materials will be provided. Meet some cool people and go home with a black duck decoy for your bookshelf or start your own rig! Proceeds support stewardship projects of the NY Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. Details and tickets at link below.

Drink & Duck : Paint Your Own Duck Decoy Night at Filson - Get Your Tickets Here


NY BHA with Alone Season 10 Participant Melanie Sawyer, Filson NYC, July 11 @ 6pm 

Here is your chance to meet Alone Season 10 participant, Melanie Sawyer. She made it right to the end and will be teaching us some of the wilderness skills she used to get that far.  

Melanie was born in the Cotswolds in England but her home for the last 25 years is right here in New York State! She lives off grid in the beauty and wilderness of the 6 million acre Adirondack State Park in an off grid home on the top of what she calls Thunderhawk mountain where she  created an immersive 18th Century history program called Thunderhawk Living History School, so named because Thunderhawk has always been what her family calls the mountain that they live on. Thunderhawk Living History School teaches at local schools, at universities and colleges, in museums and in the Adirondack Lodges. In 2022 Melanie created Wild Foods, to help people identify and learn about the edible plants, rhizomes, berries, nuts, lichens, mushrooms and cambium that their ancestors successfully lived on in the centuries before us.

It will be a great evening of learning, refreshments, and socializing with folks in a great setting at Filson NYC.  We will have a couple raffles and one lucky winner will walk away with a wilderness skill class with Melanie.  This event is free for all to attend and donations will be accepted to help keep great events like this going.  Details and RSVP at link below.

NY BHA with Alone Season 10 Participant Melanie Sawyer at Filson NYC - RSVP Here


NY Huntstock - Vernon Center, July 19 - 21

NY BHA will be attending the first ever NY Huntstock event taking place this summer! This event is sure to be a blast and we would love to see you swing by our table if you make it to the event! More details can be found at the Huntstock website below.

Huntstock NY - Learn More


Muster in the Mountains, North Central Pennsylvania, August 9-11

The annual BHA Muster in the Mountains is back so mark your calendars!   This time it will be hosted in North Central Pennsylvania.   This will be a great time hanging with BHA members from all over, so we hope to see you there.   More details soon!


Rally in the Valley - Ellicottville Brewing Company, Little Valley, August 16 - 18

Plans are well underway for our annual weekend gathering for all NY BHA members. This year it is happening at Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley NY, starting on Friday August 16th. This is going to be a blast with good people, great food, lots of opportunities to learn new skills (cooking, fly casting, butchering, and much much more). We will have several sponsors present and lots of auction and raffle items from guided trips to awesome outdoor gear! Be sure to block the dates on your calendar and be on the lookout for an upcoming email announcing the event and opening up RSVPs!  We’re proud to announce that this year’s Keynote Speaker is Professor Krysten Schuler of Cornell University’s Wildlife Health Lab. You may remember Professor Schuler from episode 474 of The Meateater Podcast. Save the date and see you there!!

Legislative / Policy Update


Legislative Updates

The legislative session for 2024 has wrapped for the year so we want to give some updates on the bills we were tracking.  We had some nice wins this season!


Wins this Session

Back Tags (S8644A / A10565) - This legislation grants DEC more flexibility in requirements for licensing and tagging and also removes the requirements for hunters to have to wear back tags.   NY BHA pushed hard to get both of these bills passed and are currently working with other orgs to ask Governor Hochul to sign them into law before the hunting season starts.


New York Wildlife Crossing Act (S4198 / A4243) - This legislation 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 happy to see that this passed both the Senate and the Assembly and will be going to Governor Hochul to sign.  For more information on this important legislation, read our blog post


No Movement this Session

Crossbows - Crossbow requirements in NY are currently extremely restrictive and as written reduce access for hunting. The relevant bills were S3191 and A2940 and unfortunately they did not make it to a vote.  This will be a priority for us again next year.


Lead ammo ban on all public lands - We honestly expected these bills to pass this year, but luckily they did not make it to a vote.  We will keep an eye on this in the future and will oppose the legislation as written.  For more details on our stance, read our blog post.


Other Priorities for the NY Chapter

Stream Access - Stream/river access remains a complicated issue in parts of the state, with some land owners restricting access to public waters.   We are doing our best to stay on top of these issues and communicating with DEC regularly.


Mentorship - We feel it is important to actively recruit new hunters and anglers and as such, we support any legislation that makes it easier for new hunters and anglers to get started.


We will continue to advocate for hunters and anglers in New York and keep NY BHA members informed of issues important to them.


DEC Updates


Unit/Recreation Management Plans and Proposals - 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:


Region 8


NY BHA 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 (Rally in the Valley)
  • 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: NY BHA Events

Signup to be a volunteer: NY BHA Volunteer

Last but not least, make sure your BHA membership is current and give the gift of BHA to a friend or family member!

About New York BHA

The New York Chapter is focused on bringing BHA's proven approach to conserving wild places and outdoor heritage to the Empire State. Join us to conserve our wilds!

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