Oregon is characterized by its natural diversity; from desert to rainforest, snow-capped peaks to mile-deep canyon, moss-covered old growth to arid sage steppe. That diversity supports a rich array of wildlife, much of which depend on large, unfragmented blocks of habitat. The well-being of that habitat is being strained by increasing demands on resources, technological advances in mechanized travel and increasingly larger groups pursuing different recreational uses.
“Conservation is getting nowhere,” Aldo Leopold wrote in 1948, “because it is incompatible with our Abrahamic concept of land. We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”
Using the land, not abusing it; being a part of the wild community, not apart from it. These are core values held by Oregon BHA. We are dedicated to these ideals because we believe there are no other people more intimately connected to nature — and more dedicated to its wild inhabitants — than our nation’s hunters and anglers.
The wild lands and waters with which Oregon is blessed benefit from the watchful eye of the individuals who frequent them. It is the sense of stewardship and passion for wild country, not a backpack, raft or strong set of legs, that make a Backcountry Hunter & Angler. Members need only pack a strong set of ethics and a firm conviction in the following tenets:
- Recognize that the rights of hunters and anglers come with responsibilities of stewardship toward the land.
- Support a science-based approach to wildlife management.
- Value the need for large tracts of unfragmented land to provide necessary wildlife habitat and clean waters.
- Value the presence of corridors that connect critical blocks of wildlife habitat.
- Embrace challenges created by self-imposed limitations to the access of wild places and the pursuit of fish and game.
- Resolve to develop and hone your knowledge of the country and the game that you pursue.
- Strive to improve your woodsmanship to better integrate yourself into the wild community.
- Understand the need to develop good judgment and self sufficiency by building fundamental skills instead of developing a dependence on technological advances.
In striving to live up to the standards of stewardship set forth by conservationists like Leopold, Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, Oregon BHA helps ensure the health and the future of our wild places — and sets an example for others to follow.