Public Water Access Panel - “Securing quality public access to your public waters, has been a focus of BHA’s for years now and the fights for access to fish, float and recreate your public waters have only increased in recent years. Learn more about how public water advocates from across the country have been engaging in campaigns on behalf of their home waters in this panel discussion.
Mike Woods, New England Chapter, Chair
Mike is hunter and angler from Rhode Island. Being outdoors has always important to him. Woods grew up fishing, camping and backpacking in New Jersey, but after graduating from Brown University he got interested in hunting, and was hooked for life after killing his first deer. As an outdoorsman, he realized the extreme importance of protecting and preserving our public lands and waters and joined up with BHA to become a part of a community that focused on that protection and preservation. When he isn’t hunting or fishing, Mike works as an engineer developing consumer and industrial products, and enjoys home brewing and running on the side.
Don was born and raised in Southern California near Pasadena. He was fishing at the age of 5 in the salt water of California and in the trout streams of New Mexico. His grandfather, who lived in New Mexico, started taking him hunting for doves and waterfowl at the age of 10. His big game hunting started when he moved to Colorado in the mid-70s. “I transitioned to bow in the early 1980s,” Don said. “Today I primarily hunt and fish in Colorado and the greater Rockies.”
He hunts both small and big game, including elk, deer, antelope, buffalo, grouse, turkeys, waterfowl and pheasants; and fishes primarily for trout, but also bass, salmon and catfish. Don was an early BHA member, joining in 2005, the same year the Colorado chapter (the first official BHA state chapter) formed. He was also one of the chapter’s first Habitat Watch Volunteers (HWVs), joining their ranks in September 2009, the same month the program started. In addition, Don has been the chapter HWV Program Coordinator since early 2017.
Don went to college at Stanford University and Law School at the University of Colorado. He worked for a French oil company for 19 years and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board for 16 years as Director of the Western Regional Office. He has a legal background in occupational safety and health, environmental law, toxic tort and administrative law. Don lives in Boulder, Colorado.
Drew Kazenski, Illinois Chapter, Co-Chair
Drew Kazenski grew up in rural central Illinois and was raised from the beginning with a deep understanding and respect for hunting, fishing and conservation. As an avid hiker, hunter and fly fisherman; he has had whitetails make him tremble in Illinois, chased Merriam turkeys in South Dakota, and landed West-slope Cutthroats in Montana, all due to public land and conservation efforts before him. Drew believes if you are consuming or taking you should do some part to give back, one of his reasons for joining BHA. Drew encourages everyone to find away to give back to the land we all consume from.
Currently, Drew still resides in central Illinois with his wife and golden retriever enjoying their passion for the outdoors.
State Fish & Wildlife Agency Commissions – Most of the decisions impacting hunting, fishing, and wildlife management that we care about are made by our state fish and wildlife agency commissions. Join a discussion with Pennsylvania Game Commission staff, Josh Zimmerman to hear more about how you can more effectively engage with your state fish and wildlife agency decision makers.
Speaker: PA Game Commission Legislative Liaison – Josh Zimmerman – “Filling the Void: Sportsmen & Women Must Speak Up for Conservation” General education on how commissions work, How commissioners are appointed, How can we best influence the decision-making process, and how to best engage with them where we disagree.
Josh Zimmerman has been the legislative Liaison for the Pennsylvania Game Commission since 2015. Before coming to the Game Commission, he served as Sportsmen’s Advisor to Governor Tom Corbett while running the Governor’s Advisory Council for Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation. Prior to working for the Governor, Josh was working for the PA House of Representatives doing public relations and policy work on a variety of issues. Josh began his professional career working for a small advertising firm representing clients John Deere and Kubota. A lifelong resident of Pennsylvania, Josh is an avid hunter and fisherman, and enjoys spending time outside. His favorite pursuits include whitetail deer, turkey, bear, and waterfowl. While he has never hunted west of the Mississippi, he hopes to do so sometime in the not-too-distant future. Josh currently lives in Palmyra with his wife Ashley and their four children.
Washington State Case Study: Game Commission Reform - All Eyes have been on Washington State as of late, as an organized force of advocates who seek to dismantle the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and ban certain types of hunting gain ground in the state. Join a deep dive discussion on the local debate on spring bear hunting, science-based wildlife management.
Raising Hell for Freedom and Habitat - North Americans enjoy some of the finest hunting and fishing in the world – and it’s not by accident. Our clean water, public land and abundant wildlife exist thanks to generations of hunters and anglers willing to raise hell in behalf of nature and our freedoms. People like us. In this seminar, Ben Long will share the fundamentals of strategic conservation – whether you are trying to defend access or conserve habitat via your local fish and game commission or Congress. Ben’s new book, The Hunter & Angler Field Guide To Raising Hell is designed to help new generations of conservationists raise hell the most effective way – because winning is more fun.
Ben Long is a conservationist, author and outdoorsman in Kalispell, Montana. He is a founding board member and former chairman of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. He has more than 30 years’ experience in successful conservation campaigns from the Far North of Canada to suburban Los Angeles. He is the founding editor of Backcountry Journal and a contributor to Outdoor Life, The MeatEater and Bugle Magazine. Most recently he is author of The Hunter & Angler Field Guide To Raising Hell.