Policy Seminars will take place in the Floriculture Building
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.
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.
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 Chris Hager and Dan Wilson as they recap the loss of the spring bear season and they're continued efforts to band together steak holders as a collective unified voice for science-based wildlife management. This two year battle has most recently been featured on Randy Newberg's HUNT TALK Podcast where Chris and Dan chat through this very topic. You can hear a preview of what this converastion will entail by listening to the episode HERE.
Chad Thomas, CA BHA Co-Chair will join the conversation and bring to light similar expereinces the CA Chapter has faced with their game commission and the use of "convient science".
Join a deep dive discussion on the local debate on spring bear hunting, science-based wildlife management, and state wildlife commissions.
Sustaining Big-game migrations into the future: What can we learn from the Science?
Wyoming has some of the longest and most complex big-game migrations. Herds move across vast landscapes, traversing through multiple-use lands, presenting a unique and complex challenge for management and conservation. Emily Reed will take you on a journey of what it’s like to be a migrating mule deer in the West, the challenges they face, and how new research, new conservation tools, and new ways of communicating science are bringing people, agencies, and NGOs together to make such journeys easier for migrating big-game.
Emily Reed is an associate researcher and science communication specialist for the Wyoming Migration Initiative based at the University of Wyoming. She works to advance community-driven research and engage the public on the science of big-game migrations. Emily grew up on a small farm and ranch operation in Wyoming, where she developed a deep love for the outdoors and the wildlife that call it home. When she’s not in the field or in the office working, Emily freelance writes and photographs for popular online and print outlets such as Outdoor Life and Modern Huntsman.
Live BHA Podcast and Blast with Hal Herring
Listen live as Hal speaks to writer, river guide and conservationist Chris Dombrowski
Chris Dombrowski's nonfiction debut, Body of Water: A Sage, a Seeker, and the World’s Most Alluring Fish (Milkweed Editions), was hailed in The New York Times Book Review, drew comparisons to Gary Snyder and John McPhee in the Wall Street Journal, and was named to numerous Book of the Year lists in 2016.
His second work of nonfiction, The River You Touch: Making a Life on Moving Water (Milkweed), was published last fall to enthusiastic reviews. “A poignant rumination on marriage, parenthood, friendship and what it means to connect with nature," said USA Today. And Outside Magazine called it "A lyrical memoir and ode to trout and riparian ecosystems--every sentence of this book sings.”
This summer will mark Dombrowski's twenty-fifth season as a fly-fishing guide in western Montana. He lives with his family in Missoula, where he teaches in the Creative Writing Program at UM.
Climate Change and Tomorrow’s Fish
In the face of climate change, the recreational fishing community must unite and become a powerful, effective advocate if we are to sustainably manage our fisheries for future generations. The panel features individuals who each bring a professional and personal commitment to addressing the impacts of climate change on their landscapes and communities—collectively as professional fishing guides, alpinists, outdoor industry professionals, fish and wildlife conservationists, and parents.
As the reality of human-caused climate change becomes more widely accepted, and as our weather events grow more chaotic, frequent, and impactful, we have two basic choices. We either step up or we go home.
HILARY HUTCHESON, Owner & Operator, Lary’s Fly & Supply, Columbia Falls, MT
Hilary Hutcheson is a fly fishing guide at Glacier Anglers and owns and runs her fly shop, Lary's Fly & Supply in her hometown of Columbia Falls, Montana. She serves on the boards of the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, AFFTA Fisheries Fund, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, and Protect Our Winters. She sits on the advisory committee for Guiding For the Future, Northern Rockies River Council, and Flathead River Alliance. Hilary is an award-winning filmmaker and journalist. Her greatest joy is working on the river alongside her three adult children, Ella, Delaney, and Killion, and her partner, Ebon who are all industry professionals.
MARIO MOLINA, Executive Director, Protect Our Winters (POW), Boulder, CO
An avid alpinist, snowboarder, mountain biker, guide, and life adventurer, Molina previously served as international director at The Climate Reality Project, where he designed the organization’s climate leadership trainings and oversaw its post-Paris Agreement international strategy. Prior to his work at Climate Reality, Molina led strategy and programs as deputy director at the Alliance for Climate Education (ACE). Molina grew up in the highlands of Guatemala and has a deeply rooted respect and relationship with the mountains and outdoor culture. He has trained corporate leaders, government officials, NGO groups, athletes, and activists, on climate change strategies, communications, and engagement. He has spoken widely on climate policy including for the World Bank, IBM, the Mexican Senate, the Brazilian Forum on Climate Change, and various global stages. Mario now calls the Rockies home, where he lives with his wife and peak-bagging Australian Shepherd outside Nederland, Colorado.
BROOKS SCOTT, Executive Director, Yellow Dog Community & Conservation Foundation, Bozeman, MT;
Director of Business Development, Emerger Strategies
Brooks is a 20 year veteran of the Outdoor Retail and Fly Fishing industries. Working for Patagonia he honed his skills on sharpening the intersection of business and activism while helping teams in stores across the country deliver amazing service and build lasting relationships. After relocating to Montana in 2020, Brooks started his own consulting business operating in the climate sphere as part of the Fly Fishing Climate Alliance and came on board with YDCCF in late 2021. An avid fly angler for over 30 years,
Brooks loves plying small streams for wild native fish. He believes wholeheartedly in David Brower’s stance that “there is no business to be done on a dead planet” and that as people who recreate outdoors, the biggest thing any of us can do is work to ensure that the places we fish and love are protected and preserved for future generations.
WHITNEY TILT, Executive Director, AFFTA Fisheries Fund, Bozeman, Montana
Whitney has spent a career working in fisheries and wildlife conservation addressing a wide range of challenges from Colorado River water allocations and black-footed ferret recovery to recreational use of the Yellowstone River and evaluation of federal fisheries programs. As executive director of the AFFTA Fisheries Fund, he works for abundant and healthy fisheries through education, partnership-building, and supporting on-the-ground conservation. Whitney is author of the Flora of the Yellowstone, a founder of High Country Apps LLC, and principal of Conservation Benchmarks, LLC. He also works with the Upper Yellowstone Watershed Group on river recreation and working lands efforts. Whitney’s vocation is tied to a love of fly fishing, upland bird hunting and other excuses to explore landscapes and all things wild.
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.
Lifelong hunter and angler Bruce Farling retired in 2017 after 24 years as executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited. He previously served as conservation director of the Clark Fork Coalition, and for 9 years was a wilderness ranger in Idaho and Montana’s Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, working in the Forest Service’s last all-wilderness ranger district. He has also been a wildland fire fighter, free-lance journalist, part-time staff writer for High Country News and toiled at a number of seasonal blue-collar jobs. Bruce has a B.S. from the University of Oregon and M.A. from the University of Montana. In 2020 he was inducted into Montana’s Outdoor Hall of Fame. He lives in Missoula and spends his time fishing, hunting, backpacking, skiing and he occasionally takes on consulting assignments regarding fisheries and water policy.
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.
Hunting and Fishing Media: Measuring the impact on our natural resources and the places we hunt and fish
Join Moderator Hilary Hutcheson, Ryan Callaghan, Andrew McKean, Randy Newberg, and Greg Lemon as they discuss the possible implications of Hunting and Fishing Media on the places we hunt and fish
Live BHA Podcast & Blast with Hal Herring
Recent News from the Wyoming Corner Crossing Case
Hal and Guests Eric Hanson, and Sawyer Connelly wil look at recent happenings in the Wyoming corner crossing legal case, as well as a discussion of legality of corner crossing in other states.
BHA Senior Leadership Panel
BHA Senior Leadership Discuss Current Happenings and the Future of BHA
Join BHA Leadership in a live Q&A discussion of BHA