Public Lands Hunters, Anglers Receive BHA Top Honors




News for Immediate Release
May 1, 2018
Contact: Katie McKalip, 406-240-9262, [email protected]


Outstanding sportsmen and women recognized for conservation leadership
at BHA North American Rendezvous


MISSOULA, Mont. – At Backcountry Hunters & Anglers’ 7th annual North American Rendezvous, public lands sportsmen and women were awarded BHA’s greatest honors, recognizing above-and-beyond efforts to conserve important fish and wildlife habitat, support public access opportunities to great places to hunt and fish, and uphold ethical practices afield. The 2018 honorees follow:

BHA’s Jim Posewitz Award for Ethical Hunting and Fishing recognizes outstanding ethical behavior in the field and the education of the outdoor public on the importance of ethical behavior. Eric Nuse, currently executive director of Orion – The Hunter’s Institute, received the 2018 award.

“Eric Nuse is a deserving and fitting recipient of the Jim Posewitz Award, his work carrying many of the principles championed by ‘Poz,’” said Randy Newberg in presenting the 2018 award to Nuse. “Eric’s influence is found among the many new hunters who benefited from his work as director of the Vermont Hunter Education Program and his time as executive director of the International Hunter Education Association. His mark on landscapes and conservation is also seen from his career as a game warden, his service as executive director of Orion – The Hunters Institute, and his role as a leader of the New England Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.”

The Ted Trueblood Award is presented by BHA for exceptional communications work informing and inspiring people for the benefit of public lands, waters and wildlife. The 2018 Trueblood Award recipient is Kris Millgate, a journalist, photographer, videographer and owner of Tight Line Media.

“Some days Kris works in an edit bay creating award-winning films. Other days she hikes into the backcountry to collar grizzly bears, count bald eagles and catch native fish,” said Katie McKalip, BHA communications director. “She’s a fly fisher, ultra trail runner, hockey coach and dedicated mother to her two young sons. She’s also writing a book. Throughout it all, her determination – and her sense of humor – is relentless.”

BHA’s Aldo Leopold Award is given for exceptional work and dedication to the conservation of wildlife habitat. The 2018 Leopold award was presented to Bill Hanlon. Hanlon has spent the last 30 years fighting for and advocating to preserve habitat for wildlife, including, notably, founding the Hornaday Wilderness Society as well as participating in numerous multi-stakeholder resource management efforts.

“Just a few years ago, Bill and I discussed starting a BHA chapter in British Columbia,” said BHA British Columbia chapter treasurer Sam Medcalf. “Bill stated, ‘It’s going to be a lot of work, and it will take a sparkplug to get this chapter going.’ That sparkplug ended up being Bill, and he has done a phenomenal job of getting the BC chapter established – and helping it grow across the province.”

The Sigurd F. Olson Award recognizes outstanding effort in the conservation of rivers, lakes or wetland habitat. Stream and riparian biologist Bill Platts is the recipient of the 2018 award. In addition to significant career accomplishments with Idaho Fish and Game and the U.S. Forest Service, the Idaho native continues to hike to remote mountain lakes, is an avid turkey, chukar and big game hunter and participates very successfully as a Senior Olympian.

“At 90 years old, Dr. Platts continues to publish peer-reviewed papers detailing healthy riparian zones for wild fish and wildlife,” said BHA Idaho chapter board member Jeff Barney. “In fact, he has published more than 260 such professional papers throughout his decades-long career.”

The 2018 George Bird Grinnell Award for outstanding BHA chapter of the year was presented to BHA’s Minnesota chapter.

“The Minnesota chapter epitomizes everything BHA stands for: rapid growth, hard work and boots on the ground efforts to conserve our public lands and waters,” said BHA Great Lakes Chapter Coordinator Jason Meekhof. “Chapter members are working diligently to help safeguard the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness as well as protect state lands from ill-conceived no net gain legislation. Through their focused efforts they have proven to be a strong growing voice for hunters, anglers and other public lands users in Minnesota.”

The Larry Fischer Award honors the memory and contributions of a longtime BHA board member by recognizing exceptional dedication by a business to BHA’s mission. Rep Your Water is the recipient of the 2018 award. Owners Garrison and Corinne Doctor came to the stage to accept the award in Boise.

“In addition to being all around good people with an undeniable artistic talent, Garrison and Corinne Doctor have built bridges with their customers and numerous conservation groups through innovation and hard work,” said Tim Brass, BHA state policy and field operations director. “From designing collaborative merchandise for BHA and headlining a public lands rally in Denver to promoting our policy work and now helping plan a ‘Deer, Beer & Gear’ fundraiser at their airport hangar office space, they’ve gone above and beyond meeting the financial minimums of our growing corporate partnership program – all while also directing $27,300 to support the work of our chapters since 2015.”

Last but not least, the Mike Beagle-Chairman’s Award is bestowed to an individual who shows outstanding effort on behalf of BHA. The award is named after Beagle, a BHA founder who launched BHA “around an Oregon campfire” in 2004. The 2018 recipient of the award is former BHA national board chair Ben Long.

“Ben Long couldn’t be more deserving of the Mike Beagle Chairman’s Award,” said Land Tawney, BHA president and CEO. “Ben dedicated a good portion of his life to BHA when there was question of whether the organization would even persist. Through thoughtful and dedicated leadership, Ben not only helped us through some tough times; he also helped launch the rocket ship that is BHA today. Hats off and a big backcountry high five to my friend and colleague!”

BHA’s 2018 North American Rendezvous drew thousands to Boise, Idaho, where sportsmen leaders, innovative outdoors companies and grassroots hunters, anglers and others united in support of public lands outdoor opportunities and traditions. Downtown Boise took on the feel of a very large and friendly hunting camp April 12-14 as BHA members and supporters attended seminars, participated in leadership trainings and reveled.

Numerous companies stepped up to support BHA’s 7th annual North American Rendezvous. Platinum corporate partners include Filson, First Lite, Kimber, Leupold, onXmaps, Savage Arms, Seek Outside, Sitka, Under Armour, Vortex Optics and YETI. Gold corporate partners include Benchmade Knives, Camp Chef, Rep Your Water, Weatherby and Wilderness Athlete.

Dates and location of BHA’s 2019 North American Rendezvous are forthcoming. Check out the BHA #Rende2018 photo gallery.

 Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the sportsmen’s voice
for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.


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