Rendezvous 2024 Recap: Making Moves in Minneapolis

Every year our annual Rendezvous is a time for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers members, chapter leaders, staff, corporate partners, and anyone who's interested in what the voice for our public lands, waters, and wildlife has to say.

This year we journeyed out of the Northern Rockies for the first time ever, hosting Rendezvous in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The wildly successful event drew members and supporters from across the continent to celebrate their shared passion for conservation and advocacy for public lands, waters, and wildlife on behalf of hunters, anglers, and outdoor enthusiasts. 

Wild Game Cookoff

The Wild Game Cookoff judges weigh Missouri's offerings

The 2024 Wild Game Cookoff had big shoes to fill. Each year, our chapters put on a show involving locally foraged and harvested ingredients from their state, including wild game, mushrooms, edible plants, and more. This year, our chapters connected policy issues to their dishes, a conservation relationship that hunters, anglers, and foragers are more and more aware of as they go out to reap the bounties of the wild each year.

The Minnesota Chapter prepares their wild rice and 10,000 lakes inspired dish

Our corporate partner Jetboil provided stellar cookware and stoves for this event, allowing our chefs to create more ambitious dishes than ever before. And BHA staffers Devin O'Dea and Dre Arman really took the "cooking show but make it conservation" goal of the Wild Game Cookoff to heart, showing off each chapter's delightfully plated and created wild game courses.

Congratulations to the Washington Chapter for taking home the Red Stag Trophy this year!

Training New Leaders in Conservation

Chapter leaders pick up new tips and tricks

A key concept at Rendezvous is bringing new and old conservation tactics to our chapter leaders. Part of this learning process can be as basic as administrative functionality at the chapter level, but without a strong grounding in best practices, it's tough to go out and change the world. BHA staff ran through presentations on digital media skills and tools to bring chapter engagement to the next level, working with elected officials, and keeping chapters abreast of how they can raise hell for conservation.

Welcome One, Welcome All

The Rendezvous Maple Amber Ale from Unmapped Brewing

We make a point at Backcountry Hunters & Anglers to make conservation a blast. We teamed up with Unmapped Brewing to create a Rendezvous beer this year just for that purpose! 

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz made an appearance at Unmapped Brewing for our Welcome Ceremony

At our Welcome Ceremony, Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz made an appearance to commend the work BHA has been doing for public access, hunting, and fishing in the state. BHA is dedicated to making our public lands, waters, and wildlife the best they can be, and engaging with decision makers by showing them what we're all about is a great way to keep those public assets top of mind!

Seminars, Seminars, Seminars

CEOs of BHA, Ruffed Grouse Society/American Woodcock Society, Pheasants Forever, and Quail Forever speak in a panel moderated by former BHA Board Chair Ted Koch

A broad swathe of the conservation community made it to Rendezvous this year, and some of the guiding lights were called upon to impart their knowledge.

Jackie Fallon, of the Minnesota Falconers Association, and a hunting kestrel

This was the year to learn how to go about a do-it-yourself Alaska caribou hunt, using the entire animal as per Ryan Callaghan's instruction, understanding how you, a hunter or angler, can make a difference for the backcountry in the halls of government with Ben Long, or learning from Gaspar Perricone how to gear up to fight against anti-hunters who are trying to oust science-based wildlife management.

Every Rendezvous is an opportunity to learn, and this year we picked up some knowledge that we'll be putting to use very soon.

Field to Table: A Roaring Fire

The view from inside the Kjos barn on Field to Table Eve

On April 18th, BHA took their 8th annual Field to Table dinner to the midwest for the first time. Made possible by presenting sponsors Benchmade and Dometic, we hosted 72 guests at the Kjos Barn in Webster, Minnesota. As usual, we enjoyed good music, good company, and of course, good food while celebrating our accomplishments and those yet to come.

Waterfowl Giblet Pate Deviled Egg with Caper Mignonette from Pete and Greg Kvale and Emily Cohill

Andouille & Blues: Smoked Tomato Etouffee - A cajun stew of blue or "dusky" grouse, made with elk bone broth, smoked tomatoes and spices. Served over a savory waffle and garnished with elk andouille, elk prosciutto, creme fraiche, and holy trinity jam (peppers, onions & celery with Chippewa National Forest map syrup and spices)

Parsnip Cake with Brown Butter-Angostura Frosting & Goose Fat Caramel Sauce

We owe tremendous thanks as well to our participating sponsors, Planetary Design, Sextant Wines, Dry Fly Distillery, and Unmapped Brewing and auction donors, Bill Hanlon, Tony Vandemore, Jim Harrington, Bryan McGinty, Chris Parrish, and Lee Kjos. Generous donations for the dinner were also made by Weatherby. A final thank you to BHA Stewardship Coordinator, Bard Edrington V, for providing the best tunes for the night. Without them, this dinner would not have been possible!

Photography courtesy of Arrows North Outdoors, Kylee Burleigh, and Matt Lee. 

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