Throughout 2023, the Volunteer State BHA chapter had a ton of fun while making an exceptional impact on conservation! We hunted hard together, but more importantly spent time cleaning up our shared woods and waters. We partnered more extensively than ever before with the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and other conservation groups in the state to create a wide spread impact!
We look forward to hosting more habitat-focused volunteering events, more frequent get-togethers and expanding our growing ecosystem of partners and sponsors. Join us as we grow and continue to focus on preserving Tennessee’s unique recreational opportunities on our public lands, waters, and wild places!
Here is a breakdown of how the TN Chapter spent 2023 making a difference.
January – Percy Priest WMA Cleanup
- A group of BHA TN members partnered with local WMA manager Mark Vance to clean up targeted problem areas at Percy Priest. This led to more ad hoc volunteer opportunities throughout the year, and helped us further establish our good reputation with the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency.
February – Guthrie Prairie Cleanup
- BHA TN members volunteered to help the Southeastern Grasslands Institute clean up a newly acquired property—the Guthrie Prairie, a specimen of the endangered Pennyroyal Plain Wet Prairie community.
February –SB 621 Activism
- Our Chapter Board planned and implemented a letter writing and phone calling campaign speaking out against SB 621, which would have decriminalized baiting in our state, with negative repercussions for CWD management. The bill was ultimately rejected by the State Senate.
Throughout Spring – TWRA Turkey and Deer Stakeholder Groups
Multiple BHA TN Board Members participated in a consultative capacity at deep dive TWRA meetings designed to inform future deer and turkey conservation policy and regulations. Our participation was coordinated to represent both BHA and the public land hunter.
April – Percy Priest WMA Wood Duck Box Set-up
- A group of BHA TN members assisted our local Percy Priest WMA manager with setting up wood duck boxes in a protected area. We look forward to more habitat projects in the future.
June – Red River Float Clean Up
- BHA TN members partnered with the TWRA to clean up sections of the Duck River that had been badly abused, removing a score of bags of trash from the area, on a hot, high traffic day!
August - Old Hickory Bow Club
- BHA TN hosted a bow tournament at Old Hickory Bow Club, located on the Northeast side of Nashville.
September - LBL Deer Camp
- The BHA TN Board hosted a deer camp, attended by members from all three of the state’s Grand Divisions. This event not only brought attention to the Land Between the Lakes Recreation area, but also encouraged participation in state events from new members.
- September – Fort Campbell Public Lands Day
- Members of the BHA TN board had a booth at the Fort Campbell Public Lands Day festival, bringing attention to conservation issues among the military personnel and their families stationed there.
- October – McMinnville Street Fair
- BHA TN had a booth here, hoping to bring awareness to public land access issues in a part of the state with few WMAs and related public land outdoor-recreation opportunities
- We continued to deepen our relationship with The Tennessee Wildlife Federation, partnering on several initiatives throughout the year and leveraging our membership base to push the needle on some key topics within the state.
- Looking back, we have significantly increased our presence and interaction with the TWRA in Middle Tennessee, which is a significant accomplishment in a year that did not see any/many legislative fights about conservation issues
- Accomplished Objectives and Goals
- This year, our Board set a goal of hosting more events and using them to better understand how we can serve and grow our members. Compared to 2022, we hosted 2x more hunts, held more consistent monthly pint nights and had 9 events, about 4 more than last year. We also began to understand that our members would like us to bring them habitat projects, how-to-hunt discussions and work to better represents our state’s anglers, while continuing to host hunts as a vehicle to socialize.
- We began to leverage text blasts for quick reminders about upcoming events as an additional channel of communications.
- We as a chapter increased our presence on social media as well as email communications with even more aggressive goals planned for 2024.
- Future Objectives & Goals
- Obtain state-level sponsors
- Host monthly coffee chats
- Host high value pint nights in East and West TN
- Continue hosting hunting opportunities
- In addition to hunts and pint nights, host additional events that create opportunities for grassroot stewardship projects, engagement, and all out fun!