Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) is a national organization that seeks to ensure the North American outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting. The group offers educational opportunities as well as advocacy on behalf of wild public lands and waters for everyone to access and enjoyment.

The freedom to hunt and fish depends on habitat. While many of us enjoy hunting and fishing on a range of landscapes, including farm fields and reservoirs, there is something special, incredibly special, about hunting deep in the backcountry or fishing on a remote river. Sometimes the true test is just getting t the location, not necessarily about finding game or fish.

Now, more than ever before, we all need wild lands: places to rekindle the fire at the heart of the human soul. As Americans become more and more reliant on motorized equipment and technology we become more disconnected from the natural world. There are cherished wild places that restore our spirits and provide the solace of solitude. Those places where we go to challenge ourselves in pursuit of adventure and game. It is more that just access for hunting and fishing, even public lands for hiking and camping can be difficult to locate and hard to protect from encroaching urban sprawl.

“This country has been swinging the hammer of development so long and so hard that it has forgotten the anvil of wilderness which gave value and significance to its labors. The momentum of our blows is so unprecedented that the remaining remnant of wilderness will be pounded into road-dust long before we find out its values.”  Aldo Leopold, 1935.

BHA works to protect three aspects of the outdoor experience: access and opportunity, public lands and waters, and fair chase. BHA is also engaged in informing sportsmen about, and expanding, existing access opportunities to hunt, fish and recreate in the backcountry. This is all part of prioritizing the conservation of all public lands and waters, the protection of valuable habitat, and the implementation of responsible land management policies for the enjoyment of all.

 There are active BHA chapters in almost every US state as well as Canadian provinces and territories that seek to protect outdoor opportunities on a local level. Recently I was able to meet with a number of BHA members here in New York State at a local gathering at a craft brewery. The opportunity to meet with other members and to learn about the state and local efforts to conserve healthy wild habitat was an enjoyable and educational experience. It is important, as the state legislature is increasingly dominated by urban voices without a connection to the land, to advocate for public land and water conservation funding. It is equally important to work for access for all to public lands and waters. Every citizen and taxpayer is a “public land owner” and we all deserve the opportunity to enjoy that land.

For more information on BHA, go to the website: