Conservation

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Unite in Oklahoma

On Thursday February 7th at 5:00 pm, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers will host its second Pint Night event in Oklahoma at Bricktown Brewery on Brookside, 3301 S. Peoria Ave. Tulsa, OK 74105. 

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) held its first Oklahoma Pint Night on Wednesday, November 29, 2018, at the Eatery and Cocktail Office @ the Union in Oklahoma City.  In attendance with approximately 100 Oklahoman’s were BHA’s very own President and CEO, Land Tawney, Managing Director of the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife (OWD), J.D. Strong, as well as additional OWD Staffers and one Kansas resident.  Many had driven hours to attend the event.  So you may be thinking to yourself, why would Oklahoma need a chapter for BHA, there is no backcountry in Oklahoma?  While Oklahoma isn’t known for its backcountry like other states such as Colorado or Montana, you might be surprised to learn Oklahoma has approximately 1.3 million acres of Public Land.  In addition, each of us, as Americans, own roughly 640 million acres in this great nation. Public Land lies in the heart of BHA’s mission, as its members serve to protect our heritage of hunting and fishing for its owners; you and me.

Actual Mission Statement:  Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America’s outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

Not to go to deep into BHA’s history as this information can be readily found on their website (backcountryhunters.org) but it was formed by a small group of individuals around a campfire in Oregon in 2004.  Membership has now grown to over 30,000 members spread out across all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories, including chapters in 39 states and two international chapters in Alberta and British Columbia.  Some more well-known members include Steven Rinella from Meat Eater and Randy Newberg, host of Leupold’s Fresh Tracks to name a few.  It is also Partnered with the likes of Yeti, Sitka Gear and many others.

Perhaps you’re still asking yourself, why does this matter to me?  I would ask you, have ever gone hiking, camping, fishing, boating, canoeing, rafting, running, walking or any other outdoor activity in a public area on lands or waters that are not owned by you?  Then you have used public lands.   Like me at one point in my life, I am guessing you have never thought about; How did these lands become public?  Who manages and funds these lands?  How is it that my fellow Oklahomans and I can enjoy them freely?  And what prevents these lands from being developed and/or sold?

I became interested in BHA and joined around 2 years ago.  My reasons were because I supported the mission of protecting public lands and its access and not just for my own purposes.  As a hunter, fisherman, hiker and camper I have enjoyed public lands from California’s Coastal Redwoods to Kentucky’s Smoky Mountains.  Like many of you I have grown up with access to private lands, however there are many more Americans without this privilege.  I want to protect this opportunity, the habitat, and the wildlife within it, for myself, others and future generations to come so that they too can have the same opportunities, and hopefully more and better ones.  It’s a unique and rare luxury that we have as Americans and is unlike anywhere else in the world and I, for one, don’t want to lose it.  Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that our hunting and fishing heritage is consistently under attack as you can see in various media outlets.  We as outdoors men and women as well as citizens of this state and nation must do our part to be a positive influence in this arena in order to prevent losing our rights and protect this heritage.  This is the foundation that BHA is built upon.

Just before the first Pint Night we had a conference call to begin the formation of Oklahoma’s very own chapter of BHA.  We appointed leadership consisting of a Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and 7 board members.  All of which are like minded and passionate about Oklahoma, its hunting and fishing opportunities as well as other states.   In the coming months we will be making a push to grow this Chapter and become official through the national organization.  We will be hosting additional Pint Nights in other cities as well as other events and opportunities.  We welcome everyone, not just hunters and anglers, to come out and get to know us, our passion and get involved with our mission to protect our lands, waters and wildlife.  We hope you will attend an event and join us in our mission.

For more information on BHA please visit the National BHA website backcountryhunters.org, the National and/or Oklahoma Facebook pages.  You may also contact the author at theeightpoint@gmail.com.

About the Author:
Daniel Scott is a Hunter, Angler, Hiker and Camper, a Passionate Public Land Owner and Board Member of Oklahoma’s Chapter of BHA.  Follow me on Instagram @theeightpoint

 

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