Backcountry Hunters & Anglers organize a “Rendez-vous” at Fort Missoula
MISSOULA – The annual meeting of the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is outdoors and in person this year, the BHA North American Rendezvous in Fort Missoula.
With a history dating back only to 2004, the Missoula-headquartered nonprofit now has chapters in nearly every state and across Canada. Membership is skyrocketing. In 2015, around 2,000 were members, now the number stands at around 40,000.
BHA CEO Land Tawney told MTN News the event signaled a “resurrection” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“People are ready to start dating in Montana, in other places, because they care about what we’re doing,” Tawney said.
The organization is non-partisan, its membership accounts show a uniform distribution between political orientations.
The unifying aspect – continuing the legacy of natural landscapes in North America through education and advocacy.
“We own 640 million acres in this country. In Montana, public lands are a way of life. So if you get injured, fishing, kayaking, this is the place to be right now. Let’s make sure we have public lands and public waters for everyone in perpetuity, ”Tawney said.
BHA holds gatherings every year to educate about the hinterland with workshops and seminars.
Activities like a bison breakdown, the deconstruction of an entire buffalo led by members of the Blackfeet tribe, take place during the event.
Rachel Schmidt, Director of Innovative Alliances at BHA, was one of the main organizers of the event. She said the group was not just made up of people who fish and hunt.
“We have a lot of people who maybe don’t fish a lot, they really like to go looking for mushrooms and things like that, so you know we really like standing up for the legacy of hunting and angling, sure, but it’s a really great bunch of people, ”Schmidt explained.
Members visited Montana from all over for the event, from Florida to British Columbia to Canada, and yes here in Montana too. Tickets can be purchased at the event which runs through Saturday with virtual options included. For more information, visit backcountryhunters.org.