Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Reveals Their Radical Side


Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA), a deceptively named environmentalist group, has exposed its true, radical intentions by proposing extreme restrictions for anglers, boaters, and others in Montana.

The proposal, called the “Quiet Waters Initiative,” seeks to restrict motorized watercraft on over 50 Montana waterways. An article in the Independent Record states:

“BHA presents recommendations to drastically restrict waterways without demonstrating any necessity to protect public health, public safety, public welfare, or to protect property and public resources,” [Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks] FWP says in agenda materials.

"The initiative claims safety concerns, yet Montana already has laws against operating a vessel in a reckless or negligent manner, and the initiative’s name implies it is primarily focused on eliminating the noise engines produce, the agency [FWP] says."

Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is identified as a “green decoy” group because of its deceptive title. Its name appears to be friendly to hunters, sportsmen and firearms enthusiasts, but behind the outdoorsy name is a group funded by leftist foundations and environmentalists, with goals very different than those supported by true hunters, anglers and sportsmen. The research website, “Activist Facts,” points out:

“BHA represents itself as good-ole-boy outdoorsmen who simply want to hunt and fish and be left alone. But don’t be fooled. As evidenced by both its sources of funding and current leadership, BHA is nothing more than a big green activist organization pushing a radical environmentalist agenda.”

Activist Facts identifies BHA’s largest funding sources as the Western Conservation Foundation (WCF), which in 2011 and 2012 donated $278,423 to BHA. WCF has given to other known far-left radical groups including Earth Justice and the Tides Foundation. BHA also receives donations from the Wilburforce Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, and several other foundations known for their extremist ideological leanings.

Land Tawny, the director of BHA, is also a leftist operative who ran the liberal political action committee (PAC) with an equally-deceptive name, “Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund (MHA),” which, according to Activist Facts: 

…spent $1.1 million against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Danny Rehberg, who was challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. [Land Tawny’s PAC] also spent $500,000 in support of the libertarian candidate as a strategy of drawing votes away from the Republican. MHA received several hundred thousand dollars from the League of Conservation Voters, a liberal environmentalist group.”

Given the radical environmentalist roots and affiliations of BHA, it’s not surprising that they lobby hard against local government in favor of continued federal control of public lands, water, and resources. In its attempt to deceive and frighten Americans into embracing federal control of public lands, BHA spreads false narratives such as:

  • State and local control of public lands will limit access for hunters and sportsmen
  • Public lands transfer will result in sell-off and privatization of public lands

Not only are these talking points untrue, they’re nearly opposite of the truth. The facts show that the federal government regularly auctions off public lands, and restrictions to public lands are enacted regularly by federal agencies.

By proposing extreme restrictions on boating, fishing, and other outdoor activities on Montana’s rivers, lakes and streams, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has ironically revealed its radical identity. This green decoy’s true goals are increased restrictions, decreased access, and decreased freedom for everyone on America’s public lands. 





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  • Jennifer Erickson
    commented 2017-02-06 00:12:14 -0700
    Tuesday 31 January 2017

    A new bill introduced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Republican from Utah, would dispose of 3.3 million acres of America’s shared national public lands. Lands in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming would be affected. The bill comes days after the House passed a rules package that makes such land seizure plans easier to execute. Explaining the new bill on his website, Rep. Chaffetz claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.

    The federal land that these 10 states lose would be set aside for mixed use: oil, gas and timber.

    This land is currently open to campers, cyclists and other outdoor enthusiasts as well as providing corridors for gray wolves and grizzly bears, and winter pasture for big game species, such as elk, pronghorn and big-horned sheep.

    Jason Amaro, who represents the south-west chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, describes the move as a land grab.

    “Last I checked, hunters and fishermen were taxpayers,” said Amaro, who lives in a New Mexico county where 70,000 acres of federal lands are singled out. In total, his state, which sees $650m in economic activity from hunting and fishing, stands to lose 800,000 acres of BLM land, or more than the state of Rhode Island.

    “That word ‘disposal’ is scary. It’s not ‘disposable’ for an outdoorsman,” Jason Amaro said.

    Scott Groene, a Utah conservationist, said the state’s elected officials were trying to “seize public lands any way they can”, without providing Americans a chance to weigh in. If residents knew their local BLM land was being threatened, said Groene, “I’m sure the communities would be shocked”.

    A representative for the interior department, Mike Pool, who weighed in on a version of the bill in 2011, said selling those 3.3m acres “would be unlikely to generate revenue”.

    A Republican conservation group in Utah likened it at the time to “selling the house to pay the light bill”.

    Perhaps the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers wasn’t spreading false narratives such as: public lands transfer will result in sell-off and privatization of public lands
  • Clifford Strieby
    commented 2016-06-02 15:38:17 -0600
    Oh and here’s a link to the entire waterway recommendation from the BHA read the whole thing not just the sound bites.
  • Clifford Strieby
    commented 2016-06-02 15:35:04 -0600
    First of all you claim to be bipartisan but you use a groups support of a Democrat as ammunition…hmm doesn’t sound bi-partisan to me.

    Second you are misrepresenting the BHA initiative which is to restrict motorized travel on waters where it has previously not been accepted by the local population or even accepted as possible. They are not restricting areas which have been being used by motorized craft. That’s kind of like not allowing an ATV/OHV to simply drive across a field of sage brush. Doesn’t sound extreme to me.

    Third, if the BHA is a liberal extremist organization opposed to hunters and anglers then why is it endorsed by people like Steve Rinella and Randy Newberg both major players, fixtures in the hunting community. While the BHA is run by ranchers, logging representatives, and Ken Ivory who used tax payer money to lobby for seizure of public lands.

    LAstly the federal government does sell land, mostly what could be defined as “Real Property” meaning developed areas such as former military bases, etc. but since 1976 the BLM has had a Congressional mandate against selling public land and exceptions to that have been very rare. Meanwhile states sell land like crazy ie Nevada has sold all but 3,000 of its original 2.7 million acres of state trust lands and Utah has sold roughly 4 million of its original 7.5 million acres.

    Don’t be fooled by this incorrect report, the ALC is yet another example not of true conservatives but of conservative extremism sweeping the west in the wake of individuals who would exploit public lands for their own purposes. I am a conservative, but I dare not tie my name to this group. Do some research, see for yourself.