Newly formed Backcountry Hunters and Anglers chapter aims to connect Orediggers with outdoor experiences


Nearly 87% of Montanans self-reported as outdoor recreation enthusiasts in a recent Headwaters Economics poll, and a new club on the Montana Tech campus is hoping to add to that tally, by minting new outdoors people who confidently hike, hunt, fish, and more on public lands.

Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) is an organization that advocates for public land access in North America. Many BHA members are like Montana Tech’s club president Gavin Rahl and vice president Johannes Chandler, who grew up enjoying the outdoors.

A student shows off a trout

“I prefer to be outdoors, hiking or hunting,” Rahl said. “It’s where I find my most zen and peace.”

Chandler prefers fly fishing or antelope hunting. Both are passionate about helping Orediggers connect with the outdoors.

Montana Tech BHA group photo

“BHA creates an avenue for people who don’t have previous connections,” Chandler said. “It’s for students who have been hunting or fishing since they were five or haven’t even thought about it, and want to try something new. It’s open to everybody, even if you aren’t a hunter or a fisher, and you are passionate about the outdoors and public land. A common misconception is that it’s not for everybody, but we want everyone to be involved.”

There are millions of acres of public land in Montana and thousands of miles of rivers and streams, but if you don’t know about access, laws, and the tools to get to those places, it can be very difficult to explore.

“We want to provide education for students who might not know the area very well, and who aren’t as experienced,” Chandler said.

Montana Tech BHA would like to hold sessions on properly using gear, harvesting animals, and applying for hunting and recreation tags in the state.

The club also wants to participate in volunteer opportunities that improve public land.

“We are in the middle of an application cycle for a tree planting grant for some wetlands area around Butte,” Rahl said. “I previously volunteered through BHA at the Mount Haggin Wildlife Management area to pull fences so animals like elk and deer don’t get caught in barbed wire.”

A wild game potluck, an introduction to tracking wildlife, and other events are planned for later in the semester. The group recently participated in Brawl of the Wild on Ice, an educational event where students from Montana Tech, MSU and UM went ice fishing together.

To join BHA, email

Contact Us