Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is announcing a reward aimed at stopping lawbreakers who disturb public land, water and wildlife on motor vehicles such as All-Terrain Vehicles.
“All-terrain vehicles are popular and powerful tools, with a valid place on our nationalforests,” said Jim Akenson, executive director. “However, these tools are too often abused, impacting habitat and hunting opportunities.”
For several years, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers has offered rewards to people who report people who drive behind gates, vandalize the land or harass wildlife on all-terrain vehicles. The BHA board recently reauthorized this fund.
“We need motorized access to our public lands, but at the same time we need habitat totally separate from the noise and disturbance that comes with motor vehicles,” Akenson said. “When people drive behind closed gates, shoot from vehicles or trespass on private land, it gives all hunters a black eye. We need to police our own ranks.
” Following the law benefits both outdoorsmen who use ATVs responsibly and those who prefer traditional hike-in hunting or hunting with stock, he said.
BHA offers a reward up to $1000 for information that leads to the conviction of any one abusing land or water open to public hunting or fishing. For example, in the past, the BHA reward went to a Montana hunter who used a remote trail camera to document illegal riding in protected big game habitat. Another BHA member in Montana reported an outfitter who was illegally shuttling clients into a non-motorized area with a helicopter, prompting the outfitter to stop this practice.
Akenson urged anyone seeing illegal behavior this hunting season to record all pertinent information and pass it on to a state game warden or national forest law enforcement officer.
“Responsible riding means recognizing that there are some places our machines do not belong,” said BHA Conservation Director Holly Endersby. “Our land, water and wildlife belong to all of us and need to be used carefully and respectfully.”
Learn more:. Please download the new whitepaper PDF on the Biological Impacts of Poorly Managed ATV Traffic on Land, Water and Wildlife