BHA members span political spectrum but unite around public lands and waters
MISSOULA, Mont. – Public lands sportsmen and women are politically diverse and strongly united in support of North American lands and waters, the annual survey of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers reveals, depicting a membership that is overwhelmingly young, active and engaged in issues affecting fish and wildlife, conservation and public access.
BHA members are likely to be young – 70 percent of members are 45 or younger – and passionate users of public lands and waters who rely on wild harvested game and fish to fill their freezers. They are rooted in family – more than 60 percent have kids – and committed to public service (14 percent are military service members or veterans, twice the U.S. average).
Politically, BHA members span the spectrum, illustrating the universal importance of public lands and waters, said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney.
“During a U.S. election season defined by partisan fractiousness, BHA members show how public lands and waters have the power to unite a constituency,” said Tawney. “Public lands and waters don’t care what color your skin is, what political party you belong to, or how much money is in your pocket. They belong to all of us. Together, we can ensure that our unique conservation legacy is passed down to future generations better than when we inherited it.”
BHA survey results include these highlights:
- Political diversity: 28 percent of respondents are Independents, 23 percent are Republicans, 18 percent are Democrats, 6 percent are Libertarians and 1 percent are Green. (Twenty-three percent identify as “none of the above” or declined to answer the question.)
- Youth: 70 percent of respondents are younger than 45, 15 percent are 45-54, 9 percent are 55-64 and 6 percent are 65 or older.
- Public lands reliant: 27 percent of respondents spend 100 percent of their time afield on public lands and waters. Fifty-nine percent spend at least half of their time afield on public lands and waters.
- Politically active: 85 percent of respondents took action (e.g. called their members of Congress, wrote a letter) in support of the recent passage of the Great American Outdoors Act.
- Wild game: 35 percent of respondents source at least half their diets from wild game or wild harvested foods.
- Serve their country: 14 percent (twice the U.S. average) are active duty military or veterans.
More than 23,000 BHA members received the 2020 membership survey, and 7,099 responded, an impressive response rate of 30 percent. BHA’s total membership is 40,000-plus, and the online community of BHA supporters exceeds 385,000. BHA has established chapters in 48 states, 2 Canadian provinces and one territory, and Washington, D.C., and BHA members are located all over the world.
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for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife.
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