Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
One of the latest fronts in Big Green’s spider web
At a Glance
Environmentalist activism is the name of the game at BHA, and hunters and anglers are just the camouflage. BHA has received hundreds of thousands of dollars from environmentalist groups, and BHA executive director Land Tawney has a history of liberal election activism.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (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.
When looking at BHA’s funding sources, it’s easy to forget they have anything to do with hunting and fishing at all. All of its primary donors have extensive ties to environmental activist organizations.
The largest donor is the Western Conservation Foundation, which gave $278,423 to BHA in 2011 and 2012 alone. WCF has given handsomely over the years to notorious environmentalists and animal rights activists, including the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Audubon Society, Earthjustice (the self-proclaimed “law firm of the environment”), and Climate Solutions, a major proponent of “global warming.” It has also contributed large sums to the Tides Center, funder of all things leftist. It’s hard to imagine Western Conservation Foundation would donate over a quarter of a million dollars to Backcountry Hunters and Anglers if it wasn’t an organization that shared those same ideological beliefs.
The next largest donor to BHA is the Wilburforce Foundation. From 2009 to 2013, Wilburforce gave a total of $110,000 to BHA for a variety of purposes. As with the Western Conservation Foundation, Wilburforce gives heavily to other notorious environmentalists, including the Environmental Law Institute, the Sierra Foundation, and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Wilburforce’s executive director, Tim Greyhavens, previously worked for the Humane Society of the United States, a vegan activist organization with a PETA-like agenda. BHA also received a $69,000 donation in 2012 from Pew Charitable Trusts, which is famous for its ideological tilt. Other donors include the New Venture Fund ($30,000 total), Conservation Lands Foundation ($26,000 total), Lazar Foundation ($25,000 total), and The Brainerd Foundation ($8,000 total), whose mission is “to safeguard the environment and build broad citizen support for environmental protection.” As with WCF and Wilburforce, each of these organizations have deep connections with the environmental movement, which raises suspicions as to what BHA’s motivations truly are.
Not only do BHA’s primary donors have extensive ties to the environmentalist movement, but its leadership does as well. A number of top executives and board members currently work or previously worked for notorious environmental activists.
Most prominent is BHA executive director Land Tawney, who ran the liberal political action committee (PAC) calling itself the “Montana Hunters and Anglers Leadership Fund” (MHA). In 2012, this pop-up PAC spent $1.1 million against Republican U.S. Senate candidate Danny Rehberg, who was challenging Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester. The liberal MHA 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. Tawney is also a member of the Montana Sportsmen for Obama Committee and previously served as the National Grassroots Coordinator for the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, which, like BHA, is an environmentalist front that poses as a hunter and fisher group.
Taken together, BHA’s funding sources and leadership make clear that the interests of hunters and anglers are the least of their concerns. Environmentalist activism is the name of the game at BHA, and hunters and anglers are just the facade.