Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 20th Anniversary Project

In the Fall of 2023, Leif Fredrickson’s History of Hunting class completed a public history project about the history of the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA). The BHA is a national, rapidly-growing organization based in Missoula. Its focus is on organizing grassroots (often young) hunters to advocate for ecosystem health, public lands, and fair chase. Founded in 2004, the group was coming up on its 20-year anniversary in 2024 and were eager to work with UM students to research and interpret the history of the organization. The class met with BHA staff and discussed possibilities for a project, including current and former members that students could conduct oral histories with. While some students conducted these oral histories, other students researched the history of the BHA and its policies in newspapers, reports and other sources. Students then collaborated on themes and a timeline, and ultimatley brought their researcch and ideas together in an interactive timeline of the BHA. The class presented their project to staff from the BHA, who are currently using it to develop materials for the 20th anniversary.