Land Tawney - Energetic & Optimistic

Land Tawney is the President and CEO of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, one of North America’s leading and most effective advocates for wild public lands, waters, and wildlife. Founded around a campfire in 2004, BHA uses education, nonpartisan political advocacy, stewardship initiatives, and stakeholder coalitions to ensure the protection of our public lands for generations to come. As its name implies, BHA is an organization that works on behalf of sportsmen, but you don’t have to be a hardcore hunter or fisherman to benefit from its work. I’m a lot of things, but a hardcore hunter is not one of them– yet, I’m a proud member of BHA and a super-fan of all that it has accomplished.


Land was born and raised in Montana, the son of two highly respected conservationists who instilled in him a deep reverence for wild places and the importance of protecting them. From an early age, Land was hunting, fishing, and spending time around his parents’ friends and colleagues, many of whom were well-known, renowned conservationists. When Land was in college, his father passed away, which fortified his desire to devote all of his professional energy to conserving the wild places that have always meant so much to his family. After successful stints at several notable conservation organizations, Land took the helm of BHA in 2013. Since then, he has led and grown the organization into one of the country’s leading voices for sportsmen and public land protectors.


When Land and I connected for this conversation, he was hard at work preparing for the upcoming BHA Rendezvous, which is taking place May 12-14 in Missoula, Montana. We discuss all of the details of that premiere conservation event, and you can find additional information in the notes and on this episode’s webpage. And we also covered a ton of interesting and important topics, including: the importance of advocating for conservation in Washington, DC; how apathy can be a huge threat to our wild lands; the slippery-slope threat of transferring federal lands to state or private entities; the importance of remaining optimistic in the face of challenges; how BHA helps and encourages new hunters; the importance of BHA’s state chapters and local leadership; Land’s personal and professional conservation journey; and, of course, he offers tons of great book recommendations.


A huge thanks to Land for joining me during such a busy time of year. And I encourage all of you to check out BHA’s membership options and consider supporting them if you are so inclined. I deal with conservation organizations all day in both my podcast and conservation work, and BHA is the best of the best. Hope you enjoy this episode.



THANK YOU: This episode is brought to you thanks to the generous support of Ranchlands. Visit to learn more or visit for a large selection of high-quality western goods.


EVENT: To learn more about the 5/18/22 Patagonia Brooklyn event, visit the event page for information and to RSVP.



  • 6:30 - Land talks about Backcountry Hunters and Anglers
  • 12:30 - Land  discusses his plan for when he advocates for conservation issues in DC
  • 17:15 - Land describes what he thinks is the greatest threat to public lands that folks should be aware of
  • 20:15 - Land explains his concern with transferring ownership of public lands to state or private entities 
  • 23:30 - Land talks about how he maintains a healthy level of skepticism in his advocacy work without becoming jaded
  • 27:15 - Land explains the function and importance of BHA’s state chapters
  • 30:15 - Land talks about BHA programs that encourage new hunters and anglers
  • 36:15 - Land talks about his childhood and the role that the outdoors played in it
  • 40:45 - Land discusses his first job out of college
  • 44:15 - Land talks about the common threads he noticed in his conservation mentors
  • 48:15 - Land describes the BHA Rendezvous 
  • 58:15 - Land’s book recommendations



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