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Sportmens group offers reward for illegal ATV damage

PUBLIC LANDS -- The national Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is offering a reward of up to $1,000 aimed at stopping lawbreakers who disturb public land, water and wildlife on motor vehicles such as ATVs.
“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 a reward to tipsters in Montana who have reported people driving behind gates, vandalize the land or harass wildlife on all-terrain vehicles. The BHA board broadened the scope of the reward to include other northwestern states.
“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.”
Read on for details.

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.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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