There’s a certain sense of happiness that some people feel by simply being outside, enjoying nature and all of its natural activities with a group of great friends and having some great conversation.
Sophomore Adam Mitchell, who studies environmental science, has opened the opportunity for Castleton students to enjoy all of those experiences.
Mitchell, along with Spencer Como, recently brought a chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers to Castleton University.
“The BHA is the fastest-growing conservation group in America,” he said.
At Castleton, the chapter is also being treated as if it is a typical campus club.
When you first hear the name of it, you may think it’s a club that brings students together to enjoy hunting and fishing, yet Mitchell said it’s much more than that.
“The original purpose of the club was to basically have a bunch of hunters and fishers come together and fish and hunt together … but then learning more through the BHA, I really wanted to work with conservation groups working to move private land owners to entice them to open their land for public use.”
Mitchell also mentioned that the BHA encourages fair chase, which means that each hunter has an even playing field out in the wilderness. Mitchell mentioned that some hunters now use drones and cameras to assist them.
“I definitely promote fair chase,” he said. “If you can have a real-time picture of where the deer are at, is that actually hunting?”
Castleton’s BHA chapter has already embarked on one ice fishing trip two weekends ago bright and early on a chilly Saturday morning. The group set up right off Crystal Beach, and it happened to be free ice fishing day across Vermont.
And while sitting out on a frozen lake, circled up with snacks in buckets and scattered holes where hungry fish would be unlucky to swim by, the third aspect of the club is displayed.
The social aspect.
“That’s a big reason why I wanted to start this club, it’s set up like a social group for these hunters and anglers to come together. In ice fishing, you have a lot of social interaction while you’re waiting around for your tip-ups to pop up,” he said.
On that trip, four people who were not in the chapter tagged along. Three of the four then officially joined the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.
Mitchell said Castleton’s chapter will continue to go ice fishing throughout the winter. They also hope to go on some turkey hunts in the spring, do more conservation work, and duck banding in the fall.
“Even if you’re not a hunter or fisherman, if that doesn’t float your boat, we’re not just trying to hunt and fish, we’re trying to protect our environment,” Mitchell said.
“We’re trying to conserve this for future hunters and fishermen, and for future environmental-lovers.”