BHA refuses to allow those who want to steal your public lands get away with this. It’s time to restore law and order, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. #keepitpublicPosted by Backcountry Hunters & Anglers on Tuesday, January 12, 2016
A group of Oregon sportsmen are attempting to drum up a formal opposition to the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon.
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a sportsmen’s group based in Joseph, Oregon, posted a video to its Facebook page Tuesday showing a man tearing a makeshift sign used by militants to cover a refuge sign.
The occupiers have rebranded the refuge, so to say, by covering signs with new signage and American flags. The militants are calling the refuge the Harney County Resource Center.
In the video released by the sportsmen, they say by tearing down the sign they are “removing extremist attempts to grab our public lands.”
Militants led by brothers Ammon and Ryan Bundy have occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge since Jan. 2. They are the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.
After tearing down the sign, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers Washington member Mark Heckert said he doesn’t think public access to the refuge would last under oversight by the Bundys and their supporters.
“It’s a baldfaced grab at the lands that belong to the people of the United States,” Heckert said.
“I can guarantee what that means is that pretty soon they’ll start saying, ‘Well, you guys can’t come out on this land because it’s ranchland.’”
Backcountry Hunters & Anglers also posted an online pledge to “Keep Public Lands In Public Hands,” which has so far gathered nearly 8,000 pledges.