Ben Long grew up hunting, fishing and hiking in Idaho's Clearwater and St. Joe country. He spent his 16th birthday packing out a six-point bull elk he and his father shot deep in the backcountry. It was the best birthday of his life.
Following in the footsteps of his early hero, outdoor writer Ted Trueblood, Long pursued a degree in journalism from University of Idaho. After graduation, he spent a decade as a newspaper reporter, covering government, politics, outdoors and natural resource issues for newspapers in Idaho and Montana. He has also worked as a biological technician for the US Forest Service.
Joel joined the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers (BHA) board in the spring of 2008 after spending two years contributing to the organization’s mission through issues involvement and development. A born and raised westerner and lifelong sportsman, Joel has been committed to hunter/angler issues since he was first old enough to carry a rifle.
After completing his bachelor’s degree at the University of Idaho in 2000, Joel moved to his current home of Missoula, MT where he earned a master’s degree in Environmental Studies at the University of Montana. Joel works professionally as the Director for western programs for the Theodore Roosevelt Partnership where he engages sportsmen to conserve western public lands.
Joe was born and lived in Spokane, Washington but “grew up” in the Selkirk Mountains north of Spokane. As soon as he learned to walk his dad had him fishing, hunting, and hiking. Once he was able to drive, nothing could keep him from the mountains, not even school.
At the end of high school Joe met and married Salena and enlisted in the Air Force as a firefighter. The young couple and their first daughter Katelyn began their journey as they reported to Joe’s first duty assignment at F.E. Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The hunting and fishing in Cheyenne were phenomenal. After spending just short of 5 years and the addition of a second daughter, Makenzie, Joe received a new assignment to Eielson AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska. The move to Alaska in January was an adventure in and of itself. Their tour in Eielson was unexpectedly cut short and the four of them returned to Spokane.
|Sean on a wilderness Caribou hunt on the North Slope of Alaska|
Sean lives in Middleton, Idaho with his wife Lisa and two daughters Maria and Rebecca. Sean works in the high tech industry but spends his free time hunting, fishing, and camping throughout Idaho and the US. He enjoys introducing his daughters to the joys of the outdoor lifestyle. A member of a number of wildlife organizations, and a former Vice President and Board Member of the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation, Sean has a long history of working for our wildlife, habitat, and land so we can pursue our passions.
John Gale is a 5th generation Idahoan who grew up hunting and fishing the backcountry with his family. Engaged in politics at a young age, John finished high school early to take his first job with the Idaho State Senate. Later on, while feeding an outdoors addiction as a whitewater river guide and ranger, John received his degree in Natural Resource Management from the University of Idaho. After a two year stint in Morocco with the Peace Corps managing biodiversity and water projects, John found a niche for his ecumenical angling habits in Washington, D.C. directing a variety of grassroots conservation programs for Trout Unlimited. In early 2006, succumbing to the calls from western topography, John returned west and is currently working for the National Wildlife Federation in Boulder, Colorado. As the Regional Representative for AZ, CO, ID, NM, and UT, John oversees wildlife conservation efforts and sportsmen initiatives in those states. His primary goals for state development center on building resources that will help NWF and its affiliates grow bigger, stronger, and more financially prepared to face the challenges of wildlife conservation. In his personal time, John raises a daughter with his wife, sits on the board of several hunting and fishing organizations, and prefers the solitude of lonely mountains where the elk bugle and cold streams run full of wild trout.
Mike was a co-founder of BHA and was the first Chairman of the Board, 2004-2010. Mike grew up hunting, fishing and backpacking around rural Eagle Point and the south Cascades of Oregon then attended Southern Oregon State College, where he lettered in football all four years and was a three-time, all-conference defensive back. He received his BS in History in 1985. After college, he graduated from the US Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) and the Airborne Course at Fort Benning, Georgia. Mike served as a field artillery officer in the 9th Infantry Division at Fort Lewis, Washington from 1987-89. After leaving military service, he began his teaching career at Tigard HS in 1990. He received his MA in History and Government from the University of Portland in 1993.
Sean Clarkson was raised in the foothills of central Virginia, just east of the first spine of the Blue Ridge. His early years were spent roaming those hills, venturing into the now-Wilderness Areas nearby in search of small game, whitetail deer, and trout. His experiences there and throughout his later years led to a lifelong commitment to the outdoors and conservation in the tradition of Leupold, Muir, and Roosevelt. This led him to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, a group he believes embodies those same ideals and is vitally important to habitat and species conservation.
David grew up in the small northern Minnesota town of Grand Rapids and started hunting ruffed grouse when he was eleven years old. “Having first successfully hunted grouse, they remain my favorite today,” he says. This early pursuit of small game eventually led to hunting woodcock, ducks, geese and deer, and trapping mink, muskrat, beaver and raccoon, which in turn led to a recognition of the need for habitat conservation and the preservation of wild places and wide open spaces in general.
After completing high school, David was offered an Air Force ROTC scholarship at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and went on to graduate with a BA in political science and second lieutenant bars. He completed four years of military service as an Air Force missile launch officer while also completing a master’s of science in administration. After completing his service commitment and another undergraduate degree, David accepted another government job and moved to Colorado.
Jay was raised in the farm country of the Salinas Valley of California. He developed a passion for things outdoors at a very early age and was engaged in studying birds of all kinds by the time he was 7 or 8 years old. He fondly remembers his early hunting forays, riding his bike across his small community and going down to the river to chase quail, cottontails and an occasional duck.
Ryan Busse– Kalispell, Montana
By the time Ryan could walk and carry a lever action, he began exploring the backcountry of the vast unbroken native prairies on the Western Kansas ranch where he was raised. Not content with rifle alone, he began casting fly rods at age 5 in preparations for family trips into the Colorado Mountains and would grow to explore dozens of backcountry rivers and streams in Colorado and Wyoming. In College he was known to house his bird dog and double barrel in his dorm but still managed to obtain a degree in History and Political Science.
After graduating from college in 1993, Ryan began a career in the outdoor industry. In 1995 he moved to northern Montana to run the sales department for Kimber which was was at that time a small fledgling firearms company. He soon became Vice President of Sales where he remains today. Kimber is now a thriving company and one of the top 4 firearms manufactures in the United States.