Board of Directors

Ben Long - Co-Chairman - Kalispell, Montana


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 Webster - Co-Chairman - Missoula, Montana

joel webster

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.

Sean Carriere - Board Treasurer

Idaho BHA Sean Carriere
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.

Sean Clarkson - Secretary -Spotsylvania, VA


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.

Jay Banta - Torrey Utah


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.

Michael Verville - Brunswick, ME


Mike is a lifelong outdoorsman, who grew up hunting and fishing the woodlots and waters of Maine and New Hampshire.  He became involved with numerous other outdoor sports over the years- mountaineering, rock and ice climbing, sailing- but always returned to hunting and fishing as the foundation of an outdoor life.

Mike went to St. Paul’s School, and subsequently graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a BA in Philosophy- an obvious lead-in to a career in the outdoor industry. He spent 19 years at L.L. Bean, Inc., in various capacities, including leadership of their Fly-fishing and Wingshooting Schools. L.L. Bean gave him the opportunity to hunt and fish all across the country and overseas as well, and grounded him in the notion of social responsibility.  He left Bean’s in 2002 as Vice President of Retail Merchanding and Branding, and marched off in a new direction, completing a Masters in Medicine, and a Surgical Residency, and now practices as a Surgical Physician Assistant in advanced laparoscopic surgery.

Ryan Busse - Kalispell, Montana

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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.

Mike Schoby - Washington, IL


Mike Schoby is editor in chief of Petersen's Hunting, author of five books, active in TV hosting and production, and a lifelong sportsman. Schoby accepted his position with Petersen's in 2009 following stints with Gander Mountain, where he headed up a newly formed hunting/fishing travel agency and managed pro-staff, TV production and media relations, and Cabela's, where he was online managing editor for In 2012 he won the Zeiss Writer of the Year Award. He has lived in South Africa and worked for a professional hunter/lodge operating in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique, and he has spent time in the retail gun and archery industry. He has a bachelor's degree from Washington State University. Mike started hunted when he was 8 years old, carrying a Red Ryder BB-gun following his father. Since then, he has hunted all six huntable continents, 35 or so states and six African countries. 

Eddie Nickens - Raleigh, NC


Edward Nickens has reported on conservation, the outdoors and rural culture for some of the world's most respected publications for over three decades. He is editor at large for Field & Stream and a contributing editor for Audubon magazine. His work has appeared in Smithsonian, National Geographic Adventure, Men's Journal, Garden & Gun, Shooting Sportsman, Sporting Classics and many other titles. His two books for Field & Stream have sold more than 250,000 copies. His works have been collected in a half-dozen "best of" anthologies and won numerous awards. In addition, Nickens has served as host, writer, and field producer for Field & Stream's television shows The Gun Nuts and The Total Outdoorsman Challenge as well as the award-winning Heroes of Conservation webisode series. He has consulted as a speaker, speechwriter, white-paper author and communications specialist for a range of conservation organizations. Nickens lives in Raleigh and Morehead City, North Carolina.

Rachel Vandevoort - Whitefish, MT


Rachel was born and raised in Northwest Montana; her father contends that her first complete sentence was, “Dad, I'm tired of fishing,” and his idea of keeping her occupied after school, while he was still working, was to send her in search of gophers with a pellet rifle. She was accompanying her father on five-day river trips before she entered preschool, tying flies before she could do long division, and working in the local fly shop, in exchange for gear, before she was old enough to receive a pay check.  Her youth was spent shooting smallbore rifle competitions, fly fishing, hunting, and skiing.She attended University of Montana, earning a B.S. Resource Conservation, and upon graduation she was not willing to leave Montana to find work, so she tucked her formal education in her back pocket, lived life as an over-educated fly fisherman, and began a career in sales and marketing.  After working in the organic produce industry, outdoor recreation industry and spending a few years at home with her two sons, she is currently Trade Relations Manager for Kimber MFG.  She enjoys volunteering and being involved in her community as life allows, and loves educating people about anything recreation, fly fishing, or firearms related. 

Rachel appreciates the voice and connection that BHA provides outdoorsmen on the issues that directly impact their way of life and is excited to work with the organization and its fantastic people and members.  Public land and water have been at the core of her family’s existence for generations.  She would like to help make sure that continues for her children.  

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Backcountry Hunters & Anglers seeks to ensure North America's outdoor heritage of hunting and fishing in a natural setting, through education and work on behalf of wild public lands and waters.

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