Texas BHA Board

Michael Panasci, Chair - Michael grew up in the small logging town of Millinocket in northern Maine. Wildlife and the outdoors were a passion of his for as long as he can remember. He would spend hours alone exploring the woods and the Penobscot River behind his house as a young child. He never had a hunting mentor, but would jump at the chance when the occasional opportunity arose.  Once he was able to hunt on his own (and sometimes before), he hit the woods and water as often as he could.  Before he could drive, he would break down his shotgun into a backpack and ride his bike to some woods a few miles from his house to seek ruffed grouse.

 

Michael received a B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut.  While in CT, he became an avid archery whitetail hunter and took advantage of the state’s urban deer problem. A few field jobs out west subsequent to graduating college expanded his horizons to the opportunities provided by public lands.  Soon, western hunting was within reach after moving to Lubbock, TX to start a M.S. in Wildlife Sciences at Texas Tech University.  However, having developed as a hunter in Maine, TX hunting was a complete culture shock for Michael, and it took some time to figure out.   He completed his M.S. and is now at the end stages of his Ph.D. in Wildlife Sciences at Texas Tech.  He’s married and has a 2 year-old daughter and a newborn son.  He lives for archery hunting white-tails, but also pursues wild hogs, sandhill cranes, waterfowl, rabbits, and anything else that provides good table fare, which is the source of 99% of his family’s meat consumption.  He also archery hunts western public lands in CO and WY annually.

 

BHA was a natural draw for Michael, and his passion for hunting and science-based conservation led him to get involved in leadership at the state chapter level. He sees a TX chapter as filling a major niche on the national stage, primarily in relation to the land access challenges that TX sportsmen face. He also hopes to improve and expand public hunting opportunities in TX and more closely align wildlife policy with the North American model. He’s committed to not allowing the financial interests of a tiny minority to trump those of hundreds of millions of Americans, and is adamant that the American public should not be fooled into thinking that it is also in their own best interests.

 

Jerimiah Haughee, Secretary - Jerimiah grew up in Tyler, TX and now resides in Austin.  His first experiences fishing were on Lake Palestine where he and his grandfather would fish from a family friend’s dock for perch, bluegill, sunfish and catfish. Jerimiah began hunting at the age of 10 when he was exposed to dove hunting on leased land and squirrel and duck hunting on the public river bottoms and backwaters of East Texas.

 

Jerimiah’s first exposures to public land backcountry was a backpacking trip to the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The Durango Silverton train to Needleton and the hike from Needleton to a base camp surrounded by 14,000 ft. peaks instilled what would grow to be a lifelong love of the mountains and, unknown at the time, a passion for public lands and public access. A brief stint living in Summit County, CO at the age of 16 provided Jerimiah exposure to backcountry snowboarding, but he soon had to return to TX.  Eager to return to the mountains, Jerimiah moved to Missoula, MT subsequent to graduating high school. Concurrent with numerous backcountry adventures in the northern Rockies and great times in one of America’s finest mountain towns, Jerimiah earned degrees from the University of Montana where he studied Native American Studies, Wilderness Studies, and Communicative Science and Disorders.  His first exposure to big game hunting was an elk hunt in the Bitterroot Valley in 2007. After a day in the backcountry, his passion for big game had been established.

 

Upon relocating back to Texas, a state where some residents and politicians proudly boast that 98% of land is owned by the private sector, he realized he had to stand up for the protection of federal lands, waters, and public access to those lands and waters. Jerimiah is proud to serve BHA and hopes to turn the rising tide of land transfer rhetoric through community outreach and education. He strives to focus on the truth regarding access and management of federal lands relative to state lands, and to show how the federal model favors citizen access and use.

 

Brandon Shook, Treasurer - Brandon is a 6th generation Texan who lives in Austin with Kristen, his wife of 9 years, and his 2 beautiful, outdoor loving daughters. He grew up hunting and fishing all over Texas on both private and public lands. Brandon loves chasing whitetails and fishing for reds and trout along the Texas coast. He is passionate about educating people, especially fellow Texans, about the value of being able to access and explore our public lands across the nation.

 

Brandon is fired up to help maintain BHA as the premier force among sportsmen groups in helping to preserve and protect our public lands across the nation.  He’s enthusiastic about growing the membership of BHA in Texas and building the Texas chapter into a formidable voice influencing state policy-makers and politicians.  He hopes to convince others that now is prime time to get off the bench and start getting our hands dirty in bringing awareness about our rights as public land-owners to the Lone Star State.  Brandon hopes to partner with fellow Texans to finally become good shepherds of the public lands that we own.

 

Jon Bodnar, Board of Directors - Jon grew up on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Pa.  Mentored by a close family friend, he often hunted and fished the urban areas near the city.   His real love for the outdoors came from the adventure of exploring the Allegheny National Forest, where his mentor had a small cabin.  School and football would limit his time in the woods for a short while, but that only increased his appreciation for it.

 

After finishing his graduate degree at Carnegie Mellon University, he moved to Texas where he currently works as a Medical Device Design Engineer.  He quickly felt at home in the Texas culture and has made some lifelong friendships that have granted him incredible private land hunting opportunities in South Texas.  Although he is indebted for their generosity and the opportunities he otherwise wouldn’t have likely obtained, he has come to find that he missed the adventure of wandering large tracts of public land. 

 

The search for adventure has led him to BHA and the desire to promote the voice of the Texas sportsmen who value wild land and water, to preserve the public land access we are given outside of Texas, and to further increase access and opportunity within Texas.

 

Jon resides in Keller, TX with his wife, daughter, and their black lab.

 

Chisum Cooke, Board of Directors - Chisum Cooke is a devoted husband and father of four young girls.  As his fathers before him, Chisum has been an avid fisherman, hunter, and outdoorsman his entire life. 

 

Chisum received a Bachelor’s degree from Baylor University in 2003 and a Law Degree from the University of Tulsa in May 2007, where he was awarded a certificate in Resources, Energy and Environmental Law and Policy.  While in law school, Chisum spent a summer as an intern with the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.  After law school, he joined the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality as an Air Attorney in the Commission’s Environmental Law Division.  Chisum’s experience in the federal legislative and state executive branches of government has given him an in-depth understanding of legislative policy making, executive regulation, and the complex nature of constitutional authority.

 

Chisum joined RPS, a global energy and environmental engineering consulting firm in 2009 as an environmental regulatory specialist, and was promoted to executive management in 2013.  Working with the firm’s oil and gas consulting divisions, he gained a wealth of knowledge about global energy markets and policy.  In January 2015, Chisum joined Waste Management Dolphin Services as General Counsel and is now responsible for regulatory compliance and business development in the industrial waste processing sector.  With an education that focused heavily on federal land use and resource management, and a career in governmental regulation, Chisum plans to use his extensive background to help BHA Texas influence both federal and state policy making and to educate citizens on important issues related to their rights as public land owners. 

 

Jim Fleshman, Board of Directors - Jim got a late start to hunting, but it started with deer while working in New Jersey.  Lacking a mentor, he taught himself mostly from books and suffered through 4 years of confusion and buck fever before harvesting his first doe.  The result was some excellent venison and a long-term love of hunting.  He also enjoys backcountry skiing and hiking. 

 

Jim is a retired chemical engineer and has lived his adult life mostly in New Jersey and Houston, Texas.  This has forced him to make the best use of the outdoor opportunities that were available, and to be inventive in seeking out others.  He has relied on public land for most of his hunting, as well as privately held but publicly accessible land.  This includes national wildlife refuges, national forests, and paper company land.  Jim has benefitted greatly from other people’s work to preserve wild lands, and he would like to help ensure that those lands remain wild.

 

To Jim, BHA is about open space – undeveloped land.  Different areas of the country have different challenges in ownership and access.  These range from retaining federal lands in the west to keeping the large tracts of northern forests in Maine from being broken up.  Texas has a much higher portion of privately owned land and different traditions of access, but still has large tracts of public open space that will require work to keep open.

 

Tyler Hill, Board of Directors - Tyler is a native of western Alabama. He attended Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee and relocated to central Texas with his wife after graduating college.  Tyler’s love of the outdoors comes from spending time with his father, who introduced him to hunting and fishing. He is an avid whitetail hunter and enjoys hiking the Texas Hill Country. He also returns to Alabama for an annual family whitetail hunt with his father every winter.

 

Tyler is a Project Manager by trade. He has worked on many interesting projects such as: establishing an urban farm, working with the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council to establish a Level 2 Arboretum, and working with an organization to develop an Environmental Management Plan to comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations. He currently works as a Project Manager specializing in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. Tyler is a firm believer that public lands are a birthright and will plan to work to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy that right.

 

Using his project management skills, Tyler plans to assist in the growth and development of BHA for the state of Texas. He has a deep desire to cast the mission of BHA to the state of Texas and to promote the use of public lands for hunting, fishing, and hiking.

 

Jared Kennedy, Board of Directors - Jared grew up on the South Plains of Texas in the town of Shallowater.  At an early age he began hunting dove and small game around the farms and CRP fields in Lubbock, County, but It wasn’t until he attended Texas A&M University that he really began to view fishing and hunting as a way of life.  There he fell in love with hunting ducks, geese and whitetail deer all over central and south Texas as well as fishing in creeks, lakes and on the Texas coast.

 

After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Development, Jared moved to the Fort Worth area where he began work as a financial advisor.  Jared, his wife Lana and their three children live in Aledo, Texas today and enjoy hiking, camping, fishing and hunting.  It was after one particular camping trip to Red Feather Lakes in Colorado that Jared realized access to public lands was an amazing privilege worth championing.  He immediately returned home and joined Backcountry Hunters and Anglers.   Although he still hunts private land in Texas for deer, waterfowl, turkey and small game, he and his family take annual trips to public lands in New Mexico and Colorado pursuing deer, elk and trout. His goal each fall is to make sure his family can live the next year entirely on wild protein. 

 

Jared is committed to securing the future of our wild public lands, seeing to it that there is access for all hunters and anglers and that fair chase and ethical hunting practices are promoted in Texas and beyond.   

 

Keith Landry, Board of Directors - Keith was born and raised around the Brazos Valley of Central Texas. For most of his childhood, Keith spent his afternoons at his grandparents’ farm either helping with the cattle or exploring the woods. Hunting and fishing from an early age, Keith pulled catfish out of the Brazos, spent weekends on the coast popping corks for reds, waited under huisache every dove season, stalked whitetails in the same woods as his grandfather, laid in peanut fields for Panhandle waterfowl, and even called in a few good turkeys near the Pedernales. 

 

Keith attended Texas A&M University for both his Bachelor of Science as well as his Master of International Affairs before working for the Texas State Senate as a political researcher. Today, Keith is the Creative Director for a small, international software company in Houston, but still follows the state legislature every session.

 

Keith understands the complexity of public land management in a state that is 97 percent privately owned. He is dedicated to ensuring that more Texans have access and understanding of one of our country’s greatest assets. Keith appreciates the voice the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is giving to Texas outdoorsmen and women and excited about getting that voice heard in Austin.

Jason grew up in Texas and spent his early years fishing and camping with family. He started rock climbing and backpacking in high school and picked up mountaineering in college, eventually becoming a climbing guide in Central Texas. Since then, he has shifted his attention over to hunting, conservation and education. He received certifications in Angler Education with Texas Parks and Wildlife and the National Archery in the Schools Program.  He has also acted as a Challenge Course facilitator, assisted with Hunter Education courses for TPWD, and taught outdoor education to kids of all ages.  He is now the President of the Quality Deer Management Association branch in San Antonio, and in addition to his membership in BHA, is also a member of TRCP and National Deer Alliance.

 

John Mosty, Board of Directors - John “Dubs” Mosty is a fifth generation Texan, born and raised in Kerrville, Texas.  He currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Mary and children June and Joseph.  Dubs grew up fishing, backpacking, and camping from an early age but he only began hunting in his late 20’s.  He achieved the rank of Life Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.  Dubs is a registered nurse and has worked the last 8 years in the UMCB Emergency Department, a level 1 trauma center located in downtown Austin.  Dubs enjoys many outdoor activities in and around the Austin area, such as fishing, hunting, hiking, mountain biking, and trail running. He also enjoys trips out west to visit the many public lands of our great nation.

 

Jason Norris, Board of Directors - Through Jason's experience in the outdoors, he has developed a deep respect for the public lands of this country. This respect is what led Jason to become more involved.  By joining BHA, he’s excited to add his voice to those seeking to influence national decisions that will affect sportsmen all across the United States. In striving to keep our public lands open and waters accessible, he’s also looking forward to new adventures and friendships. In his home state, he looks forward to working on these same issues, but also seeks to persuade policy-makers to open more areas for sportsmen in a state with severely limited public land opportunities.

 

Jason currently lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and dogs. Look for him out on hill country streams with a fly rod or fields and woods during hunting season.

Trevor Probandt, Board of Directors - Trevor grew up on a working cattle ranch northeast of San Angelo, TX and attended a small high school in Miles, TX, a town without a single stop light. He was extremely fortunate to have access to several square miles of land to hunt and fish, which he’d do just about every day of the week as a kid. He hunted first with a BB gun, then a .22 Long Rifle, followed by his Dad's .243 Savage and 20 gauge Remington pump, and finally with his first bow and arrow at age 13. He attended Texas Tech University where he spent many days chasing bass, pheasant, whitetails, blue and bobwhite quail, hogs, ducks, geese, cranes, axis, etc., while obtaining dual degrees in Biology and Exercise Physiology. After college he moved to New Mexico, where he was infected by the elk hunting bug while hunting the famed Gila units of southwestern New Mexico and the lands that Aldo Leopold hunted and wrote about, including his namesake wilderness area.

During this time, Trevor realized how fortunate he was as an American to access such wild lands across the western United States!  And he found it equally amazing to see people of all walks of life using their land to recreate on as they pleased! What a truly American concept: that these public lands can be used not only by American citizens, but by any global citizen, including a very happy gentleman from France he met while elk hunting in the Eagles Nest Wilderness of Colorado. This man had hunted OTC Colorado for eight straight years, and this meeting set into motion Trevor’s passionate desire to preserve these amazing lands and opportunities to access them. Trevor has hunted and fly fished Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana.  Having enjoyed these treasured wild places himself, he recently joined BHA in order to help others in Texas to better understand the vast landscapes available to them, even if they aren’t right in their backyard. He looks forward to educating both current and future outdoorsmen about the vital impact hunters and anglers have upon continued availability to these irreplaceable assets of the natural world.

Gaines Slade, Board of Directors - Gaines was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama.  He began hunting at age 16, cutting his outdoor teeth on Alabama’s public lands.  He became hooked and soon expanded his hunting horizons by applying for tags out West.  A degree from Auburn University and his passion for pursuing game ultimately lead him to an ever evolving career in the hunting industry, and he’s currently employed by Tecomate Wildlife Systems LLC.  The combination of hunting and his videography career has taken him across the globe; from Alaska to Africa, Canada, and across the United States.   His passion is bow hunting and spending most of his spare time prepping and mapping out the next journey.  Gaines looks forward to contributing to the Texas BHA Chapter.

Cory Smith, Board of Directors - Cory started hunting at the age of 5 and was the bird dog on his family’s annual dove opener until he was old enough to shoot a year or so later.  His passion for the outdoors was passed down from his father and grandfather; he is passing that tradition down to his children as well. Cory’s family owns and operates a successful lake and wildlife management company that has been in business since 1986.  They work with a wide array of clients, from private landowners to federal agencies.  Cory has a beautiful wife and 4 kids (5 if you count his lab.)   He is a Christian who believes that God gave us the right to harvest and provide for our families, and he takes that whole heartedly.

Cory graduated from high school and moved to Montana to pursue a fly fishing passion. While there, he worked at Firehole Ranch which is an Orvis lodge.   He slowly worked his way up from fixing gear to doing some small guided trips.  However he couldn’t stay; Texas summoned him to return.  Shortly after moving back, he began guiding deer and duck hunts in Texas and Kansas.  Despite some amazing experiences, after 10 years he realized it was taking from his passion because it was now more business than fun.  Although he got out of guiding clients, he still enjoys taking out new hunters all the time. 

Cory has pursued whitetails all over the U.S. and has successfully harvested some monstrous animals, some above 180”.  Over the last few years, his hunting goals have become more geared towards mule deer and waterfowl.  He has been lucky enough to harvest all legal waterfowl in Texas, with the exception of cinnamon teal, including the eastern sea ducks.  His passion for waterfowl hunting has grown because of the public accessibility of their habitat.  After hunting in many other states and seeing how they handle their wildlife resources, Cory longs to conserve and improve public hunting lands nationwide.

Jamison Wright, Board of Directors - Jamison is an avid outdoorsman who grew up splitting time between Ruidoso, NM and Kilgore, TX. He is currently living in Longview, TX where he works as a construction consultant and is pursuing a degree in construction management. When not at work or school, he can be found in the deer woods or on many of the public waters around East Texas fishing or hunting waterfowl. He joined BHA to retain and help expand public access to areas around the state and educate fellow Texans on the benefits of public land to all hunters & anglers.