First fishing trip at 18 months and first duck hunt at age 3 kick started a lifelong passion for the pursuit of wild things in wild places. By age 7 I was climbing trees on a baker stand to watch my dad bowhunting. He was a bowhunter which made me a bowhunter. I will kick off my 40th bow season this fall just after my 52nd birthday and in that time I have seen and experienced a lot of change. To this point, I would venture the lions share of change has not been for the better and certainly not if we are talking about accessibility, perception or stewardship. BHA is positioned to positively influence those areas and I am excited to see where we can take things not only in Arkansas but across the country.
Kip is a native Arkansan and was raised hunting the Ozarks and Delta regions of the Natural State. As young man he was always interested in wildlife and ecology. At 16 he volunteered with Arkansas Game and Fish doing Whitetail studies at Hobbs State Park. After high school he spent summers as a wilderness guide in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area and Quetico Provincial Park. This is where he fell in love with public land and water.
Besides hunting and fishing Kip is an avid whitewater paddler. This passion has taken him all across the country to paddle. From the Ocoee in the East, all the way out west to paddle some of the country’s most iconic rivers: the Salmon, the Snake, the Arkansas, and the Middle fork of the Salmon, all of these in some of the most beautiful wilderness landscapes that exist on the planet.
His experiences in the country’s wild places have shaped his life, and led him directly to BHA. The passion he has for hunting, fishing, and paddling is matched by his passion for protecting our public lands and waters. Kip lives in Rogers, Arkansas with his 11year old chocolate lab, Anabelle and has just shifted careers out of teaching AP Environmental Science into being self-employed.
I am a native, 4th generation Arkansasan. I have been married to my wife Rhonda for 22 years, have 4 kids and one grandchild.
I was was raised in a non hunting/no guns household until the age of 13. During those early years I had a burning desire to be in the outdoors which was flamed by reading every issue of Field and Stream I could get my hands on.
After meeting my dad at age 13, I was allowed to go hunting on my uncle's farm with very little guidance. Even though I loved roaming the 1000 acre farm I had to teach myself to hunt. I killed my first squirrel age 14 in a Pin Oak flat on a balmy October afternoon. As I stood there looking at the gray squirrel I became overcome with emotion - the emotion of taking a life and achieving a goal that I had taken so long to achieve. I was a hunter. As the years went by I graduated to deer hunting and then to turkey hunting, which is my real hunting passion. All my hunting success and failures have come from reading and watching videos, trying to figure out what works best for me.
I started hunting public land in the Ouachita Mountains about 20 years ago, mainly for turkeys, because I had a desire to roam big spaces and not be hemmed in by barbed wire fences. I have to know whats over the next hill. I had no idea what public land meant at the time, it was just a place where I could roam freely without all the rules of family farms and leases.
I joined BHA 2 years ago after searching podcasts for public land hunting. After hearing Hal Herring for the first time talk about why Public Lands are so important, I knew I had to be a part of that group. I had to do something to ensure that my kids, my grandkids and their kids always had a place to hunt, fish and roam these mountains that I love so much. BHA is a family affair for us. My oldest son is a member and hunts almost exclusively on public landy My middle son goes fishing with me on public land, and my youngest son has that same wanderlust that I have. My wife thinks its pretty dang cool when I bring a deer or turkey home from the mountains, because she knows I had to work for it.
Since Ryan was a small child, he has been hunting and fishing in the Ozark Mountains. He learned how to chase nearly every game species in Arkansas from his father and uncles. Growing up, Ryan spent most of his free time in the woods right outside his back door, sneaking up on squirrels with a pellet gun and watching his beloved beagles run rabbits. Family camping adventures in the West, backpacking trips with his Boy Scout troop, and guiding wilderness trips in the Boundary Waters and Quetico, instilled in him a deep appreciation for our public wilderness.
Ryan has enjoyed so much positive influence from hunting, fishing, and public lands, that he cannot stand the thought of his children, and the future generations of this nation, being robbed of the same opportunity. BHA provides a place for Ryan to not only connect with great people, but to fight for our greatest treasures as Americans.
Professionally, Ryan is an attorney who works in real estate development. He lives with his wife, Meredith, and their two young boys in Prairie Grove, Arkansas.
Wil is lucky to be located in the eastern edge of the Ozark Mountains. Growing up spending time between the clear trout waters of the White River and the chocolate colored water of the Black River, he enjoys watching waterfowl work a call and hunting whitetail deer on public land. Having spent much of his early time outdoors bass fishing with his father and friends, he continues to spending time on the water and exploring out of state fishing whenever the opportunity presents itself. This love for the outdoors has provided a thorough understanding of science, leading to a career in the healthcare field. After being exposed to BHA while listening to podcasts in spare time, it was an instant draw to become a member, and advocate for our public lands.
He is a proud husband and father of 2 and 5 year old girls, who all enjoy being on the waters of the natural state. He enjoys BHA volunteer activities, meeting others in BHA, and looks forward to maintaining a family membership.
My father brought me up hunting and fishing in the Delta of Arkansas but for the last 30 years Fayetteville has been my home and the Ozarks my stomping grounds. I've spent a great deal of time exploring the American west as well but mostly as a mountaineer and backpacker. In my 30's I decided I need to begin mixing my love of fishing at home with my western trips and began to fly fish public waters in the Wind Rivers, Tetons, Sawtooths and Cascades while on climbing trips. I suppose the natural progression was to want to bring my bow with me next which is my current quest. I love wooden bows and arrows and have been shooting them for over 20 year. My job at Pack Rat in Fayetteville takes me to trade shows every summer and a few years ago I had the opportunity to meet Land Tawney and some of the other BHA members while attending a public land march to the Capitol of Utah in Salt Lake. I signed up for a 3 year membership and got involved.
I'm also the father of a 5 year old and 8 year old and spend as much time with them outside as possible. We paddle the rivers fishing for small mouth and hike every chance we get on public land both here in Arkansas and in the western states as well. I hope to contribute a positive example to my own kids and other young people about what it means to be an ethical hunter and angler and to reinforce those values in them for the future.
It wasn't until we vacationed with family friends that I truly realized the value of our vast public lands. That summer we fished several beautiful streams in Colorado. When the boys asked what "public land" meant, I had to do some research to be able to answer their question thoroughly. It was only then that I came to understand the treasure held in trust for us.
When I came back to Arkansas, I started to look around for new public land and water adventures. I have found the best of what I can be as a father and husband in the outdoors, and I am excited to be able to work on behalf of the new Arkansas Chapter and its members to protect and promote our unique public lands and waters.
I've spent much of my career helping tell stories about conservation, access, public lands, hunter recruitment, federal policy, and more. Which sounds kinda dry, but it's awesome in practice. I essentially spend a lot of time talking to interesting people about the important stuff they do in and for the great outdoors. Coincidentally, that’s also what I find so appealing about BHA members.