Justin Nelson, Chair
Born in South Lake Tahoe, California, Justin has had a deep appreciation for the beauty and importance of public lands since day one. He moved to Arizona with his family when he was only 8 years old and had the opportunity to expand his love for the outdoors. Justin currently lives in Mesa, AZ with his wife, young daughter, and GSP. When Justin isn’t working at his job as a Project Manager for a local General Contractor, you will find him chasing down any adventure that comes his way. His pastimes include, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping; really anything that can be done on the many acres of Arizona public land. Influenced by many of his close family members, Justin has taken the important traditions of hunting and fishing and made them part of his daily life.
He aspires to make an impact on the conservation of public lands and to ensure that our children have the same (if not more) benefits than we have today. He wants his daughter to grow up with a profound respect of wildlife and their habitat and strives to create a lifestyle that encourages her to follow these traditions. For a little over a year, Justin has been the Arizona BHA Chapter Chair which allows him to share his vision at a larger scale. By attending pint nights, the annual rendezvous, volunteer projects, and other events, Justin can collaborate with other individuals that share his passion.
“We have not inherited the earth from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children.” – Lester Brown
Michael Cravens, Vice Chair
Michael grew up exploring the densely wooded hills and cold clear rivers of the Missouri Ozarks. His childhood was spent chasing squirrels, rabbits, and smallmouth bass with a fishing rod and shotgun, or even snakes and salamanders with nothing more than a field guide. Nothing was off limits to this young and enthusiastic naturalist. Later, Michael went on to study Organismal, Ecological, and Evolutionary Biology at Southeast Missouri State University.
Through the years that followed, Michael’s insatiable thirst for exploring wild places never waned and drove him to travel extensively throughout our own beautiful country and abroad. These travels took him to far away and remote places like the jungles of Latin America and the Amazon Basin. Whether the Rocky Mountains, the Appalachian Mountains, the desert southwest, or the Ozark Mountains of his childhood home, Michael has a deep love and appreciation for all wild places. Of all these, it was the North American western landscape that held his attention and is now where he calls home.
Michael, his wife, two children, and their German short-haired pointer call the mountains of Flagstaff, AZ home. Living in a state with over 50% public land allows them ample opportunity for countless adventures. This opportunity is not taken for granted and is not guaranteed. Today, Michael spends his free time either roaming the mountains and deserts in search of opportunities to bring healthy organic meat home to fill the freezer and feed his family, or he is speaking out against those that threaten the places that allow these opportunities.
Michael works as the Advocacy and Conservation Director for the Arizona Wildlife Federation, serves as the Vice Chair for Arizona Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, he is certified by 2% for Conservation, and is a contributor for Hunt to Eat. Michael can be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mlcoutdoors
Brandon Holub, Treasurer
Brandon is a native Arizonan, born and raised in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Brandon grew up in a non-hunting family and was introduced to hunting by Arizona Co-Chairman Justin Nelson back in high school. Since Brandon’s first mule deer hunt, Brandon has been hooked on hunting and exploring wild areas.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from West Texas A&M, Brandon moved to Chicago to pursue his Juris Doctorate at Chicago-Kent College of Law with a focus on environmental and energy law. Returning to Arizona after several years in Texas and Chicago has only increased Brandon’s passion to explore the outdoors and help preserve and protect our public lands for future generations.
In his spare time, Brandon enjoys traveling with his wife and hunting with his friends. Brandon is passionate about BHA’s mission and is honored to be the Treasurer for the Arizona Chapter.
Jason Ceola, Legislative Director
Hailing from western Virginia, Jason developed a love of hunting and fishing at a young age by accompanying his grandfather on dove and deer hunts. Growing up on the family farm was a constant outdoors adventure, as well as a hands-on education in deer and quail habitat management. Jason's book learning resulted in a degree in Environmental Policy and later a Juris Doctorate.
After moving to Arizona he quickly fell in love with the opportunities offered by public land. This exposed him to many adventures not previously explored like quail hunting through the desert, fly fishing for trout in Rim Country, or archery hunts for mule deer. These experiences drive Jason's dedication to preserving our hunting and fishing heritage, along with protecting access to public lands.
Harrison Holub, Board Member
Born and raised in Arizona, I spent my life hunting and fishing this state. It’s vast public lands and water makes it easy to continue to call it home. I am currently attending school for a degree in wildlife management wanting to work with Arizona’s wildlife in this beautiful habitat.
I love chasing coues deer around southern Arizona, and wild, native trout in northern Arizona. I look forward to continue to protect and maintain our public lands for future generations. When I’m not
Hunting or fishing, I’m probably tying flies or finding new places to explore, or unfortunately working! I currently live in Gilbert, working for both The Orvis Company and my fathers auto shop.
Jack Wilson, Board Member
Jack is an Arizona Native, born and raised in Mesa, Az. Jack did not grow up in a hunting family. Although hunting was foreign to him, he was raised by a family with a love for the outdoors. He spent a lot of time camping and exploring Arizona’s rim country with his family during the summers.
While earning his bachelors in business administration at ASU, he applied for his first deer tag with a friend from work. From that point forward, he has tried to experience as many different types of hunting from upland to chasing coues deer in the borderlands.
Hunting and angling has only deepened his appreciation for our public lands, building upon the love for the outdoors instilled during childhood.
Jack currently runs a small automotive paint and body shop in Mesa with his father. He continues to try to experience more of what the outdoors has to offer and keep learning.
Wolf Gumerman, Board Member & NAU College Club Advisor
Wolf Gumerman retired from Northern Arizona University where he taught for 25 years. He began his NAU career as an archaeologist conducting excavations on the North Coast of Peru focusing on understanding prehistoric food systems. In addition, he collaborated with the Hopi tribe to promote cultural preservation. Wolf also directed NAU’s Honors Program and then became the Founding Dean of the Honors College.
An avid fly fisherman for decades, Wolf recently took up hunting. He has always enjoyed eating game and understood the management role in hunting; but it wasn’t until a few years ago searching for elk with his wife and father that he realized he wanted to hunt. Now he is addicted to chasing birds behind his German Wirehair Pointer, Bella. Wolf also truly enjoys foraging—especially for mushrooms on public lands. His hunger for foraging and hunting culminates in the kitchen where he enjoys feeding others—especially friends and family—his wife Liz and their two grown “kids”.
Wolf, an active user of public lands since he can remember, feels it is important to use his time and energy to protect these special landscapes and the wildlife and cultural resources they hold. As such, he serves on the Arizona Chapter BHA board and is the advisor to the Northern Arizona University BHA Collegiate Club. He also serves on the Board of the Friends of the Flagstaff Area National Monuments.
Alex Young grew up in Oklahoma, and learned to fly fish, upland hunt, backpack and whitewater raft on family trips to public lands across the American West. He earned a BA at Columbia University and spent a few years working in publishing and teaching high school English abroad before returning to the West to complete a PhD in English at the University of Southern California. He now lives in Phoenix, where he teaches courses on the literature and culture of the US West at Arizona State University. His scholarly focus on the history of our region, along with his passion for outdoor pursuits, fuels his dedication to conservation advocacy that engages Indigenous nations and other diverse stakeholders who are fighting to protect the irreplaceable ecosystems and landscapes of our public lands.
Zackory Berft, Region 2 Director
Born and raised in the desert southwest I have been fortunate to start experiencing our vast public lands from an early age. Some of my earliest memories are times spent outside camping and hiking with my family. I spent many weekends backing, racking up the miles on the trails, spending time in the backcountry. This is where I began to appreciate the wild places, the effort that it took to access them, the memories made of pushing up another steep incline, the irritation of carrying a heavy load on your back, the frustration of walking up to a dry water source. These efforts that I experienced backpacking through our public lands made me into the public lands advocate I am today.
As an adult my adorations for our wild places have grown, I moved to Flagstaff where I attended Northern Arizona University and graduated with a degree in biology. I met my beautiful wife and her family introduced me to hunting and fishing. As an individual who began hunting as an adult, my fervor for protecting the public lands and the wildlife that know these places as home has turned into a passion. Expanding on my love of the outdoors and adding the capability to find nourishment out of wild beings. Turning these gifts from the land into meals for friends and family is where I get to combine my other two passions of cooking and growing food from our small backyard garden.
Kyle Short, Region 3 Director
Clifton “Kyle” Short is a high school teacher originally from Delaware, who grew up hunting small game and waterfowl along with shore fishing in the Mid-Atlantic. He moved to Prescott in 2013 and has thoroughly enjoyed learning to hunt and fish on the many diverse and amazing ecosystems that Arizona has to offer. His love of public lands has only grown over time, as well as a drive to help preserve and conserve these special places. As an educator and avid outdoor enthusiast, Kyle is committed to supporting the mission of BHA and spreading the word to both new and experienced hunters and anglers.
David Ross, Region 5 Director
David is an adult-onset-hunter and Arizona native. He is passionate about food, and stumbled into hunting as a way to be more involved in how he and his family are fed. He loves to geek out about cooking and recipes, and he’s circling the drain towards a whole food, plant predominant diet. Hopefully one day that will leave game meat as the only animal protein on the family’s menu.
Since diving into hunting, he has also seen the importance of public lands and has been a BHA member nearly as long as he’s been hunting. He has hunted exclusively on Arizona public lands.
David is a nurse by trade and lives in Tucson with his wife and daughter. He enjoys hunting, fishing, foraging, hiking, trail running, and most recently camping with the family in their Scamp.
He’s on Instagram at instagram.com/dsr_outside