The CA Chapter is now accepting applications for the following positions:
Please submit your application for consideration to the CA Chapter Board.
Eric Hanson, Co Chair & Policy Lead
Eric was born and raised in Santa Monica, Calif. Despite growing up a city boy, he spent summers camping in national parks and learned to backpack and shoot in Boy Scouts.
After college, Eric worked at a magazine in Chicago that covered the red meat industry, where he had an insider's look at how most Americans get their meat. A spark was lit to learn and experience more about where our food really comes from. In his early 30s Eric began hunting and fishing. Soon he had his own bird dog and hunted the local national forests for quail and rabbit. Now he pursues upland and big game throughout California and across the country.
Eric feels fortunate to have had a wide range of outdoors experience on our public lands. When he joined BHA he realized he had found his people and enjoys supporting the organization’s mission by working on policy and communications issues, as well as by bringing a diverse group of emergent hunters (a term he coined) and anglers into the fold. He’s passionate about sharing his experiences--as well as wild game cooking--with friends, acquaintances, and anyone else who will listen.
Eric lives in Northeast Los Angeles with his wife, Lauren, daughter, Hannah, son, Zev, and Brittany, Barley. He graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in journalism and received his law degree from UC Berkeley School of Law. He works as a lawyer, photographer, and writer.
Brett O'Mara, Co Chair
Brett grew up in Western NY and spent his youth in the eastern forests prior to moving to Western Oregon. It was while living on the McKenzie River in Western Oregon that he recognized the urgent need to protect and enhance our public lands and waters. Brett currently resides in Oceanside, with his wife, son, and daughter. He is an active duty Marine, and in addition to his position on the California Board is also the Lead for the BHA Armed Forces Initiative Pendleton Club and assists the BHA Armed Forces Advisory Board.
He enjoys hunting both small and big game, along with waterfowl and upland birds. He hunts throughout the country but prefers western hunting. The solitude, and physical challenges experienced in the backcountry keep him focused. He enjoys imparting his knowledge on new hunters helping them become more proficient, ethical hunters.
Brett is a Life Member of BHA and is committed to enhancing public access and defending our public lands from the growing efforts to dispose of them.
Chad Thomas, Vice Chair
Although born and raised in the inner city, Chad spent much of his childhood and early adulthood in the local national forest and BLM properties of southern California. Shortly after college he shifted careers from education to wildlife management, culminating in the completion of an MSc in Environmental Policy and Management with and emphasis in Fish and Wildlife Management. His career has focused on predator (native and non-native) research and management, invasive species prevention, and game management.
Chad grew up hiking, backpacking, fishing, and off-roading, but his greatest passion for the outdoors was found in hunting. The pursuit of game intrigued him to point of dedicating his career to protecting this right and privilege. Chad is an active member of numerous rod and gun clubs, hunter education instructor, volunteer, researcher, and advocate.
Chad is currently working as a Non-lead Outreach Coordinator for a non-profit conservation institute. This position allows him to work within the hunting community of California, collaborating with various organizations and stakeholders to better understand the impacts that lead ammunition can have on secondary wildlife. This collaboration allows for the protection of our hunting heritage, and continuation of our conservation ethic. Chad feels privileged and honored to work with such an amazing group of conservationists.
Currently Chad lives in Santa Barbara County with his bird dog Valkkrja (“Krja”), where he introduces new hunters to the hunting tradition, researches wildlife, and most importantly protects our public lands.
Matt White, Treasurer
Matt White grew up fishing and hunting in California and has been spending time in wilderness areas since he was a teenager. He lives in Fresno with his wife and two sons, who he hopes will continue the outdoor tradition he was given in his youth. He runs a small investment advisory practice, which occasionally gives him the flexibility to escape the desk and spend some time in the wilderness. Matt is a Life Member of BHA and is passionate about public lands, fair chase and the experiences one gains in the backcountry.
Nick Zanotti - Sacramento Region, Volunteer Director
Born in Sacramento and raised in the foothills of the Motherlode, I have spent my entire life in Northern California. My parents exposed me to the beauties of the backcountry at a young age and I have carried that love for adventure and feeling of belonging in natural places with me since then. Camping progressed to backpacking in college and in 2016 I fused my love for food with my love of being outdoors and picked up hunting. It started off with an amazing yet unsuccessful spring turkey season and then exploded from there. I became Farm Manager of a large row crop and orchard operation in 2017 and was able to teach myself through experience to hunt rabbits, squirrels, beavers, coyotes, turkeys and deer. That year, I also devoted myself to backpack hunting for big game in our beautiful national forests and wilderness areas and haven't stopped. Because of my continued experiences and the birth of my daughter, I decided to leave agriculture and pursue a career in conservation. I am now part of the Western Region Ecology Team for the largest ESA habitat conservation company in the US. I want to use my experience to help California's BHA chapter, but more importantly, I want to learn from all of you so we can build together.
David Allen - Board Member
David was born and raised in Michigan. Fishing and hunting was a big part of the family diet, mainly pan fish and rabbits. Upon graduation from High School, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and was stationed in Germany. After two years, he got out of the Army on a hardship discharge when his mother died to help his father raise a young sister. After 9 months at home, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and spent 10 years in the Navy’s Submarine Force.
One month after his discharge from the Navy, he was enrolled in a Junior College to make up for what he did not get in his rural High School. After two years of prep classes he was accepted at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He graduated in 1992 with a BS in Engineering Technology.
From there he was employed for 7 years in several different companies that worked with the U.S. Postal service, operating and maintaining high speed mail sorting equipment. In 1999 he hired on with Giesecke and Devrient , a company that made high speed automated paper currency sorting equipment for the Federal Reserve, casinos, banks and other companies needing to count millions of dollars every day. He retired in 2021 after 22 years with Giesecke and Devrient .
During his upbringing, military service and civilian employment he has always close to Nature. Whether it was fishing and hunting to put food on the table, hiking, camping or just getting out in the woods to recharge his batteries. For decades he has had memberships in DU, CWA, RMEF, MDF and other conservation-oriented groups.
In the late 1980s he was offered the opportunity to manage a 7,000-acre piece of high desert property north of Susanville CA. He worked with CADFG (now CADFW), BLM and other organizations to restore the habitat on the property. Working with a local logger, thousands of Western Junipers were removed to open up areas for the planting and seeding of browse vegetation. He worked with CWA to create a 25-acre seasonal wetland. He invited 4H clubs, friends and people from various fishing and hunting social media outlets to join in on the planting and seeding and other projects. The various groups helped fence off a 3-acre Aspen grove that was being damaged by cattle. Miles of old barbed wire fencing was replaced with wildlife friendly fencing. An earthen dam was repaired to restore a small reservoir. Numerous other small projects were also completed. After several years, using game trail cameras and personal observations to assess the count, the deer herd on the property were much more abundant and very healthy looking.
David saw a Backcountry Hunters and Anglers post online and it caught his attention. Researching, he found that the organization’s goals and beliefs matched his own and joined. Within a few months of interacting with other members, he became a lifetime member. Since becoming a member, he has helped out on several events including habitat restoration with CADFW, fence restoration and fish counts for BLM and others.
Chris Moosios - Board Member
Chris Moosios, was born & raised in Madera, “The Heart of California”, within the Central Valley of California. As a BB gun toting 3-year-old, on family-owned private land along the San Joaquin River, bird hunting was what he grew into. Accessing the local Sierra National Forest for fishing and deer hunting trips with his father & grandfather, along with other family friends that grew up doing the same, privileged Chris with the opportunity to grow and relish time on California’s public lands throughout his life.
As he aged into his professional life, working within the hospitality & service industry based in San Diego, he’s been able to travel through many states across the U.S. which gave him additional perspectives on public land access and management styles. Whether it was joining friends from out of state to traverse along California’s monumental peaks, hiking sections of the Pacific Crest/John Muir Trails, or accompanying first time hunters, Chris turned to California’s public lands to accomplish those successes.
Since joining BHA in 2019, Chris has taken part in numerous stewardship projects on public lands in not only California, but also in Oklahoma after briefly relocating to the state in 2022. He found while working amongst those like-minded individuals between both states, the shared passion for outdoor recreation, fishing and hunting, is evident in a lot of folks. That’s why it’s been his goal to do his part in keeping our Public Lands, in Public Hands.
James Fey - Board Member
James hails from VA but has made Oakland, CA his home. He brings +5 years of emergency management and technical writing experience to the board, including several peer-reviewed white papers and hunting articles (e.g., Huntin' Fool). James has worked to capture and capitalize on lessons learned from high profile, federally declared disasters like hurricanes Harvey, Irma, & Maria, COVID-19, the 2020 CA gigafire, and the atmospheric rivers of 2023. He is keen on helping draft policy proposals and correspondence with decision makers that balance the needs of species with opportunity for hunters and anglers. Fey (pronounced "Fi" like Wi-Fi) is an avid bowhunter, public lands enthusiast, and steadfast recruiter for conservation-oriented causes.