Justin Bubenik Co-Chair Southern California
Justin was born and raised just outside of Portland in Happy Valley, Oregon where he grew up hunting the Willamette Valley for waterfowl and pheasant, and fly fishing the Deschutes, Rogue and local Portland rivers for steelhead and the multitude of local lakes and streams for trout. Following his initial introduction to fly fishing in the high mountain lakes of Oregon at the age of 8, he hasn’t turned back.
After receiving his undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University, Justin moved to Los Angeles to pursue his Juris Doctorate at the University of Southern California. After a short stint in New York, Justin now officially calls LA home. During the workweek, Justin is a real estate attorney in the downtown Los Angeles office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP with a practice focused on acquisitions, dispositions, financings, and joint ventures for institutional investors, owners and developers. Justin also serves on the Board of Directors for the Pasadena Casting Club, one of the largest fly fishing clubs in Southern California.
On his days off, Justin explores the local fresh and salt waters, takes regular backpacking trips into the Sierras in search of trout and breathtaking scenery, and pursues his passion of upland bird hunting as he endlessly trudges across the landscape after quail.
Cory Evans Co-Chair Northern California
Cory grew up in the Southwest Michigan city of Battle Creek. Spending most of his childhood with the Kalamazoo river flowing literally through his back yard. Cory’s passion for exploring the outdoors, hunting and fishing was developed at a young age. Fostered by the mentorship of Robert Hughes, a family friend and all around true woodsman. Unfortunately, Robert passed when Cory was 10 but his influence is felt every day.
Cory is currently living in San Francisco with his beautiful wife. It wasn’t until he moved to the west in 2006 that he had true exposure to public lands. Having grown up in Southwest Michigan, only hunting on family and friends private property the idea of land anyone could access felt foreign. It didn’t take long for him to realize not only how important these wild public places are to the now but also how important they are to the future.
Now living with full-blown “Adult On Set Public Land Syndrome” he hopes to use his experiences to shape a clear public land message and to create opportunities for others that may not understand what it means to be a Public Land Owner!
Ryan Hughes grew up in Santa Rosa, California. From a young age he enjoyed the outdoors through hunting almost every game species that California has to offer. That interest soon grew into fly-fishing, surfing, and writing about his adventures. Ryan’s pursuits have taken him throughout the western states and continue to drive him to wild places.
Ryan received a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2017. It was there that he began his outdoor writing career, which led him to opportunities all over the states. At the University of Nevada, Ryan began a collegiate chapter of BHA, which led him to lobby for public lands in Nevada, as well as in Washington DC. After graduation, Ryan began living in Montana, working as a guide and interning at BHA national headquarters, writing for the Backcountry Journal. Now living back in Santa Rosa, he continues to hunt, fish, write, and guide hunting and fishing trips.
Alan grew up in Alaska where his earliest memories are of millions of salmon redds drifting silently underneath my family's Zodiac inflatable (a sight that we all know no longer exists in California). Having moved to CA as a youngster,he spent his free weekends fly fishing all over the Sierras for trout in the summer and coastal rivers in the winter for steelhead. For the past 20 years, he’s lived in San Francisco and Oakland where people look at me with wild eyes when he tells them about he and his wife’s hunting deer and wild pig for our meat, and that we do our best to not participate in the industrial food economy. He’s helped teach classes on hunting and given demonstrations on field dressing wild pigs at skillshare events such as the Not So Simple Living Fair. He’s dedicated to protecting wild spaces and preserving the quality of life he was so fortunate to be able to enjoy for our future generations.
It all probably began when Tom was a small child: As his mother told him later in life, he would point and shout at every bird he saw. Since then he’s been on constant lookout for birds, attempting to identify them and witness unusual behaviors or activities seen only when in the outdoors. His motto: When it comes to witnessing what happens in the outdoors, you must be present to win!
Tom’s education began in the natural sciences but it was the social sciences where he excelled and earned a sociology degree from Cal State Long Beach. His career was in youth development and nonprofit administration, but he found greater satisfaction in construction and project management. His deep interest in wildlife and their habitats, has lead him to work today as the Fire Recovery Project Manager for the Sonoma Land Trust.
He remembers his first hunt at the age of about six when his grandfather took him deer hunting carrying his own bow, with probably about a 25 lb. draw and three homemade wood arrows. He still has that bow and the recurve his grandfather made and used.
The majority of his hunting has been for waterfowl and upland game hunting public areas throughout California. With friends he’s hunted eastern Washington for its legendary Mallard and Canada Goose hunting, and freelance hunted Saskatchewan numerous times. But his greatest thrill was the opportunity to travel to and hunt in New Zealand as part of an exchange through California Waterfowl Association and the New Zeeland Deer Stalker’s Association where he hunted ducks and geese on the south island.
Tom has been active in California’s waterfowl, wetland and hunting heritage serving as a banquet chairman and then board of director member of California Waterfowl Association (CWA) where he served as board Secretary for five years and one year as Vice Chair. After serving his two full terms he’s been looking for the next opportunity to serve. Getting back in to big game and bow hunting later in life, BHA seemed to be the right fit for his interest in public land advocacy and stewardship.
He remains on the board of directors for the California Waterfowl Foundation the assets of which support the program properties owned and managed by CWA.
J.R. Young, Treasurer
J.R. Young was raised in Bellevue Washington.He enjoyed his weekends and summer at a cabin in Central Washington where he started hunting and fishing at an early age. He spent countless days exploring Wenatchee National Forest as well as the Mt.
Baker/Snoqualmie National Forest closer to Bellevue. He truly fell in love with the outdoors.
Currently living in The Santa Cruz Mountains in Los Gatos California with his wife, son, dog and chickens, he continues to enjoy the outdoors on a regular basis. At J.R.’s house, most activities surround food, preparing for food, canning food, foraging for food hunting for food and most importantly sharing the experience of food with friends and sometimes complete strangers. J.R. is a man that loves life, and he encourages people to explore that natural world and enjoy what is theirs to enjoy. He holds his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Washington and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Fairfield University in Connecticut. After spending eleven years as a tax accountant he has joined his wife in her Naturopathic Medical Clinic. He is also a member of the National Board for BHA.
Emilee was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana, where her love for the outdoors originated through bait fishing and camping with her family. She obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in Greenville, South Carolina. Upon completion of her undergraduate degree, she moved to Boise, Idaho, where she met her husband and was able to expand upon her love for the outdoors.
Emilee is currently an Emergency Room Registered Nurse residing in the High Desert near Death Valley National Park. Her husband is a Law Enforcement Ranger for the Bureau of Land Management. The majority of their free time is spent fly fishing for trout and crappie.
While Emilee did not grow up hunting, she has gone on many waterfowl and archery elk hunts with her husband. Those experiences of seeing the beauty of the backcountry and observing her husband source their own food from field to table have peaked her desire to be more than just a hunting bystander. She has recently completed the Hunter’s Education course and is excited to take her first steps as a huntress.
Nick was born and raised in Northern California and spent the majority of his youth outdoors. He lives in Auburn on 5 acres with his beautiful wife Jessica and son Myles. He values public service and has worked as a firefighter for over 20 years. Nick hunts upland game, waterfowl, deer, and elk in the wilderness of California and Idaho. Besides being a California BHA chapter board member, he also serves on banquet committees with the Gold Rush Chapter of the California Deer Association and the Guns 'n' Hoses Chapter of the California Waterfowl Association. He's also a pro-staff member of First Lite and Ridgeline Knife Works. He wants to make sure our public lands and wildlife are around for generations to come.
Kevin was born and raised in Northern California with Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen in view and endless public forest lands at his disposal. Through the mentorship of his father, a carpenter and fishing guide, Kevin developed a love for the outdoors and wild places. He continues this mentorship into the next generation by teaching Hunters Education classes and encouraging kids to learn and develop outdoor skills just like he raised his own two sons to do. You cannot have a conversation with him without hearing him
uttering the phrase “hunting heritage”. He is currently working with his local NWTF Jakes program to put on their spring youth turkey hunt and is training to become a NRA certified firearms instructor with the goal of teaching kids how to shoot properly.
An avid hunter, he is always thinking about the pursuit. Hunting several western states as often as possible and building preference points each year when he does not draw. Everything from deer to elk to bear, birds and predators have been fair game. His travels have taken him as far as Uruguay to hunt doves, pigeons and perdiz (the South American counterpart to a partridge). His favorite place to be is the Eastern Sierra Owens Valley where he guides Tule elk hunts.
Supporting conservation organizations with his time and money are a priority for him. He has put in countless hours on conservation fundraising committees and is always there to help out an outdoor cause.
Still living in Northern California with his wife Janet and dog “Muley”, he drives a school bus for two different districts and daydreams of hunting all the time. His hunting heritage, passion, commitment, and desire to make a difference for wildlife and their habitat are what drive him every day.
Jeff was born and raised in San Diego, California. He came to hunting and the outdoors late in life and is usually doing his best to make up for lost time. He can typically be found roaming public lands throughout the West, chasing any animal he can get a tag for.
Jeff earned a bachelors degree in Managerial Economics from Bentley University, outside of Boston. It was during this time that he discovered his love of fishing and acquiring his food. He has been actively involved with BHA for the last 3 years, coordinating local events, pitching in at national rendezvous, and spreading the public lands message to anyone willing to listen.
Nick grew up outside of Atlanta, Georgia, and lived on the East Coast long enough to pick up a pair of degrees in Physics and Economics before a combination of wanderlust, curiosity, and patriotic zeal led him to join the Peace Corps and head out for a couple years in Africa.
Much to his later chagrin, Nick didn’t really have serious exposure to the wide world of hunting and fishing until he was in his early 30’s and living in California. He took to it with gusto, and in the years since has spent as much time as possible in wild places. The realization of all the outdoor world has to offer, as well as the trials and tribulations of learning to hunt as an adult from an urban background, has given Nick a strong interest in helping new people along and he can often be found working on new ways to improve that process. This is one of the things that drew him to BHA, which along with advocating on behalf of the public lands and waters that now form such a central part of his life, is an unparalleled community of dynamic conservationists where lifelong and newly minted (or aspiring) outdoors-folk can meet and learn from each other. It’s an exciting time, and Nick is proud to be a part of it.
Jared is 25 years old and born and raised in Orange County, California. He grew up camping and fishing all over California and spent most summers traveling to northern Wisconsin to take advantage of the state's fishing opportunities.
Any free time he has is spent outdoors exploring our public lands all over the western United States. When not at work, Jared is usually doing some sort of outdoor activity whether it be archery, fishing, hiking or shooting. Jared started getting serious about archery hunting two years ago and has enjoyed exploring the public lands in Southern California, Arizona, and Wisconsin.
Fishing is also a serious hobby of Jared's and he has traveled throughout the West including Southern California, Utah, Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming in order to pursue his passion.
Jared has been active with BHA for over two years throughout the West and enjoys sharing his interest for the outdoors and public lands to anyone who is interested.