The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers recently appointed Kris Hess to serve as an Assistant Regional Director for Boulder County.
Kris was born and raised in Alpena, Michigan. “I grew up in a hunting and fishing family in northern Michigan and started fishing and hunting whitetails at a young age,” he said. “I stepped back from hunting for many years but was reinvigorated in 2015 after my first Colorado elk hunt with my father.”
“I’ve since had a growing passion for elk and mule deer hunting and strive to get out multiple seasons each year hunting Colorado public land,” Kris added. “After rifle hunting for elk I couldn’t help but get into muzzleloading to allow me to hunt in September, and then subsequently got back into archery to allow hunting the full month of September!”
Kris has a mechanical engineering education and background in automotive/alternative fuels/wind turbines/aerospace/medical industries including project management, systems engineering and product design. He currently manages operations at the University of Colorado Mountain Research Field Station in Nederland. “The mission of the Mountain Research Station is to facilitate research and education to better understand the unique patterns and processes of biotic and physical systems in mountains, and how environmental changes may influence these patterns and processes,” he explained.
In the past Kris has volunteered on the Nederland Parks Recreation & Open Space advisory board and volunteered as a worker and project leader for fire mitigation events in the Nederland area. “Living and working in the Peak to Peak region I am always working to help provide information and eyes to support the USFS, Boulder County and local authorities to manage the many challenges with forest use and habitat abuse in the surrounding area,” he added.
Kris lives in Nederland and hunts turkey, elk and mule deer. “I fish for relaxation and extra time with my kids!” he said. “I enjoy backpacking, car camping, hiking and snowshoeing with my wife and two children.” “In addition to hunting, my deep connection with the land is trail running & ultra-running, a love/addiction that has taken me so many places in the backcountry for the last 15 years,” Kris added. “I’ve come to combine my passions for hunting and running by often incorporating scouting missions into my trail runs.”
He aspires to contribute to BHA by being a catalyst and leader for BHA initiatives in Boulder County relating to policy as well as boots on the ground events. “I’m really excited to meet more hunters and anglers in the area and I will strive to help create opportunities for BHA members to get involved as well as create awareness of current regional issues that are of importance to BHA members in the Boulder area,” Kris explained. “With the ever-increasing front range population, I think it is imperative to pursue projects to conserve habitat and manage use so that all users including hunters and anglers can continue to enjoy the rugged and wild lands and creatures we are so fortunate to live amongst.”
Kris urges Boulder BHA members to reach out to him. “Let me know what you’re seeing in the field and what opportunities/issues you are seeing when it comes to how to better protect habitat, OHV concerns, illegal trail construction, access concerns, you name it,” he said. “We can’t fix it all, but as hunters and anglers we have a unique lens where we can see how habitat disruptions, abuse or change in use policy can have a disproportionate impact on the wildlife.”
He learned about BHA from another local habitat conservation advocate and sees BHA as “an avenue to positively effect change, conserve the land and animals we love, as well as an opportunity to continue to improve the image of hunters and anglers.”
Additional BHA/Colorado BHA Information:
- Colorado BHA Corporate Partners.
- Hunting For Sustainability (H4S).
- BHA’s Public Waters Access campaign.
- BHA’s Collegiate Program.
- Backcountry Journal (Fall 2021); (Summer 2021); (Spring 2021); (Winter 2021).
- BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative. “Armed Forces Initiative-Get Involved.”
- BHA National Policy Updates (November 2021); (October 2021); (September 2021).
- BHA Chapter Policy Updates (November 2021); (October 2021); (September 2021).
- Colorado BHA Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) program information.
- “BHA State Chapter Development (Recruiting/Retaining Leaders & Avoiding Burnout).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/1/21.
- “Empowering Leaders: It’s In BHA’s DNA.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/7/21.
- “Where Hope Lives: A Brief BHA History.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 11/30/20.
- “We Are Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/2/21.
- Check out our Take Action Center and stay engaged on legislation in your area.
- Check out BHA’s North American Action Map, tracking examples of our accomplishments as an organization across the continent.
- David “Elkheart” Petersen (founder of the first BHA state chapter, here in Colorado, and a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) books.
Founded by Mike Beagle, a former U.S. Army field artillery officer, and formed around an Oregon campfire, in 2004, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our nation’s wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With over 40,000 members spread out across all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories—including chapters in 48 states, two Canadian provinces and one territory, and Washington, D.C.—BHA brings an authentic, informed, boots-on-the-ground voice to the conservation of public lands. Since the Colorado BHA chapter was founded by David Petersen (a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) in 2005 (the first official BHA chapter), they’ve grown their boots-on-the-ground presence to some 2,000 dedicated hunters and anglers.