The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently appointed John Howard to serve as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Liaison. John was born in San Tome, Venezuela. He came to the U.S. at age 3, grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended college in Virginia and at Oxford in the UK, then came to Colorado for graduate school. “Done a few corporate tours of duty in Chicago, Annapolis, and Montreal but we always came back to Colorado and we aren’t leaving,” he said.
“I fished for bass a couple of times with my dad and a lot with friends growing up. I always wanted to hunt but didn’t have any mentors offering to take me,” John added. “Plus, Texas, particularly East Texas, is all about private leases, so unless you had access to a lease it was hard to actually hunt.” At age 33, John bought a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP), a Browning A5, took hunter safety at the old Garts Palace in Denver, and started bird hunting.
From there he graduated to waterfowl, then big game. “I organize trips from the same group of about 20 guys every year now fishing and hunting across the West and in Canada,” John said. “It’s been a long journey, but the fellowship of friends always made it a pleasure to learn, organize, and give back to the outdoors. Every five years or so I hunt in England with my mother’s family. It’s always a real lesson in the alternative to the North American model.”
John is a “recovering lawyer” educated at CU law (Class of 1987). During law school he got involved with the National Wildlife Federation Clinic, which started his conservation-related volunteering and interest in policy. He was an intern on both the antelope fence case in Wyoming and Whooping Cranes on the North Platte in Nebraska. Starting in 1992 he became a corporate executive and is now a small business owner. “We have a distressed debt business and a crisis management business,” John explained. “I was also on the CPW Commission from 2014 to 2019 and Chair the last two terms. On the Wolf SAG Committee currently …”
He hunts bear and antelope along with pheasant, quail, and grouse with his GSPs. “I hunt for bear and antelope every year,” he added. “Some years I go for deer and elk depending on invites from buddies. I fish spinning and fly in Colorado and in Wyoming and Canada every few years. Fly I’m going for trout and grayling. Spinning its bass, walleye, striper, wiper, pike, muskie.”
John hunts and fishes both on public and private ground and enjoys being able to hunt contiguous public/private property, to see the impact variations to animals and habitat. “Perhaps the greatest unexpected joy from fishing and hunting is how your eye begins to pick up on unusual things on the landscape, because now you are used to looking for them,” John explained.
He joined BHA a couple years ago. “I knew about BHA from my time as a Commissioner and as Chair for two terms,” he said. “I was so impressed with the growth, outreach to marginalized groups, youth, and energy that I wanted to be a part of that movement.” John is married and has two sons. “I hunt and fish with my youngest and it is the best thing to happen to me in the last few years,” he added “After a long time of me asking and offering, he took up hunting with a vengeance in 2020. Always looking for someone who wants to go bird hunting.”
Additional BHA/Colorado BHA Information:
- Colorado BHA Corporate Partners.
- Hunting For Sustainability (H4S).
- BHA’s Public Waters Access campaign.
- BHA’s Collegiate Program.
- BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative. “Armed Forces Initiative-Get Involved.”
- Become An AFI Volunteer; Armed Forces Initiative Leadership.
- Colorado BHA Upcoming Events.
- Colorado BHA Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) program information.
- 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.