Communications Team

Scott Heatwole, Communications Co-Chair:

thumbnail.jpgScott Heatwole serves on the Colorado BHA Chapter Leadership Team as Communications Co-Chair. Scott was born on Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, and raised in nearby Newport News. “I fished on and off as a child, but was never really into hunting,” he said.

“None of my family hunted either so I was never exposed to it. It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve really developed a serious interest in hunting, fishing and conservation,” Scott explained. “For me, it’s been more of a DIY initiation with the help of social media groups, online articles, magazines and hunting shows. I’m always on the lookout for more experienced folks who need a hunting partner though.”

Today Scott hunts pronghorn, mule deer, bear and turkey around the Front Range or on the eastern plains—depending on which tags he can get ahold of. “My son is chomping at the bit to catch a bass, and I’m starting to look into learning to fly fish,” he said. “My wife and I have a goal of hunting an elk together.” They hunt primarily with rifles and compound bows but are looking to muzzleloader hunt too. “My wife is extremely interested in traditional bow hunting,” he added.

Scott works for the Department of Defense as a DOD civilian and is completing (“albeit slowly,” he says) his bachelor’s degree. He served in the U.S. Air Force for ten years as an Aircraft Hydraulic Systems Craftsman. They currently live in Castle Rock and have two children and three dogs.

“I first joined BHA in 2019 after seeing Steven Rinella in a ‘Public Land Owner’ shirt on MeatEater,” he explained. “I loved the shirt and just had to have one. I discovered BHA while searching for the shirt online, as it was offered by BHA, and joined immediately. I’ve come from not knowing a whole lot about BHA to really loving the organization and everything it does.”

“We’re privileged and lucky to have another veteran join the Colorado BHA Chapter Leadership Team,” chapter co-chair David Lien (a former Air Force officer) said. “Scott’s proven track record of leadership and taking the initiative is the critical catalyst needed to strengthen and amplify BHA’s combined voice for our wild public lands, waters and wildlife. Wildlands and wildlife need many more like him!”

Derek Pankratz, Communications Co-Chair:

Derek_Pankratz-Deer.jpegDerek was born and raised in northeastern Wisconsin along the shores of Lake Michigan. He started gun deer hunting at age 12 and began archery hunting not long after. “I was fortunate to have many uncles and cousins who hunted when I was growing up and they taught me foundational skills,” he said. “That said, a lot has been self-taught—with lots of mistakes along the way! My brother is my primary hunting partner and has been a great mentor, even though he’s three years younger (don’t tell him I said that).”

Over the years Derek has steadily expanded his hunting portfolio to include turkeys, rabbits, squirrels and a “bit of dabbling in waterfowl.” He hunts with a compound bow, rifle and shotgun. “I’m a very casual angler but do like the simplicity of Tenkara-style fly-fishing,” he added. Derek studied economics and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I worked for the government in DC before deciding it wasn’t for me,” he said. “Now I’m a researcher and writer for a global consulting firm, currently focused on climate change and corporate sustainability.”

Since moving to Colorado, Derek has been working on building his mountain hunting skills, mostly chasing elk with a bow, but also mule deer and dusky grouse when he stumbles into them. “I really love archery elk hunting. September in the mountains with bugling bulls is something special,” he added. “Mule deer, too, when I can get a tag, along with turkeys and grouse. Looking forward to pulling an antelope tag … A bit of trout fishing in the summer as well.”

His youngest daughter is very interesting in fishing—including ice fishing—so spending more time on the water with her is a priority. This past fall Derek also made a trip back to Wisconsin to hunt public land whitetails and small game. “The deer hunting was unsuccessful, but it was great to be back sitting twenty feet up in a red oak,” he said. “I did bring home some gray squirrels, though! I miss chasing those ‘tree ninjas.’”

Derek lives in Gunnison. “We moved from Wisconsin in large part because of the incredible access to public lands, and we’re fortunate to have so many opportunities here to hunt, fish, camp, hike, mountain bike and ski,” he explained. Derek first heard about BHA from his brother and joined in 2017.