Kassi was born on the west coast of Washington and spent every summer on her grandparent’s farm in eastern Washington. She started fishing and shooting as a kid, then backpacking as an undergraduate in eastern Washington, and started hunting after moving to Idaho for graduate school. Kassi has a doctorate degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Boise State University.
She started hunting with her boyfriend, now husband, and said, “We will generally go out at least once per year casually for each small-game species, but big game is where the action is.” She hunts with a rifle, but is “attempting to hunt trad.” Kassi also enjoys fly-fishing for trout in alpine lakes or streams/rivers, but when time is short she’ll throw spinners out in local reservoirs. She joined BHA during 2015, started volunteering in Idaho and currently lives in Lafayette, Colorado.
Ryan was born and raised in Colorado, growing up exploring local creeks and ponds out his back door, and later the vast public lands of the Rocky Mountains. He learned to fly fish on a neighborhood pond that was full of bass and began hunting with his grandfather in Texas when he was 4 years old. Later, he joined his dad and granddad on elk and mule deer hunting trips.
“My grandfather was my hunting mentor,” Ryan says. “He ‘retired’ from elk hunting a few years ago, but at 92 years old he continues to hunt deer every year near his home in Texas. Now I usually hunt with my dad and with a few good hunting buddies.” Ryan went to Seattle Pacific University where he studied journalism and found a job writing for Fish & Fly Magazine. After college he went into corporate communications and his career eventually evolved toward PR and marketing. In 2013 he launched a business serving hunting and fly fishing outfitters, Peak Outfitter Marketing.
Today Ryan primarily hunts Colorado’s vast public lands, but has also been on hunting trips in Wyoming, New Mexico, Montana and British Columbia. He hunts big game—primarily elk, mule deer and antelope—and drew a Colorado bighorn tag in 2010, harvesting a nice ram.
“I’ve hunted big game with a rifle, a muzzleloader and a compound bow,” he says. “My perfect season is hunting bugling elk with a bow or muzzleloader in September, spot-and-stalk antelope in October, and then mule deer with a rifle in November.”
Ryan also does some waterfowl hunting, along with small and upland game, but says, “With two small kids at home, I have to be more selective about my hobbies these days!” And one of the perfect hobbies for kids is fishing. “I fish for everything,” he adds, “from bass and carp in the Denver area, to cutthroat trout at remote lakes above timberline, and everything in between. But my favorite fishing now is on remote rivers and lakes. I love exploring wilderness waters where a little bit of distance removes most of the fishing pressure.”
Ryan lives in Littleton with his wife, Kelly. They have a six-year-old son, Nolan, and a four-year-old daughter, Clara. “With a vegetable garden and a freezer full of wild game, we enjoy hosting friends for meals, being involved at our church, and living the field-to-table lifestyle as much as we can,” he says.
Kellan was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, but spent most of his childhood in Rifle, Colorado. He was introduced to hunting and fishing by his father. “I can remember going out hunting with him when I was 7 or 8 and just tagging along, probably spooking plenty of game,” Kellan said. “However, those are some of my fondest memories, the times spent in the woods with him, my brother and the occasional friend … we definitely learned a lot and made a ton of memories.”
During his freshman year of college, Kellan started bowhunting with a family friend in South Dakota. “He’s an avid hunter that uses most of his vacation every year to hunt mainly deer, antelope and elk, and I spent many weekends hunting with him throughout college,” Kellan said. “This is where I really started to mature as a hunter, and learned the most. Maybe it was the nature of bowhunting or maybe it was the mentor, but I would attribute my passion and love for hunting to my father and his best friend, who became my mentor and close friend.”
While attending college in Rapid City, Kellan earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering and has spent most of his career working in the food processing industry. He started with Cargill in Omaha and then moved to the Denver area, where he is currently working for a start-up called MycoTechnology that works with Mushroom fermentation.
Kellan hunts more than he wets a line, but defaults to fly-fishing when he hits the water. “I enjoy the challenge of it, the art form of it, and I also don’t get bored as easily,” he said. “No disrespect to those that love throwing a hook, sinker and bobber. I’ve caught plenty of fish that way and it has it’s time and place, but personally I enjoy fly-fishing more.” “Most often I hunt with a bow for big-game, but still get a rifle tag every year, and I have hunted with a muzzleloader in the past,” he added.
Although he has always been a big-game hunter at heart, Kellan picked up bird hunting in college. “In fact, my wife and I just got a lab puppy that I am hoping to train to be a bird-hunting companion,” he said. “Fingers crossed that goes well. He’s a handful, but is showing a lot of promise.” They currently live in Elizabeth (southeast of Denver) and Kellan returns to the Rifle area often for hunting and fishing. “Today I primarily hunt/fish with my father, my brother and a good friend from childhood that I have stayed close with,” he said.
Kellan became a member of BHA during college and started getting more involved after returning to Colorado, assisting Denver Metro Area Assistant Regional Director Kassi Smith. “I heard about BHA through a good friend who works in the outdoor industry, and then started tracking BHA through social media platforms to learn what they were about,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with likeminded people in the BHA family, and working to achieve a common goal.”
Brad is an avid fly-fisherman, hunter and owner of Brad Nicol Photography and Angler Images (www.bradnicolphotography.com). He’s also a BHA Life Member and Colorado BHA Habitat Watch Volunteer for the Routt National Forest. Brad lives in Denver with his wife and three dogs.