Denver Metro Chapter Leaders

Kellan Johnson - Regional Director

Kellan_Johnson-Brother.jpg

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.”

Eric Jones - Assistant Regional Director

Eric_Jones-Headshot.jpgEric was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. “I started angling in a creek behind my home around the age of 5,” he said. “I started hunting around 8 years old with my father and uncle who taught me a love of the outdoors.” Eric is currently attending school majoring in Secondary Education with a focus in Biology and is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) coordinator for west district Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA).

He’s self-described a “generalist” when it comes to hunting and fishing. “Meaning, I hunt small game, big game, and waterfowl,” Eric says. “I approach fishing in much of the same way. I hunt and fish on all of the amazing public lands in Colorado.” He hunts with a compound bow as well as a rifle and is planning to add muzzleloader hunting to his repertoire.

Eric lives in Lakewood and joined Backcountry Hunters & Anglers during the winter of 2017 after hearing about BHA through various podcasts.1 He’s also an Army combat veteran and served a tour in Afghanistan (2005-2006) as a combat engineer.

 

 

 

Noel Worden - Assistant Regional Director

Noel_Worden-Trout.jpegNoel grew up hunting and fishing in central Wisconsin. “I was ice fishing with my dad as soon as I could walk,” he said. “There’s not much else to do in the dead of winter in central Wisconsin. Then it was summer lake fishing, then on the river for walleyes when I got a bit older.” At about 10 Noel was allowed the privilege of sitting in a stand “scouting” for deer during bow season. “I was bow and rifle hunting as soon as I was old enough,” he added. “Everything I did was with my father and his hunting/fishing buddies.”

Noel has a fine art photography degree but has shifted careers a few times since college. He’s currently a software engineer. Noel primarily hunts/fishes in Colorado. “I hunt for most of the big game species: antelope, deer, elk,” he said. “The rest of the year I’m either fly fishing or ice fishing.” Noel hunts with a rifle and muzzleloader but is looking to add archery to the mix. He joined BHA after hearing about us from a few different podcasts and seeing stickers in the parking lots of his local fly shops. Noel lives in Loveland.

samwilliams.jpegSam Williamson - Regional Director

Sam was born and raised on Colorado’s Front Range, in Loveland, and grew up fishing the Big Thompson River. “I’ve been a fisherman my entire life. I started fishing with my dad and brother when I was just a little kid,” he said. “Back then, all I knew about fishing was a spinning rod and lure and catching rainbows and browns from the local rivers and lakes. My parents introduced me to the outdoors and their appreciation for public lands was impressed upon me at a very young age. They took my brother and I camping, hiking, and fishing every chance they could, and for that I’m grateful.”

Sam first picked up a fly rod while completing a Bachelor’s degree in Geography at the University of Colorado-Boulder. “Since then, fly-fishing has become a huge part of my life,” he says. He is also an adult-onset hunter. “I grew up fishing but never hunting,” Sam said. “Learning to hunt later in life has been one of the more challenging and profound experiences of my life.”

He started hunting in October of 2015. “My first hunt was a grouse hunt in the mountains above Boulder,” Sam said. “Colorado BHA’s Northeast Regional Director, George Robinson, was my main hunting mentor and the person who got me involved in hunting, as well as BHA,” he added. “I really got behind BHA and its mission while working as Operations Manager at RepYourWater, and I’m thankful to George and the folks at RYW for introducing me to BHA.”

“I enjoy hunting elk and deer all over the state. My first two elk seasons were spent archery hunting on the western slope of Colorado,” he said. “Last elk season I hunted close to home on the Front Range. I never fully appreciated how diverse a landscape we have in Colorado until I started hunting. Hunting has really opened my eyes to a new country, new people and the importance of public land. Colorado is absolutely stunning and I’m not just saying that because I’m from Colorado, it really has everything. I can now say I’m fully addicted to elk hunting,” he added.

Sam hunts with both bow and rifle. He has been archery elk and deer hunting in Colorado and rifle hunting in Wyoming for pronghorn. He lives in Fort Collins with his wife Lydia and dog Larry. “Without wild public land, public water, and wildlife my life would be very different,” Sam said. “I owe a debt of gratitude to the people who got me involved in the outdoors and guided me into hunting and fishing,” he said. “Now, I feel that it is my duty to pay it forward and help protect and support those wild places, waters and wildlife that mean so much to all of us. Proud Public Land Owner.”

“Sam is a welcome addition to the Colorado BHA Chapter Leadership Team,” said chapter co-chair, David Lien (a former U.S. Air Force officer). “I had an opportunity to chat with him at Colorado BHA’s recent 5th Annual Wild Game Cook-off and was immediately impressed by his commitment to protecting and perpetuating our great public lands hunting and angling heritage. Wildlands and wildlife need many more like him!”

Ryan McSparran - CPW Liaison

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.

Screen_Shot_2019-09-12_at_4.36.44_PM.png“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.

Brad-Nicol.jpgBrad Nicol - CPW Liaison 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

bryan_gwinn.jpgBryan Gwinn - Legislative Liaison

The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently appointed Bryan Gwinn to serve on their Chapter Leadership Team (CLT) as Assistant Legislative Liaison.

Bryan was born in central Illinois. “I started hunting as a child … bb guns, squirrels, pheasants and then whitetail,” he said. “My dad taught me how to hunt and along with my younger brother we hunted family farmland, fencerows and woods about 45 minutes outside of my hometown.” He attended the University of Illinois and, after working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. after college, Bryan moved to Colorado in 2005 and began law school at the University of Denver the following year.

Bryan met his hunting partner, Andrew, right after moving to Colorado when they both worked at the same restaurant. “I wanted to try hunting western big game and Andrew’s family hunting trips were petering out,” he explained. “So, we linked up and have been hunting deer and elk around Colorado for over 15 years now.” Bryan hunts with both a rifle and a compound bow.

“I bow hunt for elk and rifle hunt for deer each year. I was fortunate enough to draw a tag and took a nice ram with my bow in 2017,” he added. “Every few years I get back to Illinois for deer camp and tree-stand whitetail hunting. And I try to do as much pheasant, turkey, quail, and small game as I get invited to do or can squeeze in otherwise. I am building points on antelope and moose and looking forward to burning my elk points on a good unit very soon. I’m a willing fisherman and novice fly fisherman.”

Bryan has lived in south Denver, near DU, since 2007. He’s a lawyer in private practice for eleven years. “My practice consists mostly of business law, real estate, civil litigation and other ‘country-lawyer’ matters that my clients bring my way,” he said.

Bryan and his wife, Kara, have three kids: Harlan (8), Colette (5), Joni (2) and a dog, Boone. “We spend a lot of time at our cabin near Del Norte in the San Juan Mountains and spend a week each summer on a lake in northern Minnesota,” he added. Bryan joined BHA after hearing about the organization through Steven Rinella/Meateater.