Colorado BHA Group Leaders
Tyrell Woodward: Southeast Group Regional Director
Pueblo/Colorado Springs/Monument/Woodland Park/Divide/Florissant area
Ty was born and raised in Lamar, Colorado. He grew up hunting small game and upland birds (pheasant, quail and doves), along with fishing the lakes (for walleye, crappie, catfish, small and largemouth bass), in southeast Colorado. Ty moved to Colorado Springs for college and started hunting elk, mule deer, and Arkansas River Valley whitetails, in addition to working as a seasonal employee for Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) and in the hunting department at Sportsmans Warehouse.
He heard about BHA through the MeatEater podcasts with Steven Rinella. “After listening to the podcasts and discussions with guests,” Ty said, “I decided that an organization with the caliber of hunters/conservationists represented in his podcast was worth my involvement and money.”
Ty has a BS in Biology from Colorado College and a MS in Wildlife Biology from CSU-Pueblo. He was a CPW seasonal technician for nine years and currently lives in Florissant, working as a Private Lands Wildlife Biologist, with a focus on Forested Habitat, for CPW, NRCS and the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies. “I currently hunt elk, whitetail, mule deer, and small game (still chase pheasants too), as well as turkeys,” Ty says. He hunts with both a rifle and compound bow.
“I would also like to note that I am excited to be able to pass along the traditions of hunting and fishing to my children as they grow older like my dad did for me. I have the support of a wonderful wife which allows me to spend time in the woods each year and increases the gratification of filling the freezer with game meat,” Ty adds. “I am excited for the future of BHA and my personal involvement. The more I invest in the organization the more I get out of it. I am continually finding that there are more and more like-minded hunters and anglers who also call BHA home.”
You can contact Ty at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Montgomery: Southeast Group Assistant Regional Director
Ben was born and raised in rural central Missouri, near the Missouri River. “I began fishing as a young child (too young to remember),” he says. “I started with rod and reel, fishing for bluegill and crappie in the Missouri River bottoms.” He learned to fly-fish at eight, catching rainbows in the spring-fed streams of the Ozarks, and was hunting at age nine, primarily for small game, mentored by his father and brothers. Ben killed his first deer at 11, and today primarily hunts the high wilderness areas of the American Rocky Mountains. “My passions are elk and waterfowl,” Ben says, “though I hunt everything from rabbit to turkey to black bear.”
Although Ben mostly goes after trout these days, given the opportunity he will gladly spend a weekend fishing for crappie. He hunts with both rifle and compound bow, but also shoots a recurve. Ben graduated from Baylor University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and currently works as a Systems Engineer with the Defense Contract Management Agency in Colorado Springs. He lives in Peyton, and says: “As a prior resident of Texas, where publicly available land is rare, the threat of the loss of public lands and access to those lands is an issue that greatly concerns me.”
You can contact Ben at: email@example.com
Russell Bassett, Front Range Sponsor/Events Coordinator
The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently appointed Russell Bassett to serve as the chapter’s Front Range Sponsor/Events Coordinator. Russ was born in the Panama Canal Zone when it was a U.S. territory, raised in Missouri and Nebraska, shipped all over the country and world by the U.S. Army (including a tour in Iraq, following in the footsteps of his father, who served in Korea), then spent ten years in Oregon before moving to Colorado during 2014 to be near family in western Nebraska.
“I’ve fished since I was old enough to hold a rod, and hunted since I got my first BB gun in elementary school,” Russ said. He was a journalist in the military and for a community newspaper in Oregon during his eight years in the Army, half of which was active duty and the other half in the Oregon National Guard. Russ has also worked for conservation nonprofits with a focus on fish habitat and sporting opportunity, including as executive director of the Northwest Steelheaders.
“While in Oregon, my passion was salmon and steelhead fishing, also off shore bottom fish, tuna and crabbing,” he said. In Colorado, Russ focuses on high alpine lake and stream fishing year-round on the fly and through the ice, as well as duck, goose, turkey, pheasant and dove hunting. “I mostly target trout on the fly, but will use gear and even bait if that’s what works. I am duck hunting most weekends during the season and ice fish during the winter months.”
Although Russ didn’t learn to hunt/fish via family, he’s had plenty of hunting and fishing buddies over the years, adding: “Right now, I’d say the friends I’ve met through BHA are my mentors. They are a wealth of knowledge that I learn a lot from.” He lives in Denver and is the Membership and Projects Specialist at the Colorado Press Association & SYNC2 Media. Russ also started Colorado BHA’s “Hike to Hunt and Fish” (H2HF) program, which facilitates group hunting/fishing (and other) backcountry activities for Colorado’s Front Range BHA members.
“When I was in Iraq, it was memories of fishing our public lands and looking forward to doing so again that kept me going,” Russ said. “It’s an honor to serve with other BHA members in protecting and enhancing the wild places and wildlife that bring me so much peace and happiness.”
In the words of the Colorado BHA chapter chairman, David Lien (a former U.S. Air Force officer): “The unique skillsets and innate selflessness that Russ brings to BHA — combined with his strong commitment to protecting and perpetuating America’s great public lands estate — is representative of the tireless work ethic and high values embodied by BHA members as a whole. We need many more like him.”
Ian DuClos: Denver Group Leader
Ian’s father joined the Air Force after finishing medical school and the family moved multiple times over the years. They lived in Oregon, Texas, Arizona and Alaska, where Ian started grade school, and ended up in Utah (where his father is from originally). They spent the next 21 years there.
When he was 14 Ian had his first hunting experience with a friend and his father, but didn’t take to hunting immediately. As explained by Ian: “Although hunting was not a skill or passion I learned from my father, he did instill in me a deep love for the outdoors and the solitude that can be found there. He would take me hiking in … National Forests from the time we lived in Alaska on, and many of our hikes became annual events.”
Ian was also a Boy Scout and learned many outdoor skills through the pursuit of merit badges. These experiences rekindled his interest in hunting. “At the age of 25,” Ian says, “I began to expand on my Boy Scout knowledge, and picked up bushcrafting. This self-sufficient outdoor mentality led to my interest of harvesting, cleaning and butchering an animal, which is where I asked my hunting friend of sixteen years to take me under his wing. It is now something that, together, we look forward to each year.”
In 2015 Ian returned to hunting via Utah’s mentorship program with an over-the-counter elk bow tag, for which his friend served as a legal mentor. He did the same hunt in 2016 and decided to make his return to hunting official by completing Hunter’s Safety at the age of 29. Ian and his wife moved to Colorado in December 2016, the same month he harvested his first big game animal. In 2017 he drew a Utah archery mule deer tag with his father, whom Ian has re-introduced to hunting, and a Colorado rifle mule deer tag.
“Though I have been a public land owner my entire life, and enjoyed its many bounties throughout the years,” Ian says, “it was my introduction to, and involvement in hunting that heightened my awareness of the fight for public lands. We as sportsmen/sportswomen have a great responsibility to the land that we use. We must not only educate other hunters and anglers about the issues we face, but all outdoor enthusiasts that recreate on public land, and invite all to join us in the efforts to preserve these wild places.”
Contact Ian at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Travis Cashion: Assistant Denver Group Leader
Travis was born in Denver, grew up in Parker, went to college in Boulder and now lives in Denver again (full circle!). As a kid he mainly learned to fish with an uncle on summer trips to his house in Indiana, then became interested in hunting during college and got his hunter’s ed. certification when he was 21. “Though not a hunter, my father was a major mentor in pursuing outdoor adventure and travel,” Travis says. “My uncles have been my main hunting mentors.”
He enjoys fly fishing the lakes and streams of the Front Range (and beyond), chasing squirrels, rabbits and turkeys in the foothills, and pursuing big game throughout the state. “I just went on my first bowhunt, Travis adds, “and recently inherited a muzzleloader that I have not broken in yet. Most of my hunting has been with a rifle.”
Travis has a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from CU Boulder and is a manager at a Colorado-based family entertainment center called The Summit. He also has experience doing contract work for BHA, working under State Policy Director, Tim Brass, compiling business sign-ons in support of our efforts to keep public lands in public hands. His first encounter with BHA was at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) backcountry angling seminar during 2015, where BHA volunteers were helping out.
And like most big game hunters, Travis remembers his first elk like it was yesterday, saying: “I shot my first elk about two months before my 26th birthday. After five days of hard hunting and several blown opportunities, my hunting partner and I set up on the last evening over a meadow to watch the sunset and reflect on our mistakes. As we dozed in and out of sleep, a cow ran out into the meadow and stopped broadside at 200 yards exactly. I leveled my rifle and took the shot. With only 45 minutes left of shooting light in the season, I was blessed with a final opportunity to harvest.”
Contact Travis at: email@example.com