Neil Summers, Co-Chair
Neil is one of the founding board members of the Indiana BHA chapter. His main reason for joining is because his roots are strongly planted in the National Forest and as such has a deep respect for our public lands. He also wants his son, Wyatt, to have the same, if not more opportunities than he had to foster his enthusiasm for the great outdoors.
Robert Seilheimer - Co-Chair
I am 32 years old and currently reside in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have an associate degree in respiratory care and a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and supervision from Purdue University. I am married with two children. I currently work as a respiratory therapist in a local healthcare facility.
My love of the outdoors was instilled in me by my maternal grandfather and uncles. Public lands and waters were the canvas upon which those memories were made. My reason behind joining BHA is pretty simple. I am worried about what will be left for my children and grandchildren. I want them to be able to experience the adventures and memories I made and continue to make on our public lands and waters. A world without public lands doesn’t bode well for the future of American sustainability. BHA’s mission to preserve and protect public lands, waters and wildlife is paramount for the future of all the things we love about the great outdoors.
Mark Back Secretary
Mark Back was born and raised in Crown Point, Indiana. He has been an outdoorsman his entire life and grew up fishing with his grandfather. Mark learned to hunt on public land in Indiana and does most of his hunting on public land today. He now lives in Zionsville with his wife, Katie, and their dog, Nali.
Mark attended Purdue University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in health sciences and went on to receive his Master of Public Health (MPH) in health policy and management from Indiana University. After school, he served as executive director of a nonprofit that conducted medical missions to rural Haiti. He then worked for the Lake County, Indiana Sheriff’s Department as director of public relations and health care services.
Today, Mark oversees media and public relations for Indiana Donor Network and serves as the primary public spokesperson for the organization. He volunteers on the board of directors for the proposed Indiana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and as a committee member for the Public Relations Society of America, Hoosier Chapter. Mark is a lifetime member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. When he’s not working, he’s doing something on public lands and waters.
Ben Stout, Treasurer
Ben was raised in Northeast Indiana and was fortunate to be introduced to the outdoors by his father at an early age through hunting, fishing, camping, and mushroom hunting. Most of these memories were made on public lands without any second thought toward how or why we could use them.
Now as an adult, and with a few Western hunts under his belt, he has a deeper understanding and appreciation of public lands and desires to help maintain and expand them for continued opportunities. This, along with meeting other like-minded people, led him to join Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and help start the proposed Indiana chapter.
Ben currently resides in Fort Wayne and works in Huntington as a Manufacturing Engineer, leading many continuous improvement projects. He also is a Certified Energy Manager and leads energy reduction projects as an extracurricular role at his work. Ben is a founding Board Member of the Indiana BHA chapter and also a member of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and Association of Energy Engineers.
Raised in rural west central Indiana, Sam Shoaf was introduced to the outdoors at a young age. Deer and small game hunting with his father were the catalyst to a lifelong interest in the natural world.
Sam went to Purdue University and studied wildlife biology. There, he learned the ecology and management of ecosystems. From there, Sam moved to Bloomington, Indiana, and started his career in ecological restoration. He now works at Eco Logic LLC in Bloomington and has been able to work on many of our public lands managed by local, state, and federal agencies. Strengthening a sense of ownership and responsibility for these places.
Along with his daily work, several elk hunting trips to the vast public estate of the western United States has opened his eyes to the treasure that we all own and encouraged him to get involved in making sure public spaces are available for wildlife and people. Sam is also on a committee member for the Bloomington chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
Growing up in Seymour, Indiana certainly had its benefits, and I count hunting and fishing opportunities as one of the greatest benefits. My father, like many, got my two brothers and I started early with BB guns, shooting aluminum cans very early on. The weekly family traditions included school, sports, and church, but it also ended with a Sunday evening drive through Muscatatuck National Wildlife Refuge while the sun would set.
We would try to see how many animals we could find before it got too dark. Sometimes we even made the evening drive through the refuge with a Dairy Queen treat. My parents had a real love for the outdoors and wildlife, and they took the time to share that love with us whenever they could.
My first hunting experiences in Indiana were dove hunts with my dad and brothers by the railroad tracks behind our house. I spent most of those days being my Dad and older brothers bird dog, retrieving birds they hit. I wasn’t the best of shots, but after figuring out that I was cross dominant (right handed, but left eye dominant) I could easily hang with them. My mom is the one that actually taught us boys to fish because my dad lost his patience tying all of our rods up and then ripping our snags out of trees every 15 seconds. As we entered High School, we got very busy with sports, and hunting opportunities were fewer and further between. But whenever football ended, we were in a tree stand on private ground. My uncle would let us hunt on his property, but his good friend Brad Herndon gave us copies of his book called Mapping Trophy Bucks. This book was instrumental for me in learning more about deer hunting, but more importantly, learning more about the land, and the opportunities that existed on public land.
After graduating from Ball State with a Bachelor of Science in exercise science, I joined the working world, and finally had more time to hunt. My dad, my brother, and I have been enjoying taking every opportunity to hunt all the dream animals and locations we always wanted to hunt when we were younger. My brother lives in Arizona, so we’ve taken many trips out west to hunt javalina, quail, mule deer, and my brother has taken a few elk. My current interests are upland game hunting as I’ve joined the Indiana Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society and manage their social media pages. I hope to one day hunt ruffed grouse in Indiana because I think that would be a great conservation success. I also am a taxidermist doing mostly European deer mounts, turkey fans, and skull work. Hunting has always been a family tradition for my family and me. My wife and I now also enjoy getting her boys into the outdoors and away from devices whenever possible. I believe in preserving not just Indiana’s wild places and waters, but all wild places and waters. As I’ve grown and have had the opportunity to enjoy the various hunting privileges we enjoy here in the U.S., I am 100 percent positive that I want those places to be here for the next generation. That is why I am a member of the proposed Indiana Chapter of the Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.
Scott grew up in southern Indiana, spending countless weekends exploring state parks and forests, first with his parents and later through the Boy Scouts. He took three trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and developed his paddling and watercraft skills on Lake Lemon outside of Bloomington.
Luke grew up in Pittsboro, Indiana. His fascination with wildlife and the outdoors started at a very young age and it grew thanks to encouragement from his parents and extended family. Luke’s dad didn’t hunt, but he found a couple mentors to guide him and even tagged along on a few hunts. Thanks to his parents, uncles, and mentors Luke enjoyed some hunting success in his youth and sealed his lifelong passion. Luke received his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife from Purdue University. Time at Purdue gifted him the lens of the scientific method through which he gained a deeper curiosity for wildlife and wild places. Luke’s education gave him the opportunity to hold a variety of positions including wildland firefighter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Between prescribed burns and wildfire, this experience drove home the importance of disturbance ecology and early successional habitat. Additionally, Luke served as the Assistant Project Director for the Semliki Chimpanzee Project in Uganda. His tenure in Africa got him interested in wildlife conservation on a global scale and renewed an appreciation for how wildlife is managed in North America. Time spent hunting took a downturn during college life. Fortunately, between a few goose hunts in North Dakota and a tour of the western United States over several wildfire seasons, Luke’s zeal for outdoor pursuits on public lands was reenergized. These days, he focuses his energy by training and hunting with his first bird dog, a Small Munsterlander named Flax. Luke hopes to serve Indiana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers by mentoring new hunters and communicating wildlife science so that everyone can support it.