Nick Kaufman - Chapter Chair
Nick was born and raised in Northern Indiana. His love of the outdoors began while developing friendships at a young age exploring the woods a
nd fishing in the lakes and rivers. It deepened over time as his friend’s father developed into an outdoor mentor. Nick is now an avid outdoorsman who enjoys hunting, fishing, hiking, kayaking, and foraging for wild edibles.
He has traveled to Canada on several occasions for fishing, as well as grouse and bear hunting. Nick has also traveled and plans to travel more, to states out west for additional hunting and fishing opportunities. He is a full-time Firefighter/Paramedic and relies heavily on finding solace in the outdoors.
When Nick is not in Indiana, he enjoys extended stays at his cabin in Northwest Michigan exploring all that the Manistee National Forest has to offer. One of Nick’s greatest adventure achievements is hiking the Grand Canyon from Rim to Rim in 2019 and 2021.
Nick is well versed in conservation and always stives to teach others about the responsible harvest of natural resources. He is dedicated to increasing access to the outdoors and public lands for all those who wish to enjoy its benefit.
John Kinney, Vice-Chair
John was raised in Indianapolis and like many of us was introduced to the outdoors by his father as well as other relatives. Fishing was his early passion with hunting taking the top spot later in life. After high school, John enlisted and served over seven years as a US Marine.
After military service to our country, John moved to South Dakota to transition, work and ultimately attend Northern State University (NSU), earning a BS in Environmental Science with minors in aquatic ecology and industrial education (electronics). While attending NSU, John worked in the Veterans’ Affairs Office processing incoming veterans and attended the University of Idaho under the national student exchange program. John focus, while at the UI, was on fish biology and watershed management. John also attended graduate school at the UI.
John recently retired from the federal government where he served in many roles while working for the Fish & Wildlife Service (F&WS) and Forest Service. His last role was serving as Deputy Grasslands Supervisor on the Dakota Prairie Grasslands. John has served as a district ranger in South Dakota and Kentucky, Resources Staff Officer in Montana, and several fisheries biologist positions through the Forest Service, including hydropower relicensing. John also spent four years serving as an ESA consultation biologist with the F&WS in NE Oregon.
He is an avid hunter and loves to hunt upland birds with his black Lab, Phantom. They can be found chasing grouse and woodcock with friends in Michigan before heading to the Dakotas for pheasant and sharptail grouse. Deer and antelope hunting round out the fall field time.
John and his wife, Karla, returned to Indiana to be close to their children, grandchildren, remaining parents as well as family and friends. They live in Evansville, Indiana.
John D. King - Secretary
As a lifelong Hoosier, outdoorsman, hunter and angler, the opportunity to champion for wild public lands, waters, and animals is a very exciting opportunity for him. He grew up in a small town around large farm tracts, but with very little private land access to hunt on. From an early age his father would take his brother and himself out to different Fish & Wildlife Areas, State Recreational Areas, and State Parks for hunting, or other outdoor adventures. One of his fondest memories is birthday “parties” when he was growing up, and his father would take a couple of John’s good friends and John on squirrel hunting and camping weekends at Jasper-Pulaski FWA. John was also brought up in Scouting and that has driven his continued desire for public service and giving back.
John attended Purdue University for engineering and now works for Cummins Inc. as a Service Engineering Manager for one of their largest accounts. He is proud of his company’s stance on giving back to each community and their commitment to a cleaner healthier environment.
Johns personal experience and the immense opportunities he has experienced on public land, i.e. turkey, squirrel, deer in Indiana, Wyoming Antelope, and Utah Elk have inspired him to seek out an organization that will defend and improve those public lands so that others have the opportunity to experience the amazing land we all own.
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.
Scott Salmon is the Executive Director of Friends of the White River, a 501c3 non-profit organization which works to sustain the long-term viability of the White River as a unique natural resource of Indiana now and for future generations. He holds a M.P.A. from the O'Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a B.S. from Indiana State University. He spent nearly five years with the Indiana Division of Fish and Wildlife managing pollution-caused fish kill response and riparian restoration, conducting environmental risk assessments, and planning aquatic habitat projects such as low-dam removals and streambank restoration.
Scott has held teaching, logistics, and leadership positions with numerous outdoor education organizations over his career, and maintains Wilderness First Responder and PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor certifications. He joined the Indiana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers board in 2019 and represents the Chapter on the Indiana Conservation Alliance (INCA) Steering Committee.
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 fishing, paddling, and watercraft skills on Lake Lemon outside of Bloomington. He took up hunting in 2011 and has a passion for mentoring other adult-onset hunters and anglers.
Tyler lives in Brazil, Indiana; with his wife and two children. There he manages Webster’s Mowing Service, assists in managing Webster Construction, works part-time for Moore Funeral Home, and plows snow in the winter.
As early as the age of 5, he was and still is obsessed with everything outdoors. His father started taking him bow hunting when he was 7, and that ignited a passion in him that is still burning 24 years later.
Tyler’s fixation with public land is ensuring its preservation for his children and future generations. He wants the land to be cherished, respected, and to remain in public hands so that our youth can continue to enjoy them as we do.
Jesse Cano is an Evansville, Indiana native. His outdoor beginnings were similar to most of us, shared and taught by his father. Going on hunts at a young age and following behind his father into what seemed to be endless wilderness were some of the most significant moments of his life. It sparked interest in him to know more about what it means to be a true outdoorsman. That we aren’t just takers from wild places, but truly the ones carrying out conservation practices.
Today Jesse has taken that early-on inspiration and amplified it by enjoying a wide variety of outdoor pursuits. Back country camping, fly fishing, and hunting whitetails remain his core endeavors. He recently graduated from the University of Southern Indiana as a double major studying Criminal Justice and Sociology.
Jesse became a member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers initially to be involved in giving back and supporting the places that have given him so much. He started as a volunteer and became a board member in early April of 2020 for the Indiana Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, he serves as a resource for the southwestern part of the state.
Hillary is a southern Indiana native who enjoys pursuing all types of outdoor activities
with her husband, Travis, baby daughter, Lillian, and their four dogs. At the top of their list of
outdoor pursuits is whitetail hunting, followed in no particular order by turkey hunting, small
game hunting, fishing, shed hunting, mushroom hunting, trapping, kayaking, hiking, and
camping. Hillary was introduced to fishing and hunting by her father at a young age and quickly
gained an appreciation for the outdoors. She remembers mushroom hunting and fishing with
her father when she was really young, then deer and turkey hunting with him as she got older.
Her mother also contributed to her passion for the outdoors through Girl Scouts, by being a
scout leader and camp counselor at summer camps for several years.
Unsure of exactly what she wanted in a career, but knowing it needed to somehow include the
outdoors, Hillary attended Vincennes University and the University of Southern Indiana to earn
a Bachelor’s degree in general biology. Her first job after graduating in 2015 was with the
Indiana DNR, tracking Eastern box turtles that had been translocated from the I-69 corridor
prior to its construction. After that, she worked for the Big Rivers Fisheries Biologist, where she
spent a lot of time helping conduct fish surveys on the Ohio, White, and Wabash Rivers.
Hillary’s first full-time position with the DNR was as the Assistant Property Manager at Sugar
Ridge Fish & Wildlife Area, where she was soon promoted to Property Manager.
As Property Manager, Hillary oversees operations on approximately 14,500 acres of public land
in southwest Indiana. She has a first-hand understanding of the challenges that our public
lands area facing, such as invasive species, habitat succession, carelessness of property users,
and funding issues. She recently saw how big of a role public lands play in the nearby
communities when COVID-19 hit, and people took to these public properties in record
Hillary had been looking for an opportunity outside of work to help protect and advocate for
Indiana’s public lands, and found it in her role on the Indiana Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Picture description: Hillary with a doe she took in a reserved muzzleloader hunt at Tern Bar
Slough WDCA, along with a deadhead she was lucky enough to find that day.
Clayton was raised in rural Boone County, and like many others, was introduced to the outdoors through family. He spent his youth chasing rabbit, deer, and dove on the family horse farm with his grandmothers .410 and taking his grandfather’s (ancient) bass boat around Indiana lake fishing. His first exposure to public land was turkey hunting Greene-Sullivan State Forest with his father and family friend, where he watched 4 toms fight over a decoy as legal shooting light passed.
His love for nature brought him to work for Hamilton County Parks and Recreation through high school, where he discovered his passion for sharing all facets of the outdoors with others. When he graduated and went into the workforce full time, he started as a laborer for his uncle’s custom home company, before transitioning into superintendent for a high-end general contractor. Today Clayton is an independent contractor in Construction Management with a group that prides itself in responsible development and native Indiana green spaces.
Clayton’s personal outdoor experience has led him to chase adventure across many states, very often over his American Britany Charlie. From Montana sharp-tail, Minnesota wing shooting, Kansas quail, and NSTRA trials, if it takes a shotgun, he’s game for the chase. He has future plans for western big game, fly fishing (once he polishes up his cast) and chasing grouse in the north woods. Clayton is dedicated to sharing his knowledge and passion for the outdoors, and the wild places we all have as public landowners.
Will resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife where he works as a manufacturing engineer for Yamaha Marine Precision Propeller. Graduating from Purdue University in 2012 and moving to Indianapolis in 2015, his passion for the outdoors really grew as his friends introduced him to backpacking and hunting. From there it grew into an obsession with spending as much time outdoors and being involved with all activities revolved around that. Conservation had grown in his mind as protecting lands, water, and wildlife would be essential to keeping that lifestyle.
After discovering Backcountry Hunters and Anglers he quickly joined to give back to what had given him such value in life. He enjoys helping the organization do grassroots work such as cleaning up public lands, removing invasive plants, and installing duck house nests. He hopes to spread this interest to those who enjoy their time on public lands and preaches conservation as a means for future generations to experience the same.
Today, Will travels west annually to either backpack or hunt big game on public land. When he isn’t recreating outdoors in Indiana, he spends time working on a family property in Sullivan, IN to improve wildlife habitat. Will is also a member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and National Wild Turkey Federation.