Chapter Board


marshal.loftus.pngMarshal Loftus, Chairman

Marshal has had a passion for the outdoors and natural resources from a young age. Originally from western Iowa, he grew up hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking, and camping. Marshal attended Iowa State University and majored in Animal Ecology, with a concentration in wildlife management to pursue his passion for wildlife and natural resources.

Today Marshal lives in De Soto, KS working for Land O Lakes as a Master Research Specialist. He enjoys hunting and fishing on public lands throughout Kansas as well as other western states.

Marshal joined Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in 2016 because of his passion for public land and water access. His eyes were opened to the many issues surrounding public lands and waters after hunting in some western states. Since then he has been passionate about preserving public lands, wildlife, and access to them. He wants to ensure his children and all Americans have access to as many quality opportunities to experience wild places as he has had.

cody.hauschel.pngRob McDonald

As a lifelong outdoor adventurer, Rob McDonald has spent the majority of his life trekking over mountains, paddling across watersheds, and traipsing over vast grasslands. Whether in pursuit of game as a hunter, solace as a backpacker, fish as an angler, or simply adventure as an explorer; Rob has always been a story teller.

Rob makes his home tucked into the magnificent Flint Hills of Kansas, once termed the Great American Desert, the Great Plains offer Rob and his family a daily glimpse of strength, hardship, beauty, grit, and frequent impressions of God’s glory.

An outdoor writer, photographer, and blogger, Rob’s work is published in various outdoor print and online magazines. Rob’s deep-rooted and lifelong passions include: story telling, photography, and introducing new hunters and anglers to the outdoor spirit. These passions continue to direct and drive his work as a christian, father, husband, friend, and Outdoor Media creator. 

cody.hauschel.pngKurt Ratzlaff, Legislative Chair

Kurt was born on the plains of Colorado and grew up in his father’s small-town meat processing shop helping process beef, pork, sheep, goats, deer, elk, moose, bear, and anything else that folks would drop off. Luckily, the mountains were close enough that by age 16 he was solo backpacking and fishing in the Rockies. His passion for hiking and backpacking has now taken him from northern Montana and Minnesota to southern New Mexico, and from the Appalachian Trail to the Sierras and the Hawaiian Islands. His father-in-law introduced hunting for pheasant and quail behind bird dogs in Kansas and the Sunflower State has now been home for over forty years. Kurt and his wife, Michelle, spend as much time as possible afield with their English setters chasing birds as well as hunting big game on public lands in several states across our great country. They love to introduce family and friends to our public lands and The Great Outdoors. Kurt recently retired from the legal profession and now enjoys participating in the evolution of DIY wild game processing.

marshal.loftus.pngChad Woods

Chad grew up in Oklahoma where he was introduced to hunting and fishing at a young age by his family.   Deer and dove were the primary quarry in the fall, crappie and bass during the spring and summer.  Chad graduated from Oklahoma State in 2007, and after a couple of years on the east coast, landed in east-central Kansas.  Then western hunts for pronghorn and mule deer opened Chad’s eyes to American public land opportunities.

In 2016 Chad got a bird dog and has since jumped headfirst into upland bird hunting.  He now has two Wirehaired Pointing Griffons and one Pointer who he has chased quail, pheasant and prairie grouse with from the northern prairies to the southwest desert.  Nearly all of these hunts occur on public or walk-in lands.

Chad’s appreciation for public lands, and his concern about the threats they face, led him to BHA.  The work done on the ground by BHA inspired him to get involved to help improve access to and quality of Kansas public lands for hunters and anglers.  Chad now lives near Emporia where he has a career at a power plant to fund his bird hunting addiction.

matthew.clay.pngMatthew Clay 

Matthew Clay is a junior high and high school science teacher in Ness City, Kansas and a doctoral candidate in education through the University of Northern Colorado. In his time as a teacher, he has developed several courses and programs to get students in the outdoors. What started three years ago as a summer course that ended with a camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park has expanded to two separate summer courses, geology and ecology, each with their own camping trip in RMNP, both of which are open to students from two school districts. In his doctoral studies, Matt is interested in understanding how people form connections to their communities and landscapes and how those connections impact their perspectives and actions. He has presented across the country on impacts of getting students in the outdoors.

Outside of his teaching, Matt enjoys scaring upland birds around his Western Kansas home and participating in trail and ultramarathon races. He lives in Dighton with his wife, two young sons, and dogs. He sees the importance of public lands and BHA as an incredible tool for equity in ensuring that all children have the opportunity to have meaningful experiences in the outdoors. He is pictured with four students on the summit of Flattop Mountain in RMNP.

Tony.menke.pngTony Menke, Treasurer

Tony was born and raised in East-Central Kansas. He was introduced to the outdoors at an early age through fishing and tagging along on rabbit and quail hunting trips with his father and grandfather as well as “helping” grandpa on the farm. His interest in hunting and the outdoors continued to grow through hunting and fishing experiences with friends and family vacations to the mountains. Tony spent many days hunting quail, waterfowl, and turkeys on the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge and around MelvernLake as well as occasionally going to western Kansas to chase pheasants on public and walk-in access hunting ground. In college he started archery hunting for turkeys, which led to deer hunting and eventually elk and antelope. Tony fell in love with archery elk hunting in 2007 and has gone as often as he can ever since. 

Tony now works as civil engineer and lives with his wife and 3 kids just south of Topeka. Their family is very outdoors oriented. Beyond hunting and fishing (well, at least the boys and him like fishing), they enjoy skiing, biking, hiking, paddling, and a wide verity of other outdoor activities. Their family loves taking outdoor trips to see and experience the great beauty and adventure that mother nature has to offer to anyone that is willing to get out and make the effort to go see on our public lands.

Tony’s experiences have given him a great appreciation for the value that our public lands and adequate access to our public lands provide. He believes that we need to do whatever we can to ensure that we, our children, and our grandchildren continue to have the opportunity to experience and enjoy everything these lands offer.


Josh Nicolay

“There is a delight in the hardy life of the open. There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness that can reveal its mystery, its melancholy and its charm. The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased and not impaired in value.”Theodore Roosevelt

While Roosevelt may have been provocative in his own right, Josh Nicolay wholeheartedly embraces the principle that our nation’s spectacular natural heritage is an asset to be appreciated by the present and preserved for the future. A Kansas native growing up in Wichita, Josh’s first true outdoor experience did not occur until his early twenties and now he’s making up for lost time. As often as possible, Josh satisfies his passion for the outdoors through a wide variety of activities, including hunting, fishing, backpacking, and cross-country skiing (although upland bird hunting is his first love).

As a professional, Josh is an attorney with specialized focus on real property and energy development in rural Kansas. His work experience has not only provided him direct experience with the mechanics of public land and watercourse ownership, it has also deepened his appreciation for what’s truly at stake in the struggle for maintaining these resources. 

Josh and his wife Kandace (who also shares his passion for the outdoors) reside in Pratt, Kansas with their three children.

matthew.clay.pngMatt Epperson

Matt is a Kansas native born and raised in Shawnee. He developed his love for the outdoors through camping, hiking, biking and annual travel to Colorado as a kid. Following high-school Matt considered a career in wildlife biology but … squirrel … he discovered a passion for emergency services and became a firefighter. He has been serving the Shawnee Fire Department for the last 22 years, most currently as their Emergency Services Chief. Matt knew he was going to marry his wife Angela when, on their first date, she mentioned her childhood summers spent at their family cabin in Montana. Ever since, they have spent time exploring the great outdoors together along with their daughter Sydney. Matt’s passion as a hunter developed as an adult and is a direct result of the generosity and guidance of friends within the fire service. He’s hunted whitetail deer, pheasant, turkey and looks forward to broadening his skills seeking western big game.

Kyle Pokorny

Growing up in Nebraska, there was hardly a time when Kyle wasn’t in pursuit of some species of game or fish.  Before school he could be found trekking the banks of the Elkhorn River to check his traps.  On the weekends he could be found at his family’s 170 acres along the Platte River, chasing whatever happened to be in season at the time.  During the summer months, a fishing rod was rarely too far away.  

After moving to Kansas in 2014, Kyle began to explore public land around the Kansas City area as was required to continue pursuing his outdoor interests.  This is what led him to understand the importance of public lands, and ultimately to BHA.  These days you can find Kyle on public lands in Kansas, Nebraska, or whatever western state he is chasing game in.  Kyle wants to ensure that public lands have a bright future for all to enjoy and this is what has led him to join the Kansas BHA board.

When not hunting or fishing, Kyle enjoys spending time with his wife whether that is going to wineries, breweries, or if he is lucky, hiking or kayaking.  Kyle is currently a Structural Engineer at an engineering firm in Kansas City.

Matt Nicholl - Armed Forces Initiative Liaison

Matt Nicholl’s interest for the outdoors was sparked in his teens from many hours of watching the T.V. show “Bill Dance Outdoors” early Saturday mornings and saving up for the original “Banjo Minnow.” Suburban neighborhood pond fishing quickly turned into a love of everything outdoors and was supported by family and friends. Matt would eventually graduate from the University of Kansas and be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He spent most of his career with the 3rd Infantry Division deploying as a Tank Platoon Leader during General Petraeus' 2007 "surge.” After 15 months of stomping around Baghdad and Sadr City, Matt came home to start a career in IT, where he manages the Department Of Defense team for HPE Aruba.

Matt joined BHA in 2019 after learning about the developing Armed Forces Initiative and its pillars to support the Veteran community. Hunting access was always out of reach during Matt’s time in the Army and he wants to ensure future Soldiers have the access he was not afforded. 

Matt’s young family gets outside and enjoys the many adventures our surrounding park systems have to offer. Public land is limited, but available to those who seek it out.


Lynn Peterson, Vice Chairman

Lynn is a  central Kansas native who has always considered himself blessed to be able to live and raise his family in a part of the state that provides endless outdoor opportunities.   From quail and pheasants sounding off at sunrise or a skyline full of migrating waterfowl to the spectacular sunsets Kansas is known for,  all these things make it easy for Lynn and his wife Jan to count their blessings God renews each new day. 

There have been many positive changes for hunting access, but Lynn is concerned of the growing importance of making sure public access opportunities continue to increase in not only Kansas but this nation. 

Lynn’s career has been in agriculture where he works at the state and local level in the implementation of many government conservation programs which provide long term wildlife benefits.


Chuck Bartlett

Like most every young person in Kansas, Chuck started his education in hunting chasing quail and pheasants.  While his family was very engaged in fishing, it took a strong desire on his part and a kind mentor from church that ran German Shorthair Pointers to introduce him to the magic of upland hunting in the fields of Kansas.  As a Boy Scout, Chuck continued his outdoor education in camping and high adventure.  It wasn’t until he graduated from college that he was introduced to deer, turkey, and waterfowl hunting.  Today, Chuck spends most of his time in the field chasing whitetails, turkeys, ducks and geese in eastern Kansas while taking the occasional fishing or big game hunting trip.  With an intense appreciation and passion for the outdoors, Chuck also commits time and resources to conservation, outdoor education, habitat improvement, and monitoring changes in outdoor policy.  Helping others understand the beauty and bounty of the outdoor experience while preserving its legacy is woven into Chuck’s DNA.

When Chuck’s not outdoors, he’s working with clients as a civil engineer helping to make their lives better and achieving their goals.  He lives on the west edge of Kansas City and spends time with his wife of over 37 years and his four adult children and their spouses, celebrating family and life together. 

Chris_Watkins.jpgChris Watkins, Secretary

Chris is a U.S. Army Officer serving at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Chris grew up in Northeast Ohio and discovered his passion for the outdoors hunting farmland whitetail and fishing for crappie and bass in small farm ponds. Chris graduated from Norwich University, Vermont before being commissioned as an Army Officer. Throughout his Army career Chris had the opportunity to take advantage of many different outdoor activities across the country and around the world; hiking the mountains of South Korea, hunting turkey in the thick draws of North Carolina, ice fishing for pike in upstate New York, discovering the vast opportunities of public land elk hunting in the west, and recently enjoying all the game diversity we have here in Kansas.

Chris became a BHA member in 2019 after moving to Kansas and after learning about the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation and the Public Trust Doctrine. Until his time hunting public land in the west, Chris did not fully appreciate the fragility of our access to public lands and waters. He is passionate about preserving and expanding public land opportunities for future generations. At home, Chris has a wonderful wife Victoria and two children; Eric who is 11 and Kathleen who is a Cadet at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Click here to contact the Kansas Chapter board