Chapter Board

kurt.ratzlaff.pngKurt Ratzlaff, Chairman 

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.

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 Dessert, 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. 

jeffery.hancok.pngJeffrey Hancock, Vice Chair 

Jeffrey started his passion for the outdoors through his grandfather, generally hunting the open prairie and farm fields of Kansas for Mr. Bobwhite behind fantastic dogs or fishing anything from farm ponds to the Kenai River. As an avid upland hunter, he fervently hunts upland game behind his beloved Llewellin, Stella, anywhere he can afford the time and money to go. These adventures have taken him from the fields of Montana to the deserts of Arizona and everything between, but there’s no place like home.If upland hunting wasn’t enough, along the way he picked up big game hunting … and a second mortgage.Those adventures have taken him to Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, and of course Kansas whitetails. You would think with all that experience he would have written a big game recipe book by now, but that would require more than limited success. Gamedaywith him is buried with his roots in upland hunting behind a dog and simply being in pursuit, with or without success. All of these adventures have taken place on public land and now preserving these lands has become an unrelenting passion for him.

Jeffrey lives in Manhattan, Kansas with his awesome, beautiful, forgiving, and understanding wife Jennifer and their two kids Belle and Dash, who also go on these adventures when possible (skipping school for hunting and fishing is OK in the Hancock house). Jeffrey is an engineer and owns a successful civil engineering and land surveying company in Manhattan.

marshal.loftus.pngMarshal Loftus

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.

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.



Matt Epperson, Secretary  

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 gam






josh.nicolay.pngJosh 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.





Jedediah Reece

   Jedediah Reece is a husband, father, hunter, fisher, and optometrist. In his professional life every day he gets to tell parents to take their kids outside due to the studies that show a decrease in progression of myopia (near-sightedness) corresponding to being outside! He grew up hunting and fishing in the great state of Kansas. As a toddler, his father would take him hunting and fishing, and he is now doing the same with his son, even if it’s for only 20 minutes due to his patience. He is 1/4th Muscogee (Creek) nation, which he likes to think helps him feel a deep connection to the outdoors. 

    He never realized how important public lands were until he started following the big names and organizations of today’s voices for public lands.  Jed has been reaping the benefits of those lands for years without knowing and appreciating how they came into existence.  Now that he has 2 kids with his beautiful wife, he  wants to make sure that they will have the same or better opportunities on public land that he had when they grow up. He and his father have enjoyed taking his  young nephew out for hunting deer, pheasant, quail, rabbits, and squirrels these past couple years now that he’s proficient and safe with a gun. He’s  volunteered for Pass It On Outdoor Mentors, which helps get kids and teenagers acquainted with hunting. He has also volunteered at a few events in the past with the Flatlanders Fly Fishing club that focused on taking kids fishing and teaching them how to tie a fly.  He enjoys going to BHA pint nights and other events here in his hometown of Wichita He’s looking forward to making Kansas BHA chapter a bigger name in the Kansas outdoor community and passing on the tradition of enjoying the public lands and waters that we have in the USA. 

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.




Click here to contact the Kansas chapter board.