Ryan Cavanaugh, Co-Chair - Ryan grew up in Southwest Michigan surrounded by the Allegan State Game Area where he has been an avid Outdoorsman, and hunter all his life. Ryan was very fortunate to have grown up in a family that embraced the field to table lifestyle. During that time is when he developed a deep appreciation, and rapport for not only the game he was harvesting, but more importantly for the lands, waters, and wild places where game thrive.
After attending Western Michigan University, and living in Kalamazoo, Ryan moved north across the bridge to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. During his time here he has seen how extremely important our public lands are to the people, and the local economies of the UP. From Black Bear, or fishing guides, to leech trappers, and small business owners, they all rely on our public locales to bring people in from all over the world.
He has been involved with other outdoor organizations, and volunteer programs all his life, but the passion that Backcountry Hunters & Anglers brings is unlike any he has ever seen, or been a part of. Ryan looks forward to working with other Michiganders, and future members to Keep Michigan's public lands in public hands.
Allen Crater, Co-Chair -Allen is President of Stevens Advertising in Grand Rapids. Recently recognized by the Grand Rapids Business Journal as one of the top 40 West Michigan business leaders under the age of 40, he has coordinated the development of brand marketing strategies and the resulting creative execution for a number of local and national brands.
Allen is a husband and father of two boys that frequently out-fish and out-hunt him. He is a passionate outdoorsman and enjoys all types of hunting, angling, backpacking and watersports. A lover of wild places and the public land and water that affords access to them, Allen is committed to protecting this opportunity for future generations.
Allen is a Founding Board Member of the Michigan BHA Chapter and is also active with his local chapter of Trout Unlimited. He has served on the Grand Rapids Rotary board as its youngest member, was a former board member for Indian Trails Camp and the West Michigan American Marketing Association. More recently he has directed his attention to work on the board of West Michigan AAF – serving as Past President and The Salvation Army Public Relations Committee, among others.
Don Goris, Treasurer -Don Goris lives in Holland with his wife, Emilie, and three young children. He is the founder and president of Campaign Resource Group, a political consulting and fundraising firm. He grew up fishing, camping, and hiking throughout Michigan and Ontario. He acquired the hunting bug in his late twenties and is doing whatever possible to make up for lost time. Most of his time outdoors is spent in Michigan either in a driftboat or a treestand, with the occasional jaunt out west.
As a new father, he's thoroughly excited about the prospect of spending time outdoors with his children, and is involved in BHA to help make sure his kids have the same access to public lands and waters that he has enjoyed.
Ryan Tucker, Secretary - Ryan loves the outdoors and when he is not spending time with family; he is hiking, hunting, fishing (though he isn't very good at it) and camping. He volunteers with a few other conservation and hunting based non-profits. Ryan’s goal, through this amazing organization, is to see that those areas in Michigan that are "public wild places" stay both public and wild for his daughter and all the future generations of anglers and hunters, and increasing the quality of habitat through conservation projects in Michigan.
Mark Kenyon, Board of Directors - Mark Kenyon is the founder of Wired To Hunt and host of the industry-leading Wired To Hunt Podcast. He is a contributor for MeatEater Inc, a nationally published writer, and an avid hunter, angler, hiker and storyteller.
Sarah Topp, Board of Directors - Sarah grew up in Gaylord, MI where she now works for Huron Pines as the AmeriCorps Coordinator developing future leaders in conservation. Sarah was a member through this program herself in 2015 where she served with Michigan United Conservation Clubs in Lansing. She then coordinated the On the Ground volunteer wildlife habitat improvement program for 3 more years before taking the chance to come back to her roots.
She grew up deer hunting but took up bird hunting in recent years and fully embraces the active lifestyle owning a GSP requires. Between seasons, she ventures out on public lands in and out of Michigan to go backpacking the Grand Tetons, canoe camping the Boundary Waters, paddle-boarding Michigan lakes, mountain biking single-track, snowshoeing and scouting for the next hunting season.
Although her focus is on Grouse and Woodcock in September-October and December, she also spends time practicing traditional archer for October whitetail season, calling turkeys April-May, and enjoying the nicer days on the water fishing for walleye, trout, and panfish. When she spend time indoors she enjoys lifting at the gym, going out for a good stout or porter, watching a good documentary, playing guitar, and entertaining her German Shorthair Pointer, Timber and sidekick Lab-Terrier mix, Lucy.
Goals of hers are to spend as much time as possible enjoying public lands in Northern MI and the UP with her dogs and introducing a few new people to public land recreation as well. This won't be hard to do with the places like the Pigeon River Country State Forest in her area--feel free to reach out!
Dave Bowman, Board of Directors -Dave is a life member of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and believes that BHA bridges the gap between conservation and environmentally focused outdoor recreators. Dave was born and raised in Northern Michigan. After serving for 22 years on active duty in the US Army he retired and moved back to Michigan. Currently he is the Operations Manager for Waste Management of Northern Michigan.
Dave is married to Amy, and they have three boys, Nick, Josh, and Graeme. Together they spend as much time as possible carrying on the traditions of the family in hunting and fishing.
Dave grew up hunting and fishing with his Father and Uncles. After retirement Dave took up archery hunting and spends as much time in the woods as he can. Dave spends his free time hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, climbing, backpacking, and about every other outdoor pursuit you can do. Dave is currently completing a graduate degree in Environmental Management where he plans to put what he has learned to work conserving our public lands and resources.
Dave currently serves on the Board of Directors for Michigan’s Headwaters Chapter of Trout Unlimited where he focuses on cold water conservation. He is very excited to begin a focusing on all public lands issues for the entire state with Michigan BHA.
Amber Casey, Board of Directors -Amber was born and raised in rural West Michigan and was introduced to the outdoors at a very young age. Family trips would consist of fishing, camping and hiking all around Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Growing up with two older brothers, she was always surrounded by hunting, but it didn’t really consume her life until her late teens. Shooting her first whitetail with a bow when she was 17 turned into chasing turkeys in the spring and heading west to chase bugling elk every September.
She currently resides in Cedar Springs, MI with her husband and dog. They live very close to a 6,000-acre state game area which they frequent often. Growing up hunting private land, it wasn’t until her first elk hunt out west in 2016 and her first time brook trout fishing in the Upper Peninsula that she realized how important it is to keep our public lands in public hands. She’s very passionate about Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and will continue to work hard to help preserve our public lands and waters. She looks forward to meeting even more like-minded individuals and getting involved with other conservation groups. When Amber and her husband aren’t training for hunting elk out west, you can find them turkey hunting, fishing for steelhead, brook trout and panfish, hunting small game, and spending time with her husband’s family in the Upper Peninsula.
Stephen Daugherty, Board of Directors - Stephen is a self taught and first generation hunter in his family. He values the importance of public lands because without them he would have never been exposed to the outdoor lifestyle. Now he is passing on the tradition to his son and hopefully future generations.
Bob Busch, Board of Directors - Bob is an outdoor professional whose business is predicated on access to clear clean water. Bob is a paddler, fisherman, skier, hunter, musician, dad, not necessarily in that order. Access to public land and water is a basic right for all people, and he is here to help in it’s defense.
Dustin Nichols, Board of Directors -Dustin lives in Mid-Michigan, but the Upper Peninsula is where he calls home. Both of his parents hail from the U.P. and his roots are deeply planted north of the Mackinac Bridge. In the vast public wilderness of the Hiawatha National Forest and its intertwined streams and rivers is where Dustin cut his teeth and continues to hunt and fish.
Professionally, Dustin works for a large property management company, and is a licensed real estate salesperson. He is also the Co-founder of Lifestyle Lost, an outdoor lifestyle apparel company who donates 100% of its profits to conservation efforts. In addition, Lifestyle Lost coordinates volunteer public land and water clean-up efforts statewide to help maintain pristine areas and keep access to them open.
For Dustin, BHA’s mission reverberates loudly and his driving motivation is to ensure that the privileges and places that have so greatly influenced him remain available for his children and the generations after them.
Landon Dekeyser, Board of Directors - Landon was born in Michigan’s upper peninsula in the small town of Saint Ignace surrounded by deep woods and water. His love of the great outdoors is rooted deeply in his blood having many generations of outdoorsmen on both sides of his family. He enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities, but what he cherishes most is trout fishing and deer hunting.
He learned at a very early age the value of public lands. His family moved to the southernmost part of Michigan when he was 7 years old. In this area, there is little to no public land. Moving from an area with an abundance of public land, to farm land with fences and posted signs, it had a drastic impact on how much time was spent in the woods with his dad.
Landon considers himself an animal lover of all kinds. He values the life of every living creature and feels it is the duty of mankind to manage and protect them for the future. Combining this with his passion for the outdoors, his single life goal is to be known not as a hunter or angler, but as a conservationist.
Jeff Lipple, Board of Directors - Jeff Lipple is the host of Hunt Camp Podcast where discussions are centered around hunting, fishing and conservation. He owns Island View Resort, which is made up of cabins along the shoreline of Lake Huron. They are located within the Les Cheneaux Islands, in the Eastern Upper Peninsula. Also, he owns Island Charters with his brother Greg, which takes people fishing for salmon and trout, from Mackinac Island over to Drummond Island.
When he’s not in the U.P. throughout the seasons, he lives in Shelby Township. Him and his wife Christine have a Rottweiler and German Shorthaired Pointer. He enjoys craft beer and traveling, whether visiting warm places like the caribbean or adventures out west to Alaska, Idaho and Colorado. Deer hunting is his favorite way to spend time outside, which is typically done on public land in the Northeast of the lower peninsula. He also loves duck hunting, chasing upland birds with his pointer, catching King salmon and pulling jumbo Perch through the ice.
Courtney Nicolson, Board of Directors -Courtney was born on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and was raised with sand in her toes and messy tent hair in the woods of New England. She grew up fishing and some of her best memories are clamming in Buzzards Bay with her father. The passion for hunting came later at age 22 while living in New York City of all places. Her career has always been in the television world, and the transition into the hunting space came surprisingly naturally. From then, well, she’s been making up for lost time. Mentoring new outdoorsman is something that she is deeply passionate about so she is a Hunter Education Instructor and a mentor for various non-profits.
Matt Poet, Board of Directors -Matt was born and raised in Clare, Michigan where he learned about hunting, fishing, and the outdoors at a very young age. He is 3rd generation of the family owned company, Jay’s Sporting Goods, where he has held the title of Marketing Director for the past decade. Whether it’s being suspended above a whitetail in a Michigan hardwoods or putting a stalk on a Muley in the badlands, he cannot get enough of what the outdoors has to offer. Even during the winter months blazing a snowshoe trail in the fresh powder is something Matt looks forwards to. An avid lover of everything outdoors, he feels that everyone should get the opportunity to create stories and make memories with family and friends like he so gratefully has.