Brock Wahl, Chair
A North Dakota native, Brock currently lives in Bismarck with his wife and two kids and works in natural resources. Growing up in a family full of avid waterfowlers, he wasn’t really introduced to the idea of public land and public access until he harvested his first two deer on public land as a teenager. “We’ve always been a hunting family, but it wasn’t until I started hunting out west and spending time on National Forest Service land that I took some ownership in our Public Land.” Now spending most of his free time with a bow in hand chasing Mule Deer, the North Dakota Badlands have become his home away from home and they formed a foundation for his idea of conservation and wild places. “North Dakota does not lay claim to any dramatic mountain ranges and our landscape can be a little dull by comparison, but I will always consider the Little Missouri National Grasslands to be the place that inspired me to get involved in conservation, they played a huge role in defining what conservation meant to me. The Badlands led me to BHA.” In terms of his work with BHA, he would consider himself an energetic and passionate advocate for public wild lands, and takes pride in being intimately familiar with issues. Brock has written numerous articles about the Badlands in local publications and the Backcountry Journal.
James O'Shea, Vice Chair
James grew up in Minot North Dakota, where he enjoyed hiking, walleye fishing, and pheasant hunting. While attending college in Wyoming he developed a passion for the mountains. When he wasn’t working on a ranch or in school, he spent all his free time camping, backpacking, rafting, snowboarding, and hunting. Later he moved to Grand Forks where he spent much of his free time fishing the Red River and lakes all over Minnesota. He didn’t get into big game hunting until his late 20’s when a good friend gave him a bow to use and learn with. With that generous gift, an addiction was formed hunting white tail and turkeys in Eastern North Dakota and Minnesota. However, the outdoor desires where just not being met. He decided to plan a trip back to the landscape he loved in the badlands and solo backpacked the Maah Daah Hey Trail. After completing the trail in 3 days he decided a change in his life must be made. He picked up and moved to Watford City that year. Now with the larger amount of public land in his back yard fills his whole life with the great outdoors. From shed hunting and wildlife photography to chasing mule deer and bugling bulls with his bow, “There are endless opportunities when we have access to public land”
He found BHA through a take action post and has since followed along with all legislation attempting to remove or develop on public lands that he holds so sacred. Within North Dakota he found many areas that he would like to improve on or restrict access to and was not finding the help he desired from other organizations. So, he sought out BHA to get more involved and is looking forward to protecting and improving our public lands for generations to come. “Invest in land, they aren’t making anymore of it!”
“One gift, one act of generosity, one word may change someone’s life.”
Andrew Sather, Treasurer
Andrew lives in Bismarck, North Dakota, where he works as a project engineer for a mid-sized manufacturing company. He grew up on the eastern edge of North Dakota. Being so close to the Land of 10,000 Lakes (MN), Andrew spent his early years on the water. As he spent more time in the outdoors, he was introduced to the pursuit of wild game. The fast-shooting aspect of hunting ducks, the patience of hunting deer, and the hard work of hunting pheasants sealed the deal for a lifestyle of hunting and fishing.
Now, Andrew spends much of his time in the field chasing ringnecks with his Fiancée and his dog, Raine, on the thousands of acres of public land in North Dakota. Coming from very few connections to private landowners, “my only opportunity to harvest wild game came from public lands, so I know firsthand how important it is to retain and expand the public land portfolio. Without public lands, very few people would ever get to experience the outdoors, myself included.”
When hunting seasons wrap up at the end of the year, Andrew spends his time outdoors skiing and pulling fish through the ice. As the ice retreats in the spring, he enjoys fishing the open water, camping, hiking, and taking photographs of wild critters and the landscape everywhere he goes.
“Public land has provided me an opportunity to get outside and enjoy what nature has to offer, whether that be hunting, fishing, hiking, or photography. The uses of public land for any individual are limitless, and that’s what makes them so important.”
J.R. Doll, BOD
J.R. is an avid outdoorsman who grew up in Eastern Montana. He moved to North Dakota to attend college where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from the University of Mary in Bismarck. Whether he was walking for upland birds, fishing for walleye, or hunting for deer or elk with his bow, for as long as he can remember, J.R. has been spending time outdoors with family and friends. Over time, he has realized he took for granted the many opportunities he had growing up with large tracts of readily accessible public land and ample wildlife. Since then, J.R. has been passionate about preserving public lands, wildlife and access to them. He believes the work that groups like BHA are doing will help ensure his children will have as many quality opportunities to experience wild places as he has had.
Darren Limesand, BOD
Darren grew up on a ranch in Eastern Montana. When he wasn't working, Darren spent a lot of time hunting and trapping. While going to MSU in Bozeman, he was able to hunt elk and fly fish for trout in some of the best trout streams in the world. Since moving to North Dakota with his wife and three boys in the mid 90’s, he became an avid upland bird hunter. Darren became a bow hunter while in North Dakota, hunting deer on the public lands in western North Dakota. As he has gotten older, he has come to appreciate the public lands and the opportunities they afford every American. North Dakota is also where Teddy Roosevelt's roots in conservation started.
"We need to maintain conservation efforts, not only for us, but especially for future generations. BHA is a great organization to do just that."
Dave Brandt, BOD
Dave grew up in the agricultural landscape of Iowa and learned at a young age the implications of limited access to limited resources for those who yearn to spend their free time in the great outdoors. After graduating from Iowa State University, Dave moved to an outdoorsman’s paradise called North Dakota to begin his career as a wildlife biologist for 27 years. Unfortunately, Dave watched the same history of commercialization and loss of access that he witnessed in Iowa unfold in his new home. This is the same plague that has decimated hunting in many states for those with modest means.
"In order for future generations to enjoy any semblance of what we have been so blessed to enjoy, it is imperative that we defend those special places remaining, which belong to all Americans, from those who only think with their pocketbooks or care only about the bottom line."
Jack Sorum, BOD
Jack is a retired civil/geologic engineer who is married and father of two sons. He began his hunting career at the age of nine, shooting geese and ducks and he began hunting whitetails on public lands when he was old enough to pull a recurve bow. Jack then made a trip to the North Dakota Badlands in 1975 archery hunting mule deer and antelope and he was hooked. Since then he has hunted and taken elk, antelope, mule deer and whitetail on public lands in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, mostly with a bow and arrow. Jack spent three years in college as a fishing guide at his brother's lodge in the Yukon territory, transporting and guiding fishermen up a whitewater river to an outpost camp eight miles upstream. He spends most falls pursuing game in as many western states as he can draw a tag, and have had the great thrill of having his sons accompany him on some of those hunts
Karen Seginak, BOD
Karen spent her childhood in Pennsylvania, and did not hail from an outdoorsy family, but two summer vacations in Colorado prompted her to head westward for college, where she earned a B.S. in Zoology. During that time, she spent virtually every weekend hiking, mountain biking, bird watching and exploring public lands there, which built a solid foundation for her love of the outdoors and for available lands to indulge in these passions. Heading northward from there, she obtained a M.S. in Zoology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and enjoyed many more outings and adventures in the vastness of Alaska.
Although work assignments as a wildlife biologist and life, in general, took her to various states and Canadian provinces, 15 years ago she fell in love with North Dakota and purchased an acreage in the northern part of the state that she now manages for wildlife. Despite no one else in her family being interested in hunting or angling, Karen felt the instinctive urge to do so herself and has now been passionate about such pursuits for 20 years, both domestically and internationally. Hunting in places where public lands are either not a significant part of the system or are very limited in size has made her strongly realize just how critical our rather unique system of public land ownership and access here in North America is to the vitality of so many forms of recreation, particularly in light of the increased urbanization of society in general.
Karen enjoys a variety of hunting types, from bow hunting to hunting with hounds, and virtually everything in between, has recently gotten hooked on fly fishing, enjoys backcountry horse pack trips, and is an avid bird/wildlife watcher and hiker too. She also has a strong passion for nature photography and writing about her experiences outdoors. As such, she embraces the reality that because so many in love with the great outdoors depend upon public lands, and because these lands contribute greatly to our flora and fauna, we all must do what we can to ensure not just their existence in perpetuity but their ability to thrive as well.
Nick Strand, BOD
Nick grew up in Williston, North Dakota spending as much time as he could outdoors with his family and friends, but mostly his dad and older brother. At a young age, he was introduced to bow hunting mule deer in the North Dakota Badlands, tagging along with his dad. He notes that while his dad got him started, he really owes his brother for getting him out in the field as time went on. “He is two years older than me so he had a driver’s license and an old pickup that ran most of the time. I probably still owe him ‘thanks’ for letting me tag along on almost every hunting and fishing adventure, cramping his style around all his buddies.”
Today Nick and his wife are back in their hometown of Williston, raising their two kids. When he’s not spending time with his family he can be found exploring the North Dakota Badlands, where his love for wild places started. It wasn’t until after he had kids, reflecting back on the memories he made on our public lands and thinking about future trips he had planned for his kids, that he grew concerned about protecting the wild places that are left. After continuing to discover illegal OHV travel in the Badlands, he started researching what could be done and how to get involved. That eventually led him to BHA.
“There are places here in North Dakota that would truly surprise you, and we need to do everything we can to protect those places.
Johnathon Torfin, BOD
John was born and raised in northeastern North Dakota. Growing up, he spent summers fishing the area’s small reservoirs or the big water of Devils Lake. In the fall, he chased waterfowl with friends and family until it was time to focus on whitetails. After attending college in Fargo, John graduated from Bismarck State College and is currently working on an Operations Management Bachelors from Arizona State University. He is currently employed by a local electric cooperative and also serves as a staff sergeant in the North Dakota Army National Guard, with one tour overseas. After moving to Mandan for his career, he began to rely more on public land for his hunting and fishing pursuits. In addition to hunting and fishing, John and his wife spend time each year exploring the west’s national parks and national forests. “I believe the two main factors to a quality outing are habitat and access. Compared to other states our size, North Dakota has relatively few public acres, and these lands that belong to everybody need to be protected. That’s what led me to join BHA”.
Josh Zifzal, Armed Forces Initiative Coordinator
Josh hails from Northeast Ohio from a family with a deep hunting heritage. He spent much of his youth fishing on Lake Erie, hunting small game in Ohio, and chasing deer in Pennsylvania. As a teenager, Josh watched the loss of access and the growth of leases spread throughout his home state. Ohio has very few public lands, which can make finding areas to enjoy the outdoors difficult. After moving to North Dakota with his family in 2017, he and his family had their first experiences with public lands. He quickly realized how valuable it is to care for and protect these public places. Josh spends his hunting season chasing small game with his children, in between big game hunting in North Dakota and Montana.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers began the Armed Forces Initiative in 2020. Wanting to become an active advocate for public lands and bridge the knowledge gap for new hunters and anglers, he volunteered to begin an Armed Forces program in Minot.
We must preserve wild, natural places for future generations.
Mike Bush, BOD
Mike spent his younger years fishing and hunting Minnesota's northwoods. Always interested in animals and animal behavior, Mike pursued a degree in Fisheries and Wildlife from the U of MN. After school, Mike began working on his dissertation in South Florida, working on fish ecology projects and Everglades restoration. Of particular interest were how Florida Bass and Dogfish (a very underrated game fish) were responding to the massive landscape changes that were happening because of landscape restoration projects. Mike spent a lot of time airboating across some the largest public wetlands in the Lower 48, interacting with fishermen all over who take great value in fishing this massive wilderness just a short drive from the Miami/Ft Lauderdale metro area. Mike now lives in Fargo with his wife and little boy, dedicated to the idea that if the people of South Florida can have such easy access to wildlife-rich public lands, the people of North Dakota should have the same.