Adam Leitschuh, Chairman
I was born in Colorado but spent majority of youth growing up camping and fishing in the Sierra Nevada’s of Northern California. Started hunting shortly after high school and moved to Idaho to go to college at Boise State University. Hunted in California on summer and winter breaks until gained residency in Idaho to afford tags on a college student’s budget. Spent free time around school, work and rugby schedule scouting, camping, hunting or fishing on public lands. After graduating with a construction management degree work took me to North Dakota for the first time where I worked on several projects across the state over several years. Work then took me to Montana where I lived for a couple more years and met my wife. My wife’s career with the Air Force then brought me back to North Dakota.
In the past ten years I have had the opportunity to hunt multiple western states full of public land including Wyoming and New Mexico and Eastern states such as Oho which is at the opposite end of the public land spectrum. Growing up surrounded by public lands and waters and traveling and moving around the country I have experienced firsthand how easy it is to take public lands and waters for granted when it’s there. Without people acting that may not always be the case. No matter where that public land or water is how small or large it deserves our attention and protection.
Russ Senske, CO-Chair
Russ joined Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in 2015 because of his passion for keeping public lands in public hands. From a young age Russ had an affinity for the outdoors and natural resources. Originally from northern Wisconsin, he grew up hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and camping on private, state and national forests.
He attended Northland College, located on the south shore of Lake Superior, because of his passion for the natural resources field and the amount of public access for hunting and fishing. Russ majored in Restoration Ecology and Biology, and continued hunting and fishing in his free time. While attending college, he started Northland College Sportsmen’s Club which continues today.
Today Russ lives in Bismarck, North Dakota working for the Department of Transportation as an Environmental Scientist. He is fortunate to spend much of his time hunting and fishing on public lands throughout North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
Darrin Underhill, Secretary
Growing up in the Brainerd Lakes Area of central Minnesota, Darin was provided with the opportunity to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors on both public and private lands. College brought him west to the Fargo-Moorhead area in 2007. The public land access in North Dakota allowed Darin to enjoy waterfowl and pheasant hunting. In the fall of 2017, he went on his first elk archery hunt in northern Colorado on public lands. It was that trip that made him realize how fortunate we are within this country to have access to public lands and all of the opportunities that they have to offer us as hunters, fishermen and women, hikers, and outdoor enthusiasts alike. It made him recognize that these lands are worth protecting in order for all Americans to enjoy.
Kyle Mlynar, Treasurer
I grew up hunting and fishing in central Minnesota. After college, I moved to western North Dakota where I began bow hunting.My favorite hunts involve chasing critters on public land in new areas, especially remote and hard to access places. I enjoy hunting a variety of species but hunting mule deer with my bow on the Little Missouri Grasslands in the North Dakota Badlands has a very special place in my heart! I also enjoy hunting waterfowl, turkeys, elk and upland game.
Public lands have always been a big part of my hunting trips, but after starting to hunt big game and making more trips to western states, I have really began to appreciate their value. I joined BHA in 2017 in hopes I could help protect these lands not only for myself but for future generations.
J.R. is an avid outdoorsman who grew up in Eastern Montana. He moved to North Dakota to attend college where he earned aBachelor’s 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 he 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 he 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.
I grew up on a hobby farm in central MN hunting and fishing anything that was in season mostly on private land. Moving to North Dakota for college I instantly fell in love with the vibrant waterfowling the state has to offer and in short time started pursuing all of the seasons available while enjoying the countless acres of public land the state has to offer. During that period I experienced the ups and downs of public land hunting and the feeling of accomplishment that goes along with successful harvests. I have both hunted and canoed extensively in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in Northern MN as well as canoed parts of the Red River of the North and the Little Missouri River both in ND. I have both hiked and hunted in parts of the Sheyenne National Grasslands and the Little Missouri National Grasslands and have seen the impacts of development on these areas, and understand the need for responsible multi use agreements and development of our state and nation's public land.I now reside in Bismarck ND with my wife and daughter and own a small construction company, and hunting and fishing related website.
I grew up in the agricultural landscape of Iowa and learned at a young age the implications of limited access to limited resources for those of us who yearn to spend our free time in the great outdoors. I graduated from Iowa State University and shortly afterwards, moved to an outdoorsman’s paradise called North Dakota to begin my 27 year career as a wildlife biologist. Unfortunately, I have watched the same history of commercialization and loss of access that I witnessed in Iowa unfold in my new home. It is the same plague that has decimated hunting in many states for those with modest means, and 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.
I grew up on a ranch in Eastern Montana. When not working I spent a lot of time hunting and trapping. While going to MSU in Bozeman I 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 my wife and 3 boys in the mid 90’s, I became an avid upland bird hunter. It was ND where I also became a bow hunter, hunting deer on the public lands in western North Dakota. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate the public lands and the opportunities it affords every American. And North Dakota is also where Teddy Roosevelt 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.
Born and raised in the Gallatin Valley of Southwest Montana, Jarrod cut his teeth learning how to fish and hunt in the backcountry of the Tobacco Roots and the Gallatin National Forest. He was 3 years old when he accompanied his dad on his first hunt and 5 years old on his first backpack fishing trip. Jarrod credits the vast and wild public lands, and the experiences found on them as helping to shape him as person.
Jarrod lives in Williston, with his wife and dog Diesel, in the Northwest corner of North Dakota, which happens to be in the heart of oil and gas country. While he works in a support industry for oil and gas, Jarrod also strongly believes in the responsible extraction of these resources and use of the land. When not hunting, fishing, or hiking you will find Jarrod and his wife shooting their bows at either of the facilities for the Missouri Basin Bowmen, which Jarrod also serves as a board member. The driving force for his commitment to BHA is protecting OUR public lands for the generations to come.
I am a retired Civil/Geologic Engineer, married and father of two sons. I began my hunting career at the age of 9 shooting geese and ducks, and began hunting whitetails on public land when I was old enough to pull a recurve bow. I then made a trip to the North Dakota badlands in 1975 archery hunting mule deer and antelope and was hooked. Since then I've hunted and taken elk, antelope, mule deer, and whitetail on public land in North Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho mostly with a bow and arrow. I spent 3 years while attending college as a fishing guide at my brothers lodge in the Yukon territory, transporting and guiding fishermen up a whitewater river to an outpost camp 8 miles upstream. I spend most falls pursuing game in as many western states as I can draw a tag, and have had the great thrill of having my sons accompany me on some of these hunts. Having my sons share my passion for hunting and watching them experience success on public lands is what has increased my passion for preserving and protecting public lands for the this generation and generations to come. Having seen how public lands have been threatened politically, including ongoing attacks on conservation funding has fueled my passion to proactively protect our public land heritage. I am proud and excited to be part of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers and look forward to protecting and preserving our greatest public resource.
I was raised in Fargo, ND. I currently work as a Forester for the Fargo Park District. I did not grow up hunting and fishing but was always around it. I was truly introduced to it, in my early twenties, pheasant hunting and ice fishing. Once I picked up a bow and started hunting deer, it was all over, true obsession. I also enjoy fishing on one of ND’s many lakes and walking the prairie in search of upland game. In the past few years I have enjoyed bow hunting in the badlands of ND and the Sheyenne National Grasslands and have fallen in love with it. Hunting on public land is a different experience that truly feels fair, honest and impactful. My goal as a member of BHA and the ND chapter is to help preserve and create public land hunting and fishing opportunities for the next generations.