The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently appointed Graham Geary to serve as an Assistant Regional Director for the Northern Colorado region.
Graham was born in Greeley, Colorado, and raised on a small ranch east of there on the edge of the Great Plains, a location from which you can see the snowy peaks to the west and to the east the vast grasslands of the nation’s interior spread as far as the eye can see. “We raised a few cows and rode some good horses and lived a pleasant country life,” Graham said. “I also split time in Loveland, Colorado, at the base of the foothills as a kid and explored the rivers and mountains there.”
He started fishing at a young age in the waters of Northern Colorado. “I was always enamored with fishing and being in the water and exploring,” he added. “I have many memories of wading into the Big Thompson River in my blue jeans just so I could cast my bubble and fly a little bit further to where the fish must be. Eventually my father recognized my obsession and bought me my first set of waders and fly rod when I was probably 10 years old, and I never looked back. I also spent a fair amount of time fishing with my grandfather in the lakes and streams of Iowa and on the occasional family trip to Northern Minnesota.”
However, Graham didn’t grow up with hunting. He didn’t really have any introduction into the sport and lifestyle until a good friend, Logan Hostetter, convinced him to get his hunter’s safety in 2017 so they could hunt pheasant in eastern Colorado. “We had become friends in middle and high school because we liked to fish and be outdoors and had a lot in common,” Graham said. “His family had always hunted so if I went to their house to study or stay over, dinner would often be a delicious meal of fresh fish or wild game.”
“That first pheasant hunt we shared was incredible and the experience of a beautiful wild bird flushing noisily out of the edge of a field, crumpling with a surprisingly well placed shot, being delivered back to hand by a good dog, only to be later turned into a delicious meal had me hooked,” he added. “I knew I had to go on more hunts and learn as much as I could about new species and new environments and look at land in new ways. Over the years I had developed a sense of how to read a river to find fish but I have spent the last several seasons finding ways to read the land. Where once I saw empty space now I see habitat.”
Graham has tried to hunt nearly everything Colorado has to offer. From mule deer and elk to turkeys and bears to grouse and pheasant and beyond! “Very much a generalist when it comes to the hunt and I look forward to the opening of different seasons and different species to chase,” he said. “Calling for spring turkeys and glassing for mule deer during rifle season are two favorites. As an angler I feel that I have been a lot more specialized in learning how to effectively catch trout out of a stream with a fly rod. I love to cast hardware or bait in still water as well but haven’t done that nearly as much and feel that I have much more to learn in that discipline.”
He hunts with a rifle, compound bow and a “trusty old Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun.” Graham first heard about BHA from an interview with Land Tawney on the Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast with Tom Rosenbauer, which led him to research BHA and the role we play in advocating for access. Graham went to Aims Community College in Greeley, studying environmental design, renewable energy and construction management.
“I am currently a project manager for a small residential remodeling firm in Fort Collins doing high end remodels all over Larimer County,” he added. “I am a carpenter by trade having learned some of my skills growing up in a house that was always under construction on a small ranch where something always needed to be done. I am recently considering a career change into the realm of land and water resources and conservation.”
“Graham had my full support and endorsement to jump on board,” said Sam Williamson, Northern Colorado Regional Director. “He's a great guy with a real passion for hunting and fishing here in northern Colorado and has been a reliable volunteer for BHA for some time now. He’s also a local kid, like me. We went to the same high school so he’s very familiar with the goings on in northern Colorado.”
Graham lives in Fort Collins. “Being a lifelong resident of this region, I have seen immense changes when it comes to population growth and more folks utilizing our outdoor spaces,” he said. “I think BHA can play an important role in this area by ensuring good access to our amazing public lands and wild places and encouraging good stewardship so that we and future generations can enjoy these privileges forever.”
Additional BHA/Colorado BHA Information:
- Colorado BHA Corporate Partners; Hunting For Sustainability (H4S); BHA’s Public Waters Access campaign; BHA’s Collegiate Program.
- Colorado BHA Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) program information.
- BHA’s Armed Forces Initiative. “Armed Forces Initiative-Get Involved.”
- Collegiate Quarterly: (March 2021); (December 2020); (October 2020).
- Backcountry Journal (Summer 2021); (Spring 2021); (Winter 2021); (Fall 2020).
- Backcountry Beat (June 2021); (May 2021); (April 2021); (February 2021).
- BHA National Policy Updates (July 2021); (June 2021); (May 2021).
- BHA Chapter Policy Updates (July 2021); (June 2021); (May 2021).
- “Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers 2021 Mid-Year (January-June) Report.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 8/4/21.
- “Colorado BHA State Chapter Leadership (Triad) Structure.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 7/26/21.
- “BHA State Chapter Development (Recruiting/Retaining Leaders & Avoiding Burnout).” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 6/1/21.
- “Empowering Leaders: It’s In BHA’s DNA.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 1/7/21.
- “Where Hope Lives: A Brief BHA History.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 11/30/20.
- “We Are Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.” Backcountry Hunters & Anglers: 3/2/21.
- Check out our Take Action Center and follow along with your local chapter to stay engaged on legislation in your area.
- David “Elkheart” Petersen (founder of the first BHA state chapter, here in Colorado, and a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) books: www.davidpetersenbooks.com
Founded by Mike Beagle, a former U.S. Army field artillery officer, and formed around an Oregon campfire, in 2004, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is the voice for our nation’s wild public lands, waters and wildlife. With over 40,000 members spread out across all 50 states and 13 Canadian provinces and territories—including chapters in 48 states, two Canadian provinces and one territory, and Washington, D.C.—BHA brings an authentic, informed, boots-on-the-ground voice to the conservation of public lands. Since the Colorado BHA chapter was founded by David Petersen (a former U.S. Marine Corps helicopter pilot) in 2005 (the first official BHA chapter), they’ve grown their boots-on-the-ground presence to some 2,500 dedicated hunters and anglers.