Brett was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., and moved to the West Slope when he was 3 years old. He grew up hunting and fishing with his dad, grandpa and cousin. “My dad was always the first to push my boundaries in the outdoors,” Brett said. They moved to Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, when he was 10 and, in his words, “Spent that year exploring the depth of what a life outdoors really meant.”
After moving back to Colorado, mule deer, elk and pronghorn were his focus. Later on moose and sheep become part of the hunting game plan. He’s also still looking for “that mule deer we all dream about.” Brett is a turkey hunter too. “Turkey hunting became a passion of mine while working in Wyoming,” he said, “and I try to hunt turkeys with friends as often as possible.”
After completing a Bachelor of Science in Forest Management at Northern Arizona University (1993) and a Bachelor of Science in Wildlife Biology (1997) at Colorado State University, Brett worked for the Colorado Division of Wildlife and later the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. After returning to Colorado, he spent 13 years-plus with the Grand Junction Fire Department. “I currently own a Coffee Roasting business in Fruita,” Brett explains. “I have enjoyed spending more time hunting and exploring the west since retiring from the Fire Department.”
“I am lucky enough to recently be engaged to my incredible fiancé, Beth, who has changed my life,” Brett adds. “We are planning several trips across the west and then the country. I am getting back into archery hunting and she wants to be a part of that by taking a turkey with her bow this spring. I used to take for granted public land was just always there, I see now we need to foster that resource and make sure is stays around for future generations.”
Central West Slope Regional Director, Craig Grother (a retired USFS biologist—with 33 years of experience—who resides in Norwood), said: “Both Lee and Brett assisted on our service projectinstalling a gate in the Dominguez-Escalante Wilderness Area, where illegal motorized vehicle use was occurring. They’re great guys and are perfect choices to represent BHA in the Grand Junction area.”
“Lee and Brett are active BHA members-volunteers and, now, leaders. We’re lucky to be on the receiving end of their passion for wildlands and wildlife, public lands and boots-on-the-ground advocacy,” said Colorado BHA co-chair, David Lien (a former U.S. Air Force officer). “Our members in the Grand Junction-Grand Valley and Mesa County region will benefit greatly from their lifetimes of hunting-angling experiences and public lands knowledge. We need many more like them.”
Eric was born and raised in Zanesville, Ohio. Family camping and fishing trips monopolized his free time until he started whitetail hunting. “In 1995, I found bow hunting and whitetails in the same year. I was just out of college and could barely afford the gear,” he says. “I was surrounded by great mentors that got me set up with a bow and I haven’t looked back since. From that point on I spent every waking moment shooting my bow and dreaming about wild places.”
He move to Colorado, with his wife Molly, in 2006. Eric is a Captain for the Grand Junction Fire Department and Molly is a 1st grade teacher. “We nearly went broke throwing ourselves into every outdoor hobby Colorado has to offer. We started backpacking and exploring the endless trails and public lands,” he said. “We climbed Colorado’s 58 14ers together and kissed on every peak. Amazing to think we hiked over 420 miles on public land climbing the 14ers, and that’s just scratching the surface of our public lands.”
“I love to hunt and explore new and wild places. I’m guilty of always wanting to see what’s over the next ridge, plateau or mountain, Eric added. “I have spent most of my Colorado hunting seasons chasing elk and deer with my bow. This has afforded me many trips into the backcountry. I have a deep respect and love for our wild places and can’t wait for the next hiking or hunting adventure.”
“Eric has demonstrated a strong commitment to public service in his role as a firefighter. We’re extremely pleased to now have that same level of commitment and selflessness helping Backcountry Hunters & Anglers protect and perpetuate our nation’s unequaled public lands hunting and angling heritage,” said Colorado BHA co-chair David Lien (a former Air Force officer). “Eric knows that, like America’s foremost hunter-conservationist Theodore Roosevelt said, ‘Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.’ We need many more like him!”
The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently appointed John Howard to serve as a Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Liaison. John was born in San Tome, Venezuela. He came to the U.S. at age 3, grew up in Dallas, Texas, and attended college in Virginia and at Oxford in the UK, then came to Colorado for graduate school. “Done a few corporate tours of duty in Chicago, Annapolis, and Montreal but we always came back to Colorado and we aren’t leaving,” he said.
“I fished for bass a couple of times with my dad and a lot with friends growing up. I always wanted to hunt but didn’t have any mentors offering to take me,” John added. “Plus, Texas, particularly East Texas, is all about private leases, so unless you had access to a lease it was hard to actually hunt.” At age 33, John bought a German Shorthaired Pointer (GSP), a Browning A5, took hunter safety at the old Garts Palace in Denver, and started bird hunting.
From there he graduated to waterfowl, then big game. “I organize trips from the same group of about 20 guys every year now fishing and hunting across the West and in Canada,” John said. “It’s been a long journey, but the fellowship of friends always made it a pleasure to learn, organize, and give back to the outdoors. Every five years or so I hunt in England with my mother’s family. It’s always a real lesson in the alternative to the North American model.”
John is a “recovering lawyer” educated at CU law (Class of 1987). During law school he got involved with the National Wildlife Federation Clinic, which started his conservation-related volunteering and interest in policy. He was an intern on both the antelope fence case in Wyoming and Whooping Cranes on the North Platte in Nebraska. Starting in 1992 he became a corporate executive and is now a small business owner. “We have a distressed debt business and a crisis management business,” John explained. “I was also on the CPW Commission from 2014 to 2019 and Chair the last two terms. On the Wolf SAG Committee currently …”
He hunts bear and antelope along with pheasant, quail, and grouse with his GSPs. “I hunt for bear and antelope every year,” he added. “Some years I go for deer and elk depending on invites from buddies. I fish spinning and fly in Colorado and in Wyoming and Canada every few years. Fly I’m going for trout and grayling. Spinning its bass, walleye, striper, wiper, pike, muskie.”
John hunts and fishes both on public and private ground and enjoys being able to hunt contiguous public/private property, to see the impact variations to animals and habitat. “Perhaps the greatest unexpected joy from fishing and hunting is how your eye begins to pick up on unusual things on the landscape, because now you are used to looking for them,” John explained.
He joined BHA a couple years ago. “I knew about BHA from my time as a Commissioner and as Chair for two terms,” he said. “I was so impressed with the growth, outreach to marginalized groups, youth, and energy that I wanted to be a part of that movement.” John is married and has two sons. “I hunt and fish with my youngest and it is the best thing to happen to me in the last few years,” he added “After a long time of me asking and offering, he took up hunting with a vengeance in 2020. Always looking for someone who wants to go bird hunting.”