Rick Hanson – Chair, Spearfish SD
I grew up on a ranch in central South Dakota, and like many others with BHA, I began hunting and enjoying the outdoors at a very early age. I was fortunate to spend summer vacations and fall hunting trips in the beautiful Black Hills. I was set free to adventure in these public lands where I imagined how the mountain men of old might have seen these places. I graduated with a history and American Indian studies degrees from Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD. Now I work for a building supply store in Spearfish.
I am lucky to live near the Black Hills National Forest, I am also privileged, to be able to hunt, hike, bike, run etc. on our public lands not only in SD but many western states. I understand the importance of keeping public lands in our public hands. I want to be able to adventure into these wild places not only for myself but for future generations. Believing that everyone has their places that give them that sense of peace, and I never want to have to ask for permission to go on these public lands. I also know that these public lands are what makes America the best place on earth, we have a heritage that is unlike anywhere in the world, which I never want to see lost.
Justin Whitehead – Co-Chair, Mitchell, SD
I grew up on a cattle ranch near Sturgis, SD. When I wasn’t working or roping, I spent much of my time fishing, hunting, and trapping with family and friends. I was a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic in the South Dakota Army National Guard and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After returning from Iraq, I earned a degree in Ag and Biosystems Engineering from South Dakota StateUniversity. During my time at college, I started to hunt and fish mainly on public lands and learned new methods such as ice, fly, and bow fishing, muzzleloader and archery hunting. I also took advantage of the great waterfowl and pheasant hunting opportunities of eastern SD. These hobbies fed me through college and continue to be the main food source for my family. I currently live in Mitchell, SD with my wife, Michelle, and two sons, Gage and Clay, who all share my love for the outdoors and conservation. My latest adventures have been DIY horseback and backpack elk hunting trips in the Black Hills of SD and the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. There are not many experiences so hard sought and rewarding as carrying an elk off the mountain on our public lands. I have great respect for wildlife, wild places, and the opportunity to pursue them. I am a life member and volunteer for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and vice-chairmen of South Dakota’s newly-formed BHA Chapter.
Jake Worthington – BOD, Spearfish, SD
I grew up in Eastern Wyoming with always having a deep love and desire to be in nature. I grew up hunting pronghorn, sharptail, mule deer, and fall turkey. I always have been drawn to the mountain trout streams with a deep respect for the art of fly fishing.
For the last eleven years I have resided in western South Dakota in the town of Spearfish with my wife and three children. I spend the majority of my time on public national forest that this area has to offer. Here I pursue elk, whitetail deer, spring turkey, multiple species of trout, and I’m always trying to find new areas to backpack in this 1.5 million acre public land paradise. I find more enjoyment calling a spring turkey for other people, teaching someone the art of fly fishing, or offering my tree stand to a fellow hunter.
I love my public lands and will be at the front lines doing whatever it takes to keep these public lands in public hands.
Jesse Kurtenbach – Treasurer, Deadwood, SD
As a young boy Jesse was fortunate enough to spend his early years chasing his father around Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife refuge in Montana. Vivid memories of feeding swans, catching grayling, and trapping beavers resound from childhood. Like many, all of this time spent in the field chasing his father around was just preparation for when it was his turn to spend time in the great outdoors. Fast forward and Jesse has become an avid backcountry hunter and spends as much time possible in the western states chasing big game. The importance of our public lands has been drilled into his existence by a father who has spent the last 40 years in conservation. Doing his part to protect the future of these lands for future generations is the driving force behind the commitment to BHA.
Ashley Kurtenbach – Secretary, Deadwood, SD
In a perfect world, there would be endless amounts of public land with no posing threats to losing it, I could spend every second outdoors and make a solid living doing it, and consume bacon cheeseburgers and fries without getting fat… we can all dream, right? With public land issues arising more and more, and potential loss of these lands, I aspire to use my passion and experience in aiding to help with conservation and keeping our public lands in public hands.
I am Ashley Kurtenbach, a born and raised Iowa farm girl, and love brought me across South Dakota to the Black Hills area. I spend my spare time as an avid hunter of big game and upland birds, fitness fanatic, and outdoor enthusiast, and public lands play a large role in what I love doing in my free time. I couldn’t be happier to work with an organization like BHA, and I bring a dynamic drive and work ethic to the SD committee to protect these lands for us and for future generations to come.
Tom Kallemeyn – BOD, Pierre, SD
I live in Pierre South Dakota where I spend most of my time out of doors with friends and family hunting, fishing, and recreating along the Missouri River. I was born and raised in Pierre where I learned to hunt with my father, family, and friends. I went to college at South Dakota State University where I earned a degree in Civil Engineering and returned to Pierre to be a structural engineer for the State of South Dakota. After college, I was finally afforded the opportunity to go on extended hunts to a handful of western states in pursuit of bears, elk, and antelope. To this day whether it is pheasants in the river breaks or elk in the mountains of the west the vast majority of the game I have taken has been on public lands, and I can say with great certainty that I would not be hunting today without the opportunity that access to public lands has given me. That is why Backcountry Hunters and anglers are so important to conserve these lands and waterways.
Jon Duesterhoeft – BOD, Sioux Falls, SD
Jon grew up on a family farm in Minnesota. He owes his passion for public land hunting to his father who dragged him across South Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming to chase deer and pronghorn while he was in college. Jon graduated from the University of Minnesota with degrees in Physics and Mathematics, and then later from North Carolina State University with a Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering. In between big game hunts, Jon is an avid waterfowler who spends his free time from September to December in the many public sloughs of eastern South Dakota. He currently lives in Sioux Falls with his wife Kristin.
Tim Hagg – BOD, Humbolt, SD
I grew up outside of Mitchell SD and currently reside outside of Humboldt SD. In my free time, you will likely find me doing anything outdoors including hunting, fishing, shooting guns, or helping on the family farm.
Public land is important to me as it is predominately all that I have hunted for the majority of my life and want my experiences to be available for not only my families future generations but all Americans as well.
Michael Tollefsrud - Spearfish, SD
Growing up in Spearfish, South Dakota I was blessed with the opportunity to hunt, fish, and hike right out my back door. When I was very young my older brother refused to do anything outdoors so my dad drug me along. We went on hikes that I still feel today turned me into the hunter and hiker I am today.
I have spent the last 6 years fighting fire for different BLM offices around the western US finishing my career with the Ruby Mountain Hotshots in Elko Nevada. There I traveled around to some of the most beautiful and majestic public lands trying to save them from burning. When I first heard that fire was not my biggest threat to loosing my public lands it scared me more than fire ever had. I am very proud to be apart of BHA and am excited to keep fighting the fight to peek public lands public!
I am a Husband, father, arborist and avid archery hunter. I grew up hunting on a small chunk of family land in northern Minnesota surrounded by endless acres of public land. The places to hunt were endless. After grad school when I had time to get back into hunting I quickly realized that places to hunt were not as easy to find as back home.
Public land and public land access are very important to me along with wildlife conservation and land management. The ability to recreate across this great country on public land is an immense privilege and well worth protecting.
My career is as a consulting arborist and working with trees. But my passion is hunting and the outdoors.