Michael Panasci, Chair - Michael grew up in the small logging town of Millinocket in northern Maine. Wildlife and the outdoors were a passion of his for as long as he can remember. He would spend hours alone exploring the woods and the Penobscot River behind his house as a young child. He never had a hunting mentor, but would jump at the chance when the occasional opportunity arose. Once he was able to hunt on his own (and sometimes before), he hit the woods and water as often as he could. Before he could drive, he would break down his shotgun into a backpack and ride his bike to some woods a few miles from his house to seek ruffed grouse.
Michael received a B.S. in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut. While in CT, he became an avid archery whitetail hunter and took advantage of the state’s urban deer problem. A few field jobs out west subsequent to graduating college expanded his horizons to the opportunities provided by public lands. Soon, western hunting was within reach after moving to Lubbock, TX to start a M.S. in Wildlife Sciences at Texas Tech University. However, having developed as a hunter in Maine, TX hunting was a complete culture shock for Michael, and it took some time to figure out. He completed his M.S. and is now at the end stages of his Ph.D. in Wildlife Sciences at Texas Tech. He’s married and has a 2 year-old daughter and a newborn son. He lives for archery hunting white-tails, but also pursues wild hogs, sandhill cranes, waterfowl, rabbits, and anything else that provides good table fare, which is the source of 99% of his family’s meat consumption. He also archery hunts western public lands in CO and WY annually.
BHA was a natural draw for Michael, and his passion for hunting and science-based conservation led him to get involved in leadership at the state chapter level. He sees a TX chapter as filling a major niche on the national stage, primarily in relation to the land access challenges that TX sportsmen face. He also hopes to improve and expand public hunting opportunities in TX and more closely align wildlife policy with the North American model. He’s committed to not allowing the financial interests of a tiny minority to trump those of hundreds of millions of Americans, and is adamant that the American public should not be fooled into thinking that it is also in their own best interests.
Brandon Shook Director of Public Outreach - Brandon is a 6th generation Texan who lives in Austin with Kristen, his wife of 9 years, and his 2 beautiful, outdoor loving daughters. He grew up hunting and fishing all over Texas on both private and public lands. Brandon loves chasing whitetails and fishing for reds and trout along the Texas coast.
He is passionate about educating people, especially fellow Texans, about the value of being able to access and explore our public lands across the nation.
Brandon is fired up to help maintain BHA as the premier force among sportsmen groups in helping to preserve and protect our public lands across the nation. He’s enthusiastic about growing the membership of BHA in Texas and building the Texas chapter into a formidable voice influencing state policy-makers and politicians. He hopes to convince others that now is prime time to get off the bench and start getting our hands dirty in bringing awareness about our rights as public land-owners to the Lone Star State. Brandon hopes to partner with fellow Texans to finally become good shepherds of the public lands that we own.
Jason Norris, Director of Public Outreach - Through Jason's experience in the outdoors, he has developed a deep respect for the public lands of this country. This respect is what led Jason to become more involved. By joining BHA, he’s excited to add his voice to those seeking to influence national decisions that will affect sportsmen all across the United States. In striving to keep our public lands open and waters accessible, he’s also looking forward to new adventures and friendships. In his home state, he looks forward to working on these same issues, but also seeks to persuade policy-makers to open more areas for sportsmen in a state with severely limited public land opportunities.
Jason currently lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and dogs. Look for him out on hill country streams with a fly rod or fields and woods during hunting season.
Jerimiah Haughee - Jerimiah grew up in Tyler, TX and now resides in Austin. His first experiences fishing were on Lake Palestine where he and his grandfather would fish from a family friend’s dock for perch, bluegill, sunfish and catfish. Jerimiah began hunting at the age of 10 when he was exposed to dove hunting on leased land and squirrel and duck hunting on the public river bottoms and backwaters of East Texas.
Jerimiah’s first exposures to public land backcountry was a backpacking trip to the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The Durango Silverton train to Needleton and the hike from Needleton to a base camp surrounded by 14,000 ft. peaks instilled what would grow to be a lifelong love of the mountains and, unknown at the time, a passion for public lands and public access. A brief stint living in Summit County, CO at the age of 16 provided Jerimiah exposure to backcountry snowboarding, but he soon had to return to TX. Eager to return to the mountains, Jerimiah moved to Missoula, MT subsequent to graduating high school. Concurrent with numerous backcountry adventures in the northern Rockies and great times in one of America’s finest mountain towns, Jerimiah earned degrees from the University of Montana where he studied Native American Studies, Wilderness Studies, and Communicative Science and Disorders. His first exposure to big game hunting was an elk hunt in the Bitterroot Valley in 2007. After a day in the backcountry, his passion for big game had been established.
Upon relocating back to Texas, a state where some residents and politicians proudly boast that 98% of land is owned by the private sector, he realized he had to stand up for the protection of federal lands, waters, and public access to those lands and waters. Jerimiah is proud to serve BHA and hopes to turn the rising tide of land transfer rhetoric through community outreach and education. He strives to focus on the truth regarding access and management of federal lands relative to state lands, and to show how the federal model favors citizen access and use.
Jared Kennedy, Board of Directors - Jared grew up on the South Plains of Texas in the town of Shallowater. At an early age he began hunting dove and small game around the farms and CRP fields in Lubbock, County, but It wasn’t until he attended Texas A&M University that he really began to view fishing and hunting as a way of life. There he fell in love with hunting ducks, geese and whitetail deer all over central and south Texas as well as fishing in creeks, lakes and on the Texas coast.
After graduating with a degree in Agricultural Development, Jared moved to the Fort Worth area where he began work as a financial advisor. Jared, his wife Lana and their three children live in Aledo, Texas today and enjoy hiking, camping, fishing and hunting. It was after one particular camping trip to Red Feather Lakes in Colorado that Jared realized access to public lands was an amazing privilege worth championing. He immediately returned home and joined Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Although he still hunts private land in Texas for deer, waterfowl, turkey and small game, he and his family take annual trips to public lands in New Mexico and Colorado pursuing deer, elk and trout. His goal each fall is to make sure his family can live the next year entirely on wild protein.
Jared is committed to securing the future of our wild public lands, seeing to it that there is access for all hunters and anglers and that fair chase and ethical hunting practices are promoted in Texas and beyond.
Trevor Probandt, Board of Directors - Trevor grew up on a working cattle ranch northeast of San Angelo, TX and attended a small high school in Miles, TX, a town without a single stop light. He was extremely fortunate to have access to several square miles of land to hunt and fish, which he’d do just about every day of the week as a kid. He hunted first with a BB gun, then a .22 Long Rifle, followed by his Dad's .243 Savage and 20 gauge Remington pump, and finally with his first bow and arrow at age 13. He attended Texas Tech University where he spent many days chasing bass, pheasant, whitetails, blue and bobwhite quail, hogs, ducks, geese, cranes, axis, etc., while obtaining dual degrees in Biology and Exercise Physiology. After college he moved to New Mexico, where he was infected by the elk hunting bug while hunting the famed Gila units of southwestern New Mexico and the lands that Aldo Leopold hunted and wrote about, including his namesake wilderness area.
During this time, Trevor realized how fortunate he was as an American to access such wild lands across the western United States! And he found it equally amazing to see people of all walks of life using their land to recreate on as they pleased! What a truly American concept: that these public lands can be used not only by American citizens, but by any global citizen, including a very happy gentleman from France he met while elk hunting in the Eagles Nest Wilderness of Colorado. This man had hunted OTC Colorado for eight straight years, and this meeting set into motion Trevor’s passionate desire to preserve these amazing lands and opportunities to access them. Trevor has hunted and fly fished Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. Having enjoyed these treasured wild places himself, he recently joined BHA in order to help others in Texas to better understand the vast landscapes available to them, even if they aren’t right in their backyard. He looks forward to educating both current and future outdoorsmen about the vital impact hunters and anglers have upon continued availability to these irreplaceable assets of the natural world.