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.
Jared Kennedy - Vice Chair, Events & Fundraising - Co-Chair
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.
Abe Bullman - Secretary
Abe grew up on a cattle ranch in northeast Texas where he learned the importance of conservation and developed an appreciation for our wildlife in Texas. A lifelong hunter, angler, and outdoorsmen, Abe has devoted a significant portion of his life to exploring our public lands both in Texas and the western U.S. He enjoys all aspects of hunting public lands from scouting in the heat of summer to the cold winter mornings spent waiting for the right buck or a flock of ducks to come close.
Abe's passion for public lands has led him from the casual observer to a full-blown advocate. He’s committed to leveraging all of his available resources to maintaining our public lands and defeating the effort to privatize and limit access to our public lands. Abe also co-hosts the Storm Water Creek Podcast, which is another avenue to help promote the conservation and use of public lands. BHA members often join the podcast to share stories and advice with the goal of helping listeners become more active in the outdoors and to educate them about both the opportunities available because of public lands and the threats faced by those lands. Abe is thankful to his wife, Tracy, for allowing his passion for the outdoors to grow and for supporting his advocacy efforts.
Colin McDermott – Treasurer
Colin received a B.S. in Accounting and a M.S. in Finance from Texas A&M University. He began deer hunting at an early age thanks to family influences and is fortunate to have access to a small track of private land in the Texas Hill Country. It was during his college days when he learned about the incredible public land opportunities we have in TX and across the U.S. He started chasing ducks on U.S. Army Corps of Engineer property and soon realized there were endless public land opportunities in our western states. Since those days, Colin’s been chasing big game and other quarry on public lands for 20 years. Fortunate to have discovered these public land opportunities while a teenager, this exposure has allowed him to develop an appreciation for our country’s public land resources, and the vast opportunities for both hunting and recreating on them.
Colin is passionate about BHA’s mission and he’s honored to be involved in leadership at the state level. He believes the Texas chapter has an important role in increasing national recruitment figures due to both our state’s hunting culture and our propensity to travel across the west seeking additional hunting opportunities. Colin has personally experienced the land access challenges that Texas sportsmen face and he hopes to improve and expand public hunting and river access opportunities in Texas. He’s committed to maintaining public opportunities both in Texas and across the U.S. for his children and others who are not fortunate enough to be able to rely on private land for outdoor recreation.
Todd Basile – Policy & Newsletter
Todd has loved the outdoors since childhood when he played constantly in the woods and marshes behind his East Coast home. Along with frequent crabbing, fishing, and hunting trips with his dad, these childhood adventures instilled a deep appreciation for the outdoors and a sense of responsibility to act as a steward for future generations. Having lived in several states since, Todd developed a passion for learning the new skills and techniques required to pursue local fish and game species in new terrain. He picked up fly fishing in Georgia during college, occasionally (ok, frequently) skipping classes to wet a line on the Chattahoochee River. He subsequently moved to Texas where he learned to chase whitetails with a climber stand in publicly-owned post oak savannah. More recently, Todd became an avid surfcaster for stripers and has chased black ducks in the coastal marshes of Massachusetts during a few year stint in the northeast.
Todd is now back in Texas where he continues to work as an intellectual property attorney, helping companies build and leverage strategic patent portfolios to protect their technological innovations and attract investment. As the Texas chapter’s public policy chair, Todd helps to educate public land owners about proposed legislation and policymaking efforts concerning our Texas public lands and waters, and more generally, promotes awareness regarding policy proposals that will influence the public wildlife resources that are so important to conservation-minded Texans.
In his spare time, Todd enjoys travelling with his wife Jessica and looks forward to many outdoor adventures with his German shepherd puppy. He can also be found tying flies and bucktail jigs in the winter months using hair and feathers from wild game harvested during the previous season. Todd is looking forward to his first western hunting trip this fall: chasing rutting elk with a bow in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Brandon Shook - Co-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 - Co-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.
Trevor Probandt - Events & Fundraising - Co-Chair - 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.
Jeff Bynum - Board Member at Large