Utah Chapter Board

Joshua Lenart, Chair

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Although his dad is a bird hunter and his brother a deer hunter, Joshua is an archery elk hunter. A lifelong outdoorsman, he moved to Montana to chase wapiti across the public lands that support them after a chance encounter with a traditional archer in the Gallatin National Forest in 2002. Joshua holds an MA in English from Montana State University and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from the University of Utah where he currently teaches technical communication in the Communication, Leadership, Ethics, and Research (CLEAR) Program. His appointment is in the Departments of Civil & Environmental Engineering and Chemical Engineering. His research focuses on land management policy as it relates to landscape-scale infrastructure and its impacts on wildlife, habitat, and adaptation planning. Currently, he is working closely with several local and national organizations to research stakeholder discourse on the sale, transfer, and management of federal public lands. Joshua also serves on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources Regional Advisory Council (Central Region).

Feel free to email Joshua at utah@backcountryhunters.org with any issues, ideas, questions you have relating to wildlife and public lands in and around the Intermountain West.    


Perry Hall, Vice Chair 

A bit of an anomaly in the Utah chapter, Perry grew up in eastern Massachusetts, spending his summers fishing, shooting archery, and exploring what little public lands existed in the Greater Boston area. He quickly realized that his love of all things out of doors required a change. He migrated to his parents’ home state of Vermont for college, where he could pursue his passions of skiing and mountain biking. A bit of an adult onset hunter, Perry finally began pursuing the critters of New England after a roommate from Vermont got him into the deer and upland woods. Upon graduating from the University of Vermont with a B.S. in Recreation Management, he moved to Alta to pursue a powder skiing master’s degree. He easily made his decision to remain in Utah after one summer spent exploring the public land opportunities in the Salt Lake Area. After an extremely comedic first duck hunt, and an encounter with a bugling bull 30 minutes into his first elk hunt, his initial apprehension and excuses disappeared and you can now find him pursuing mule deer, elk, and waterfowl from August to January. After countless days spent on public lands hunting, mountain biking, backcountry skiing, and fly-fishing, he wanted to be more involved and jumped headfirst into BHA in the fall of 2016.


Caitlin Curry, Secretary

Caitlin_Curry.jpgBorn and raised in Buffalo, NY, Caitlin grew up with an innate interest in the outdoors but without vast tracts of public land nearby. After re-discovering her passion for fishing and taking up hunting as an adult, the outdoor bug eventually took hold and caused her to move to Utah in 2018 in search of countless public land adventures. Already an active member of the NY BHA chapter, Caitlin was well in-tune with the severity of attacks on public lands in Utah prior to moving, but saw the issue as an opportunity to jump in and step up for public lands in the middle of the crossfire. Though she is very open to pursuing a vast array of wild game, her favorite hunting experiences so far include bowhunting for elk and training her Irish Red Setter puppy for upland game. Professionally, Caitlin is a financial analyst with a B.S. in Business Administration and MBA from the University at Buffalo where she ran Track & Field and Cross Country.


Kait West, Public Outreach Chair

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My name is Kait West. I grew up in Central Oregon and moved to Utah in 2009 to finish my degree in exercise and sport science at the University of Utah. I grew up in the outdoors, skiing/snowboarding, hiking, camping, playing on the river, and rock climbing.  I didn't start hunting until I met and started dating my husband in 2011. It was hunting that opened my eyes to public lands issues. My vision for the Utah chapter of BHA is to stand out as a voice against the sale and transfer of public lands. My children (3 daughters) are a huge driving force for me. I want them to have the same access and opportunities in the outdoors that I have had, and that they deserve.I am excited to be a Board Member and look forward to growing our chapter and getting our voices heard.


John Fairchild, Policy & Access Coordinator

John_Fairchild_Pic.jpegJohn was introduced to hunting and fishing at an early age by his father, an avid outdoorsman.  Growing up in Berkeley California, their adventures took them to the Coast Range for wild pigs and black-tailed deer, to the Central Valley for doves and pheasants, to the High Sierras for backpacking/fishing outings and to Nevada to hunt mule deer in the Ruby Mountains. The decision to pursue a career in wildlife management was an easy one. John attended Utah State University and obtained a degree in Wildlife Science.  He followed that up with MS and PhD degrees from BYU in Range and Wildlife Resources.  While in school, he worked seasonally for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources and was eventually hired on to work in various capacities in their habitat management program. John retired from the DWR in 2016 after 38 years of employment with the agency; the last ten years as the regional supervisor for the Central Region. John joined BHA in 2017 because as an avid hunter, and someone who has benefitted greatly from having access to public lands, he saw it as an opportunity to continue advocating for policies that benefit wildlife and public land users.

Andrew Wike, Partnership Coordinator

Andrew_Wike.pngI’ve been using public lands for recreation since my mid 20’s. I am relatively new to hunting and fishing, but been lucky enough to ski, climb, hike, hunt, and fish in a number of beautiful places across this great country. I’m a public lands absolutist. Government officials threatening our public lands count on us being uninformed and confused by the bureaucratic process. I am committed to beating opponents of public lands at their own game. We need to engage with other public land users, strengthen our numbers, and focus our efforts where they will be most effective. The best times of my life have been spent on public land, I don’t plan to lose.


Melissa Early, Central Region Board Member

Melissa_Early.pngMy interest in conservation was forged in the smells of wild duck roasting in the oven, growing up in rural Virginia.  I remember my dad and our Chesapeake Bay retriever returning from early morning duck hunts, smelling distinctively like a swamp.  I moved out West after college, where I had my first taste of elk steak, hunted by my Wilderness mentors on National Forest, and served around a campfire while I was a park ranger at Mount Rainier National Park.  From backpacking 15 miles to fish in Yellowstone National Park’s wild waters; peeking out my tent on a Wyoming ridgeline silhouetted by golden aspens, bugling bulls, and setting full moon, in the Bridger-Teton National Forest; witnessing dawn’s pink light on Utah’s sagebrush sea to the tune of an active sage grouse lek on remote BLM wildlands; fishing unnamed lakes in Utah's High Uintas Wilderness filled with jumping wild cutthroat and starry night skies; savoring the taste of the firs in the ruffed grouse I shot and cooked with wildcrafted morel mushrooms; to the powdery slopes --- public lands enrich my life each and every day.  My M.S. thesis research at the University of Montana examined ranchers and farmers who are co-existing with native predators, or "farming with the wild" at the nexus of private and public lands.  I am continuously awed by the great migrations and the presence of charismatic species in the truly wild Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, as well as the Greater Sagebrush Sea in Utah and beyond. Our shared 640 million acres of incredible public lands are our greatest American treasure and must remain in public lands as our enduring legacy!


Brandon Savaiinaea, Southern Region Board Member

Brandon_S.pngMy name is Brandon Savaiinaea. I was born a raised in Independence, Missouri. I grew up around family and friends that hunted by my mother never allowed me join in on the fun. I mainly fished growing up catching bass, blue gill and crappie. At age 19 I finally had my first hunting experience joining my friends on a squirrel hunt. I wouldn’t hunt again until I was 28 years old. I’m sort of a late bloomer when it comes to hunting and virtually didn’t know anything about public lands issues until I started watching and listening to Steve Rinella. From that point on I was hooked. I lived in California for ten years before moving to Southwest Utah three years ago. I’ve been on many failed hunts in my short time hunting but I’ve had some of the most enjoyable experiences in my life hunting and recreating on public lands.  I knew that when I moved here that the federally managed public lands had been under constant threat. After two years of living here I decided to get involved. I had already been a member of BHA for a few years and then I heard the Muley Freak podcasts Western Slam with Josh and Perry on it that was hosted by Kory Van Tams. At that time we had no representation in Southern Utah. After meeting Perry at the Hunt Expo and exchanging emails with Perry and was encouraged to write an essay on why I wanted to be part of the Utah. In short I am just an average guy that is passionate about hunting and public lands. I have no background in politics or wildlife biology or a seasoned hunter. I am willing to put up a fight so that my children and my children’s children will be able to recreate and enjoy these public lands that many take for granted. My goal is to educate and drive membership in Southern Utah so that many will be able to understand the complexities and alleviate some of the so called fears and mistrust of federally managed public lands. 


Tyler Coleman, USU College Club President 

Tyler_Coleman.pngHusband, father of two, native trout conservationist and fighting to keep it public and protect those lands. I spent most of my life living in Arizona taking the public land for granted but after a few years living near Detroit, Michigan we needed to get back west were we belong where public land is abundant. I am currently the Utah State University President, work doing public out for Western Native Trout Initiative, providing brand content and manage social media accounts for fly fishing companies, work in the USU Fish Ecology lab, write articles for various fly fishing and outdoor media platforms and attend USU for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences / Management and Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems. Instagram @thecolemancollection 

 

 


Kolby White, USU College Club Vice President

Kolby_White.jpgI am Kolby White, I am 26. I was born and raised in western Weber County on a dairy farm. I grew up working with cows and on equipment. I loved hunting pheasants, ducks and geese on our property, but my passion has always been in the mountains hunting elk and deer. I served a two year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Argentina. When I came home I built air plane parts, but quickly learned my passions lied in the outdoors. So I left my job making good money to be a seasonal for the Forest Service. I am now attending Utah State University, majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Management. I hope to move into wildlife law enforcement after graduation. I can trace my passions for the outdoors back to a cold September day when I was twelve. My grandfather took me into the mountains, and sat me down on a hillside overlooking a meadow. He handed me a bugle and I made a lot of noise, none of which resembled an elk. However, a bull elk walked into the meadow and tipped his head back and steam left his mouth as he let out the first bugle I had ever heard. From that moment on, I have been hooked on spending time in wild places and watching wild animals. I love to hunt, fish, ride my dirtbike, go on adventures with my wife and two dogs (a brittany spaniel named Zoey, and a deaf mini Aussie named Lia), as well as work on the farm. 


Mike Moulton, USU College Club Secretary 

Mike_Moulton.jpegI got my start hunting and fishing like many of us did, by going with my dad on the weekends. I started just bait fishing but eventually was turned on to fly-fishing, which kicked off a lifelong addiction! I would also pick up bow hunting around this time thanks to my cousin who talked me into it. These interests would often take me places such as Boulder Mountain, the Uintas, and many other places. I’ve always enjoyed big game hunting and while I prefer archery I don’t mind using a rifle or muzzleloader either. Aside from big game I love to hunt upland game such as chukar or grouse and it’d be a tough decision if I ever had to pick between the two. I served in the U.S. Navy and was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia where I spent a few seasons chasing whitetails, but I’m now back in Utah chasing elk and attending college at Utah State University. I’m dual majoring in Wildlife Ecology and Management, Rangeland Ecology and Management, and minoring in Fisheries sciences. Growing up I took our public lands for granted, however, during my time in Virginia I was made aware of how important it is since there was so little available for hunters and anglers to enjoy. I look forward to doing my part to help ensure Utah’s public land stays public!


Mark Devey, USU College Club Treasurer

Mark_Devey.pngSome of my favorite and most influential childhood experiences were fishing, hiking, and camping on national parks, national forests, BLM land, and state parks throughout Utah and the intermountain west. These early experiences greatly influenced my choice to get a BS in Management & Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems at Utah State University, where I have extended my studies as a MS student in Watershed Sciences. My academic interests include the intersection of geomorphology and geochemistry with aquatic ecology and restoration. However, my past work experience has also instilled in me a passion for working with private landowners to manage natural resources in a way that benefits everybody, including public access and fish and wildlife habitat. As a trout fishing addict, I depend upon access and responsible use of public lands in Utah and beyond, but I enjoy hiking and riding mountain bikes on them as well. I habitually jump on any opportunity I can get to help out in aquatic research projects, habitat restoration, outreach, and public lands cleanups here in northern Utah.


Jay Banta, Board Member Emeritus

Unknown.jpgJay was raised in the farm country of the Salinas Valley of California. He developed a passion for all things outdoors at a very early age and was engaged in studying birds of all kinds by the time he was 7 or 8 years old. He fondly remembers his early hunting forays, riding his bike across his small community and going down to the river to chase quail, cottontails and an occasional duck.

This love of wildlife led him to a degree in wildlife management from Humboldt State University in 1978. Soon after, he embarked on a career as a wildlife technician, working on national wildlife refuges in California, Nevada, Minnesota, and Utah. This was followed by a six year tour as a Wildlife Biologist for the Department of Army in Oklahoma and then a transfer back to the National Wildlife Refuge System as the Refuge Manager at the Bill Williams NWR in Arizona. After a couple of hot years on Lake Havasu, he transferred back to his dream station, the Fish Springs NWR where he remained as the Refuge Manager for 19 years before retiring in March of 2010.

Aside from watching birds, Jay is a passionate spring turkey hunter and enjoys pursuing all upland birds in the fall. He views his work with BHA as a stellar opportunity to continue to contribute to the habitat conservation that has been core to his world for over 40 years. He now lives in beautiful Torrey, UT and is the proud father of two wonderful kids and the most wonderful granddaughter in the whole world!

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