Joshua Lenart, Chariman
Although his dad’s a bird hunter and his brother a deer hunter, Joshua hunts elk. A chance encounter with a traditional archer in the Gallatin National Forest sealed his love affair with the Intermountain West. He promptly moved to Montana and began chasing wapiti across the public lands that support them. Joshua holds a MA in English from Montana State University and a PhD in Rhetoric and Writing Studies from the University of Utah. His research focuses on political discourse analysis and the environmental sciences as it relates to wildlife and public lands planning, policy, and management. Joshua has published several studies on land and wildlife management issues including a two-year study on mule deer and ways to bridge what many, mistakenly believe, are irreconcilable difference between Western land and wildlife stakeholders. He is deeply troubled by the prospect of a federal land transfer, and is actively creating research and social networks to raise opposition against a transfer. He lives with his family in Salt Lake City where he teaches technical communications for the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Utah. Feel free to email Joshua at with any issues, ideas, questions you have relating to wildlife and public lands in and around the Intermountain West.
Chris Crockett, Treasurer
Chris has been involved in fisheries and natural resource management for over 15 years. He grew up in western Tennessee where his outdoor ethics were formed roaming 170,000 acres of the Land Between the Lakes Recreational Area. Six seasons on the North Slope of Alaska conducting fisheries research further influenced his appreciation of wild places and the vital need for sustainable resource management. In his current position as an Aquatic Biologist for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, he passionately protects and restores the state’s aquatic habitats and educates the public about the value of native fish and amphibians.
Chris is an avid upland bird hunter who enjoys pursuing the West’s many upland game species. He is especially enthralled with two iconic Western species, sage and sharp-tailed grouse, but his guilty pleasure is pursuing chukar partridge in the mountains of central and northern Utah. During the off-season he can be found hiking with his lovely wife Emily in the Wasatch Mountains, trying to convince his Llewellin setter Toolik to retrieve a training bumper, or kayak fishing on Utah Lake.
Jay Banta, Chairman(Emeritus)
Jay 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!
Dave Terrion, Central Region Board Member
Dave, a native to Utah, grew up hunting, fishing, and generally seeking outdoor adventures of any sort. At an early age he developed a profound love for spending time outdoors, especially with family. He studied Economics at Westminster College while working seasonally as a Wildland Firefighter. He continued fighting wildland fires long after college, deepening his love for the outdoors, and gaining an appreciation for and a sense of responsibility to our public lands.
Since 2007 Dave has worked for Unified Fire Authority, as a structural firefighter, in the Salt Lake City area. He and his wife Trina have two daughters, with whom they passionately share their outdoor adventures. Lately Dave is focused on archery hunting deer and elk, though he often turns to the rifle (or Trina) to fill the freezer. He loves to hunt waterfowl and upland game as well. Dave is currently building relationships with local Utah conservation groups, and working to unify the waterfowl hunting community in Northern Utah to protect local, threatened public lands.
In a letter he wrote to the Utah BHA membership, Dave argues:
“Regardless of political affiliation, in the last month, either before election day 2016 or after it, the vast majority of Americans have said ‘We need a Change.’ I firmly believe that we need a change, but I believe that it goes much deeper than casting a ballot. The change comes from all of us becoming active in our communities, and standing up for the issues that are most important to us. Protecting our Public Lands is the issue that is most important to me.”
Rachel Dees, Central Region Board Member
23 years ago a not-so-outdoorsy Rachel Dees walked into a climbing gym in Cincinnati, Ohio where she met and shortly thereafter married her climbing instructor, Josh. It took only one long weekend in Utah, for Josh to convince her that they belonged in the Mountain West permanently. Now the ultimate weekend warriors, she, her husband, and “the boy” can be found rock climbing, skiing, ice-climbing, or back-packing and, of course, fly fishing in the Utah backcountry.
Just as Utah has been the backdrop for diverse, world class outdoor adventure sports, Utah has also been at the epicenter of one of the largest assaults on public lands known. Galvanized into action by the “Public Lands Initiative,” and compelled by her love affair with the outdoors, Rachel leverages her over 15 years’ experience in technology sales, to advance conservation in Utah. In addition to her work with Back Country Hunters and Anglers, she is also an active volunteer with the Utah Rivers Council and Utah Stream Access Coalition.
Kait West, Central Region Board Member
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 become an organization that stands 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.
Jason West, Central Region Board Member
Jason West joined BHA after researching other conservation groups to get involved with local public land issues. Jason believes BHA is the most effective group to put his efforts toward for protecting our hunting privileges, wild lands, and wild life. Jason is passionate about helping new and young hunters experience public lands and develop an awareness of the fact that we only have animals and wild places to hunt them in because of the intentional efforts of many people that have come before us.
Utah is leading the charge to transfer public lands to state control because public land hunters in Utah are largely unengaged and unaware of the very real threat to our public lands. I want to help engage and mobilize Utah hunters and see the Utah chapter become one of the most vocal and active BHA chapters. Keep public lands in public hands!
Braxton McCoy, Southern Region Board Member
Braxton McCoy is a father, husband, wounded warrior and an avid public lands supporter. He’s lived most of his life in Millard County, UT, where horses and cattle are still a form of income and a way of life. Since retiring from the Army in 2007, he has twice served as a national veterans advocate for the Coalition of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans, and twice as a national advocate/delegate for the Army Wounded Warrior Program. He now works as a big game guide in the fall and a public speaker during the off season. Braxton hopes to use the experience he gained working on veterans’ issues with politicians in D.C. to help preserve our public lands, as President Roosevelt put it, “not merely for the people now alive,” but “those within the womb of time.”