Craig was born and raised in southern California and has lived in the western U.S. his entire life. “My parents took my brother and me camping in the mountains and beaches of California and Mexico,” he says. “My dad took us fishing in the lakes and streams of the Sierras, and fishing in the ocean off the coast of southern California and northern Mexico.”
Grandpa Otto, from Iowa, was Craig’s first hunting mentor. “My grandfather introduced me to pheasant hunting on his farm in Iowa at an early age as well, first as the assistant bird dog, and then as one of the hunters,” he said. “My biggest ocean-fishing mentor has been my nephew, Nick, and I continue to learn more about trout fishing from my buddy John here in Colorado.”
Craig has a BS in Wildlife Biology from Utah State University. He started working with the U.S. Forest Service soon after graduation, which led to a 33-year career as a wildlife biologist on ranger districts in Idaho, Nevada and Colorado. Craig worked the last 20 years of his career for the Norwood and Ouray Ranger Districts of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests in Colorado. He retired in 2009.
Craig joined BHA in 2007 while attending a Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation convention in Reno, Nevada, and has served as a Habitat Watch Volunteer (HWV) for the Uncompahgre National Forest since 2009.“I mostly hunt elk and deer on public lands, as well as turkey and grouse,” Craig adds. “I also fish for trout in Colorado and Idaho, and make the trip to Southeast Alaska to fish for salmon and halibut with my nephew off the Prince of Whales Island. I am fortunate to have a son-in-law from western Kansas and my chocolate lab, Ozzie, and I get to hunt pheasant on their farm around the Thanksgiving holiday.”
During 2013, Craig received one of BHA’s highest national awards, the Aldo Leopold Award, which recognizes significant contributions made towards preserving wildlife habitat. During 2015, Craig was recognized as BHA’s Volunteer of the Month (for January), and was appointed by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to serve on the Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area Advisory Council. He has been Colorado BHA’s Central West Slope Regional Director since January 2016.
“I spend time giving back to the conservation of our fish and wildlife resources by teaching hunter education and as an active member of BHA,” Craig says. “Through BHA, I currently serve as the sportsman’s representative on the Colorado Forest Health Advisory Council and Adaptive Management Group for the Spruce Beetle Epidemic and Aspen Decline Management Response program on the GMUG National Forest.” Craig and his wife, Sheila, live in Norwood, Colorado.
Adam was born and raised in a small farm town in southwest Michigan, and moved to northcentral Idaho at age 20. He never wanted to leave the mountains after that, and hasn’t. Adam has worked as a firefighter/forestry tech for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho, a wolf biologist for the Nez Perce Tribe, also in Idaho, and a science teacher at Hotchkiss High School in Colorado.
In his early teens Adam started hunting whitetails, cottontails and pheasant. Today he lives in Paonia, Colorado, and hunts mule deer and elk, usually with a bow. Adam is also “married to the most wonderful woman on the planet who supports my hunting interests,” he says. Adam and Anastacia feel blessed to call the Gunnison country home and love sharing it with their daughter, Penelope.
Adam currently works as a fishing guide on the Gunnison River and, along with Anastacia, runs Timber to Table Guide Service (timbertotableguideservice.com), an elk and mule deer hunting/outfitting business with a focus on the food and educational aspects of big game hunting. Additionally, Adam is a Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) Life Member and Colorado BHA Habitat Watch Volunteer for the Gunnison National Forest.
Colorado BHA Chairman David Lien said, “Adam’s boots-on-the-ground knowledge of the public lands and waters he fishes, hunts and guides is matched only by his passion for protecting these public lands for future generations of hunters, anglers and other outdoorsmen and women. Wildlands and wildlife need many more like him.”
Jesse was born in Mount Kisco, New York, and started fly-fishing for brook trout with his dad and grandfather in the Catskill Mountains. However, he spent most of his youth in Durango, Colorado, where he fished for browns and rainbows on the Animas River in addition to bike racing and skiing. He was an Environmental Studies major at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, graduating in 2008, before deciding to move back west.
Jesse has lived in Taos, New Mexico and Salt Lake City, Utah, and has worked as a solar installer, ski patroller, carpenter and fly-fishing guide. He currently lives in Norwood, Colorado, with his wife, Hannah, working as a wildland firefighter for the BLM. Hannah co-owns and operates Blue Grouse Bread, an artisan wholesale “organic bread bakery in Norwood … supplying hearth baked breads to the Western slope.”
Jesse hunts elk, turkey, grouse, deer and pronghorn, and fishes for trout in the San Miguel, Dolores and Gunnison rivers and tributaries. When he first tried bowhunting for elk, Jesse was instantly addicted. “It seemed I had finally found a pursuit that brought all of my interests under one roof: tasty local food, interaction with nature, backcountry travel and, of course, a little bit of suffering,” he said. “Hunting immersed me in the natural world … I began to have a much more holistic view of the ecosystems in my backyard and wildlife that calls it home.”
Becoming a hunter also infused Jesse with a passion for cooking, and the contents of his freezer are now his proudest possessions. He also enjoys mushroom hunting, backcountry and Nordic skiing, rafting and mountain biking. Jesse joined BHA after hearing about us on a Steven Rinella Meateater Podcast. He has helped organize two Pint Nights, in Telluride and Norwood.
“Cody and Jesse are cut from the same bolt of cloth as America’s greatest hunter-conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt,” said chapter co-chair, David Lien (a former U.S. Air Force officer). “They know, like TR did, that, ‘Those of us privileged to take to the field are entrusted by fate and circumstance to hold and nurture the hunter’s legacy.’ We’re honored to have them join the Colorado BHA Chapter Leadership Team and help guide our rapidly growing boots-on-the-ground army of over 2,000 dedicated hunters, anglers and other outdoorsmen and women!”
Leslie was raised in Elyria, Ohio, where a love for the outdoors began at an early age while fishing Lake Erie from a family cottage on Nickle Plate Beach. Catching yellow perch and walleye from her dad’s wooden Lyman boat was not only a fond childhood memory, but started a lifelong passion for water, boats, fishing and fresh fried fish! Her Dad’s patient instruction with spinning reels and live bait also instilled in her the importance of mentorship in the outdoors.
A love of land and water led her to pursue a degree from Bowling Green State University in Geography and GIS with minors in Geology and Environmental Studies. After moving to the Rocky Mountains in 2009, she ended up in the North Fork Valley where her training in the earth sciences serves her well as a middle school science and math teacher. After ten years as an educator she truly enjoys inspiring sixth graders in Hotchkiss, Colorado, taking them on field trips whenever possible and leading an after school fly tying club.
Her love of angling continues to this day. Leslie enjoys fly-fishing for trout in rivers and lakes and catching the occasional pike. A recent six-day float trip on a Yukon tributary exposed her to the exciting wilderness in Alaska and new species like arctic grayling not to mention improving her skills on the oars.
Camping each night in view of eagle nests with moose sign in camp and bear tracks on the beach was an experience she will never forget. Also learning that grayling liked her secret hand tied ant pattern as much as Colorado cutthroat somehow brought the experience full circle. Experiencing the wild public lands of Alaska broadened her appreciation for the amazing resources we have in this country.
Although Leslie is a lifelong angler, hunting wasn’t an activity she was exposed to until earning her Hunter Education certificate in 2013. She fondly remembers being the only student in the class without a chaperone as well as the only one able to drive herself there. Even though she was now legal to hunt in Colorado, with no experience or mentor to teach her about hunting she didn’t know where to begin. Luckily, Colorado Parks and Wildlife hosts a women’s outreach program and she was invited on a mentored hunt for a doe pronghorn antelope.
After an exhilarating two days of chasing antelope in northwest Colorado, a shot from her .30-06 filled her first tag and changed her life forever. The experience not only ignited a passion for hunting and the harvest of her own wild game meat, but also gave her a deep appreciation for the importance of mentorship in our hunting community. She hunts elk every year in western Colorado and enjoys duck and goose hunting along with upland bird hunting in several western states.
Today Leslie is grateful to reside in Montrose, Colorado, with her boyfriend Dan and their two rowdy yellow labs. The time they spend together in the outdoors feed her obsessions for geology, wild game, wild fish and wild rivers. She is also grateful to Dan for introducing her to Backcountry Hunters & Anglers with a gift membership. She is proud to be a public landowner and help bring BHA’s message of public land awareness to her community and beyond.
As an avid outdoorsman, experienced teacher and passionate backcountry enthusiast, Shettel brings a unique perspective to Colorado BHA. He’s a retired schoolteacher originally from western Pennsylvania who started fishing at 5 and deer hunting in his teens. Bob moved to Colorado in 1975, learned fly-fishing and has been an avid user of the local gold medal waters around the Roaring Fork Valley ever since.
Bob also holds four International Game Fish Association line class world records for California golden trout dating back to the 1980’s. He spends at least a week each year stomping around the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming in search of still bigger golden trout.