Luke was born in southwest North Dakota, but grew up on Colorado’s Front Range. He spent his summers, and many winters, fishing for walleye and northern pike with his father and grandfather in western North Dakota near their family ranch. His first hunting experiences were small game, pheasant and deer.
“My father and grandpa were my original mentors and taught me my early knowledge of hunting and fishing,” Luke said. “Later on, I wanted to pursue different quarry and would take advice from anyone willing to give it.” He moved to Durango in 2007, where he enjoys hunting and fishing the rugged San Juan Mountains.
“I have added a host of species to my repertoire, including elk, bear, trout and just about anything else that is legal,” he added. “I mainly pursue elk, mule deer and turkey. I love fly-fishing for anything that will take a fly.” Luke prefers to hunt with his bow, but still gets out with a rifle and shotgun.
He is currently a student at Oregon State University pursuing a BS in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Fish and Wildlife Conservation. His wife, who is a wildlife biologist, was his motivation for returning to school to pursue his passion. Luke works for the Natural Resource Conservation Service as a Soil Conservationist promoting conservation on private lands.
“I love public lands, but private lands are vital to wildlife habitat and connectivity, so I feel a passion for assisting landowners with conservation efforts,” he said. Luke was drawn to BHA while attending school in Oregon because of the values and missions of public lands and ethical harvest. Luke became more involved with BHA to protect public lands and promote hunting and fishing to the next generation through local advocacy.
“I joined BHA after the Malheur Standoff in Oregon and saw that members of the BHA community vehemently opposed the Malheur occupation, as did I,” he added. “This was not the first time I heard of BHA, but it was the original reason for joining.” Luke lives in Durango with his wife and dogs.
Alex was born in the suburban sprawl of the Piedmont region in North Carolina. His only exposure to hunting growing up was in the form of stories. Classic texts the likes of "Where the Red Fern Grows" sparked an ember that was finally able to blossom in adulthood. Alex went to undergraduate college for Ecology and Field biology in the mountains of North Carolina where he developed a passion for fly-fishing and hunting on public lands. He now has his master’s of science in GIS and works primarily on hazard mitigation analysis.
From an early age he always dreamt of owning a hunting dog. Ultimately, his pursuit of running bird dogs in large open swaths of public land sent him out west. Alex has been in the Durango area since 2011 and his passions for conservation, while all encompassing, are focused on education, wild bird habitat and forest health, conservative trail placement, public land access, and recreation impact mitigation.
While Alex’s primary pursuit is upland game, he also has years of archery elk experience. More recently he has taken up rifle and muzzleloader hunting in order to free up more time for running dogs. He first joined BHA soon after arriving to Colorado and reading books by David Petersen, a local Durango author and founder of the first BHA state chapter, here in Colorado.
Mentorships and education are very important topics for Alex. His life-long mentor and uncle from Pennsylvania helped him appreciate the experience enough to want to pay it forward. Alex is currently an apprentice hunter education instructor and led a Turkey Hunting Seminar with BHA in the spring of 2021. Alex is excited to organize more events in the future.
Wild birds have it tough and the old saying “what’s good for the bird is good for the herd” is near and dear to Alex’s heart. The entire East Coast has lost most of its Ruffed Grouse habitat due to poor forest management. Alex’s most enthusiastic point of conservation has to do with habitat. Seeing how habitat loss has caused the decline of so many species has made him want to do more to protect the good habitat that is left. It isn’t just bird habitat that gets Alex riled up either, but also deer, elk, sheep, pollinators, bats and amphibians.
Habitat is a broad topic, it isn’t just the quality of the ecosystem health on a ground level, but also the impacts of human activities on that ecosystem that need to be monitored and managed. At the end of the day, the things that Alex cares about require a force of like-minded individuals. He wants to help empower BHA members to do good boots-on-the-ground and pencil-to-paper conservation work.
“Alex has a serious passion for hunter education, R3, and shaping ethical sportsmen/women,” Southwest Colorado Assistant Regional Director, Luke Kline, said. “He has been involved in SW CO meetings in the past and helped with multiple events (including hosting the turkey hunting seminar here in SW CO). He will be an asset to our team.” “I heartily recommend him,” added Southwest Colorado Regional Director Dan Parkinson. “Alex is an earnest and thoughtful outdoorsman and a dedicated advocate for wild places and wildlife.”
The Colorado chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers (BHA) recently appointed Blake Mamich to serve an Assistant Regional Director for their Southwest Colorado Group.
Blake was born and raised in Greeley, Colorado. “Growing up, I fished anywhere on the Front Range I could talk mom or dad into driving me to,” he said. His first hunting experiences were on walk-in access lands in eastern Colorado chasing pheasant. “Mom taught me how-to tie-on lure and Dad taught me how to shoot a shotgun.”
Hunting and fishing took a back seat to other activities during his adolescent and early adult years, but when a friend moved to southeast Alaska and became a subsistence hunter/angler, it inspired a classic reactivation. That inspiration coincided with Blake moving to southwest Colorado in 2017.
Since then, he has been immersed primarily in big game hunting. Elk, mule deer, pronghorn and turkey are his main pursuits. “I’m happiest with a bow in hand in the San Juan Mountains in September, but a rifle in October/November is a close second,” Blake said. Recently he’s been raising a Black Lab puppy and plans to start waterfowl hunting.
Blake has a B.S. in Natural Resource Management and a another B.S. in Natural Resources Economics. Professionally, he’s employed in the non-profit, conservation space, working on water issues in Colorado. “Personal and professional life often blend together, as I’m highly interested in natural resource policy,” he explained. “A hobby of mine is commenting during the public comment period of National Environmental Policy Act decisions.”
Blake first heard of BHA in 2016/2017 as he followed public land policy discourse around bills like the Disposal of Excess Public Federal Lands Act (H.R. 621), introduced by (former) U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz. He joined BHA in 2019. “The decision to join was made after recalling the efforts of BHA in response to bills like H.R. 621 and with the intention of putting the commonly uttered phrase ‘hunting is conservation’ into action,” he said.