Colorado BHA Southwest Regional Director (& BHA life member), Dan Parkinson, was born and raised in Denver/Lakewood and says, as a boy, the area seemed to on the western edge of civilization. “As a child I roamed the fields of seemingly wild places west of our home and dreamed of hiking/backpacking from our house over and through the mountains—just to see what was out there,” he says.
Dan’s parents encouraged each of their children to “get out there and explore the fields and mountains,” and some of his fondest family memories are of camping and fishing trips in the mountains of Colorado and the West. “Mom and Dad planted the seed of appreciation for wild places and wild things in me and it is a gift that I hope to share with others,” Dan says.
Aside from some plinking, field archery and an occasional rabbit hunt, Dan didn’t really start hunting until a college buddy got him hooked on archery elk hunting. “The perfect combination of backcountry challenge, adventure and wonder and awe,” he says. His angling preferences have changed from dedicated bait-bobber fishing for “anything that you could eat,” as a kid, to small stream fly-fishing for wild trout.
Dan and his wife, Laurie, moved to Durango in 1982, where they raised two children, Tommy and Erin, and built a family cabin on the nearby Pine River. Dan worked for years as a small-animal house-call veterinarian serving a large area of southwest Colorado.
Later, as owner and managing veterinarian of Riverview Animal Hospital, Dan developed a special interest in pain management. He retired in 2013, but still lectures around the country, assisting veterinarians in efforts to improve patient comfort and safety. Dan also provides specialized end-of-life care for pets in La Plata County through TenderHeart Pet Hospice.
Dan and Laurie live on the Pine River near Vallecito where Dan hunts elk, deer, turkey and occasionally grouse, ducks and geese. “I am an avid traditional archer who prefers the simplicity of the longbow, but will occasionally use a shotgun,” Dan adds. He’s also leading Colorado BHA’s Volunteer Signage and Bighorn Observation Program.
Cody is a fifth-generation Coloradan. He was born and raised in Gypsum and learned to hunt from his father and mother. “I started hunting as soon as I could draw my bow of 5 lbs and look through iron sights on my Crossman bb gun–age 5,” he said. “As a kid, the small open spaces shaped my days—fishing the Eagle River, exploring adjacent State Wildlife Areas, and the BLM land north and south of town.”
He called in his first bull elk after turning 7, ran traplines with his dad during the winter and shot willow-branch bows in the summer. “At night, I fell asleep listening to a cassette tape by hall of fame bowhunter, Larry D. Jones. I memorized the Boone & Crockett scores and stories of all the elk and mule deer bucks in ‘Colorado’s Biggest Bucks and Bulls’ and devoured Peter Hathaway Capstick books like candy.”
Cody currently practices public lands and natural resource law in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, Idaho and North Dakota. He lives in Durango and hunts big and small game, and fishes rivers and high alpine lakes. Cody hunts with a compound and longbow. “The San Juans provide sanctuary for myself, my wife and our growing family,” he says. “The empty spaces and the wildlife therein are equal pillars of my personal ethos.”
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.