TJ Hauge, Chair -TJ was fortunate to grow up in a household that values our Natural Resources. His father was a DNR employee who spent much of his free time sharing the woods with TJ, teaching him to hunt and the value of a sunset on a ridgetop. His mother wholeheartedly supported his interest in hunting, despite the hours she was forced to endure the sound of turkey calls and grunt tubes being blown in the basement. While he has a B.S. in Wildlife Management and Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, TJ has been working as a Paramedic since 2016.
In 2012, TJ and his father ventured out to Colorado for their first elk hunt, and it was there that TJ realized the value of our public lands and their importance to the hunting community and our country. When he learned of BHA, he was drawn to the organization based not only on their mission, but also the community within it.
“I love this group of people. The willingness to have conversations that matter, and to have them with anyone is important. Our public lands, waters, and wildlife have given me far more that I can ever repay. I’m honored to be able to work to ensure those places and wildlife are there for everyone to experience, and to work with a great community of hunters and anglers.”
Joe Steffen, Treasurer - Joe grew up in the small Central Wisconsin town of Plover and started hunting whitetails in Northern Wisconsin at a young age. His father introduced him to the vast public acreage that Iron County WI had to offer. During High School he never had a problem finding any excuse to get outdoors and even managed to be accepted into a school sponsored program that allowed him to canoe through many of the major Wisconsin waterways for a summer.
After high school he attended College where he received his Associate’s Degree in Criminal Justice and his Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and Public Administration. Joe currently works as a Sergeant for a College Public Safety Department in Madison WI and works part time as a Police Officer for two local Police Departments.
Joe is an avid sportsman. When he is not working, you will likely find him in the field chasing Deer and Turkeys around Wisconsin and at least once a year a trip out west to hunt Antelope, Elk or Geese. During the summer, you can find Joe around a campfire, canoeing, kayaking and trying to catch dinner in the Boundary Waters and the Wisconsin River. Joe’s wife, Megan and their black lab, Buddy Lee, will often join in on the adventures.
Joe has also been a lead Hunter Safety instructor for the Wisconsin DNR for the last 5 years and volunteers his time for the Learn to Hunt program through the Wisconsin DNR. He is passionate about ensuring public land access for generations to come.
Chad Frank, Secretary - Chad has spent his life in the outdoors exploring and hunting. From and early age living in North East Wisconsin he can remember spending as much time in the woods and on the water as possible. As he has grown older and has had kids he has tried to pass this passion on to them.
His world has expanded since those early years to now include as much time in the western states as possible. He’s an avid Bowhunter and continue to look forward to spending as much time on our public lands pursuing this passion as possible.
He believes that we should all pass this passion onto as many people as possible, whether young or old, Hunter or fisher, hiker or biker. We have been given a great gift from our forefathers, and we need to ensure that the future generations get to enjoy it as we have.
Zach Scott, Board of Director - Zach grew up in the small south central Wisconsin town of Belleville and started hunting turkeys and whitetails at the age of 12, mentored by his father. He grew up around the hunting and fishing industry as his father is the owner and operator of a sporting goods store. A passion for the outdoors was instilled at a young age.
This love of the outdoors and wilderness lead him to obtain a degree in Geography and Environmental Science from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Zach currently works for the United States Geological Survey – Wisconsin Water Science Center as a Hydrologic Technician operating real-time river gaging stations throughout the southwestern corner of Wisconsin. He spends the majority of his days traveling the state to stand in rivers and wouldn’t have it any other way. Zach enjoys fly-fishing for trout, hunting whitetails and turkeys with his bow and has deep interests and intentions of hunting elk and mule deer in western states. He is also a devote husband and father to his wife, Kayla and his daughter, Finley. He looks forward to being involved with BHA to work to protect public land and access to those public lands.
Bryce Schmidt, Board of Directors - As a Wisconsin native Bryce grew up in the South central part of the state in the small town of Belleville. Growing up in the country he spent most of his days outside in nature. His father was an accomplished climber and outdoorsman. At 12 his grandfather introduced him to hunting whitetails in Northern Wisconsin.
Bryce makes his living as the Technician Lead of the Trek Bicycle store. He loves supporting others enjoy the outdoors. Four years ago Bryce picked up both a bow and a fly rod that made his love of the outdoors blossom. Ever since, all of his days off of work you will find him on a creek or trying to get lost in the woods. His favorite activities are fly fishing for trout and bow hunting for whitetails. He is planning out a DIY elk hunt next year in Colorado. Bryce is very excited to be a part of BHA so that he can both improve public land use as well as encourage more people to enjoy what we all own.
Noah Wishau, Board of Directors -Noah grew up in southeastern Wisconsin. He began accompanying his dad on hunting and fishing trips at a very young age. Most weekends of the fall and winter found them either chasing deer in north central Wisconsin, or ice fishing somewhere in the state.
Noah majored in History and Political Science at Ripon College and graduated from Marquette Law School. He currently has his own law practice in Racine. He is married to Beth and they have two children, Tess and Holt.
Noah still enjoys chasing deer with both a bow and a gun, hunting turkeys in the spring, hunting pheasants with his dog Huckleberry, catching a mess of bluegills for the frying pan, and shooting some ducks if the opportunity arises.
While Noah’s passion for the outdoors never diminished, a few years ago he was beginning to become disenchanted with the popular hunting culture. The emphasis on trophy animals using the newest gadgets began to wear on him. By chance he picked up and reread Aldo Leopold’s “A Sand County Almanac”. At about this time, he found the writings of Jim Posewitz. These books ignited a passion in Noah to make sure that the inheritance that we hunters received from those who came before us doesn’t die on our watch.
Miles Thompson, Board of Directors -Miles grew up in the small town of Plymouth, WI where he was able to spend most days of his childhood haunting the local rivers and streams for Smallmouth and Trout. Other interests would divert his attention through high school, and he eventually left WI for college. He earned an A.S. in Business Management from Berkeley College in New York…where of all places, on the NYC drinking water reservoirs, he was reconnected with the joys of solitude and reflection so easily found with a rod in hand.
He went on to earn a B.S. in Fisheries Biology from Kansas State University, where he was introduced to bird dog training and bird hunting (by running into a group out training dogs on public land, while he was trying to fish). This new passion helped steer him to Arkansas for graduate work, where there are some of the largest, and arguably the best, tracts of public land available for waterfowl hunting…especially flooded timber. He earned a M.S. in Aquaculture & Fisheries and was lucky enough to land a job back in his hometown managing lakes and ponds (and haunting his old familiar streams once again). He is currently the Ecologist and GIS manager for a private botanical garden in Sheboygan, WI.
With his wife and growing family, he enjoys exploring WI public lands while camping, canoeing, and hiking. Whether it’s just down the road or up in the vast WI Northwoods, he can be found outdoors, actively instilling the ethic of conservation and a reverence for wild, natural places in the next generation.
Elizabeth Baker, Board of Directors -Being a member of the Wisconsin Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has helped bridge the gaps in my knowledge on how hunting plays a critical role in land and species conservation. BHA is a group of people that are taking up the torch for our generation to preserve the important heritage and pastimes that were instilled in us by our predecessors. That is why I became a lifetime member of BHA in 2018. I feel a responsibility to continue the process of lifelong learning on land and water conservation history and policy.
Dr. Baker is a board certified podiatric surgeon who lives and practices in Reedsburg, WI. She grew up in southwestern Wisconsin and it was here she learned how to fish, hunt deer and turkey. She and her husband enjoy hiking, fishing and hunting on public lands and public waters and enjoying the beauty and bounty of Wisconsin and our country.
Ben Gruber, Board of Directors - Ben is Wisconsin born and raised, but has hunted, fished, trapped and traveled the backcountry of at least 10 different states for multiple species. He has been heavily involved in R3 efforts for many years and is a long time youth mentor. He has years of volunteer experience in Outdoors non-profit leadership, and has also held appointment to political advisory councils.