About Orion – The Hunter’s Institute

Since our founding in 1993, Orion has been focused on the pursuit of two goals that were born out of strategies developed at a 1992 governor’s symposium on hunting:

  • First, we are dedicated to improving the image of hunting with an emphasis on fair chase ethics.
  • Second, we are focused on putting hunters at the forefront of our nation’s conservation ethic.

We call ourselves The Hunter’s Institute because we view it as our mission to be the thought leaders and facilitators in the pursuit and evolution of open and honest discussion, debate, and consensus-building for the benefit of hunting.

About Our Founder

Jim Posewitz left the Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks in 1993 to form Orion after nearly 40 years of service because, as he put it, “it was time to ‘re-tire’ – to take off the old tires and put on some new tires for the long road ahead.”

Posewitz set out on a mission to re-energize hunting and its conservation heritage and, in doing so, wrote a book – “Beyond Fair Chase” – which has shown significant influence the manner in which hunting and ethics are viewed in mainstream society and media. Posewitz’s message has reached over 750,000 new hunters in the last two decades and we’re on a mission to reach another 750,000 in the next few years.

Board of Directors

Thomas Baumeister – President

Thomas Baumeister co-founded and currently runs Access WILD, a business devoted to introducing people to the wilds of the West. As Faculty Associate at Carroll College and Arizona State University, he teaches courses on The Science, Ethics, and Practice of Animal Welfare, Wild Animals & Society, The Human-Nature Connection, and The Biomimicry Ethos—A Pathway from Practice to Philosophy. While serving as Conservation Education Bureau Chief for Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, Thomas facilitated the establishment of Montana WILD, wrote the state’s hunter education manual, and chaired the committee for the International Hunter Education Association to develop U.S. hunter education standards. In addition to serving as Board President for Orion – The Hunter’s Institute, he also serves on the board of the Helena Hunters and Anglers Association and is chairperson of the Montana Outdoor Hall of Fame. Thomas has been recognized as Professional of the Year by the International Hunter Education Association and is a three-time recipient of the Montana Governor’s Award for Excellence in Performance. He holds two M.S. and a Ph.D. in Biology and Wildlife Biology from Universities in Germany and Montana.

Tovar Cerulli – Director

Tovar Cerulli is author of The Mindful Carnivore, which has earned praise from hunters, ecologists, and vegetarians alike. Focused on bridging diverse views and values, he has served as a thought partner for conservation leaders and teams across sectors and has consulted and presented for dozens of agencies and institutions. His writing has appeared in Outdoor America, High Country News, The Atlantic, and Petersen’s Hunting, among other publications. He is a hunter-education instructor and holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Jan Dizard – Secretary

Jan was born in Duluth, MN in 1940 and spent his first twenty-one years juggling the demands of school and the siren call of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes and the rivers that emptied into Lake Superior. He graduated from the University of Minnesota, Duluth in 1962 and suspended his interest in the out-of-doors to earn a doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1967. He taught at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1965-69. He joined the faculty of Amherst College in 1969 where he is the Charles Hamilton Houston Professor of American Culture. An avid fly fisher and upland bird hunter, he has written extensively on hunting and hunter ethics, co-chairs Amherst College’s major in Environmental Studies, and is active in several local sportsmen’s clubs. He is deeply committed to forging a renewed alliance between environmentalists and sportsmen and sportswomen.

Patt Dorsey – Director

Patt Dorsey is an avid hunter and angler who, as a young girl wanted to be a wildlife biologist. She advocates for hunting and fishing while managing wildlife resources for the State of Colorado. Patt believes that the passion hunters have for wildlife is unique, largely unmatched and necessary for the conservation of wild places. Hunters need to understand how special their hunting heritage is and support ethical foundations that will ensure a place for hunting into the future. Patt has worked for Colorado Parks and Wildlife since 1991. She currently manages a variety of functions in the southwest quarter of the state. She is a commissioned wildlife officer and received the Outstanding Wildlife Officer Service Award by the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. She administered hunter education, creating numerous instructor and student classes. She received the “Past President’s Award” from the International Hunter Education Association. She has also received the Jim Jones Outstanding Employee, and Most Positive Employee awards. Patt holds a BS in wildlife biology from Colorado State University.

John Edwards – Treasurer

John Edwards is a Professor of Wildlife Management at West Virginia University. Among John’s hunting-related efforts are the preservation of our hunting heritage and the promotion of recreational hunting. John teaches a class entitled, Tradition of Hunting, at West Virginia University and since its inception in 2004, nearly 2700 students have enrolled in the course. John also serves on the Board of the Hunting, Trapping and Conservation Working Group of The Wildlife Society, and as an instructor for the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program. John holds M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Forest Resources from Clemson University.

Corey Ellis – Director

Corey Ellis has spent his “career” as a jack of all trades. Working in fine restaurants, on farms and in construction which has allowed him to live, hunt, fish and explore all over North America including the desert Southwest, northern New England, Alaska and the Rocky Mountains top to bottom. He studied environmental studies and philosophy at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado where he developed a passion for protecting all things wild. Corey was also on the founding board of New England Backcountry Hunters and Anglers where he helped to affect several policy changes to benefit wildlife and hunting. Now living in Missoula, Montana, he continues to serve on the conservation committee of Montana Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He believes have hunters have much to be proud of in their heritage but, hunters must continue to evolve and lead if hunting is to survive. Corey and his long-time partner, Julie, believe in working as little as possible so that they can spend as much time as possible advocating for and enjoying wild places and wildlife.

Harley McAllister – Director

Harley McAllister is an Engineering Project Manager, but is most alive when he is outdoors with his kids. He and his wife are authors of a series of guide books for engaging families with our National Parks titled “Adventuring with Kids”, and they also have several online media platforms to help parents get their kids outside including www.our4outdoors.com and www.nationalparkswithkids.com. Harley has a B.S. in Engineering from Dartmouth College, where we was President of the Bait & Bullet club, and has also served on the board of the Spokane Bird Dog Association. He has been a hunter for over 35 years, including bow, rifle, and shotgun in a dozen different states and provinces. He is passionate about wild places and the wild animals that live there, and in promoting democratic access to them while conserving them for future generations.

John Organ – Director

John Organ is a Certified Wildlife Biologist® with over 40 years experience in wildlife conservation on 5 continents. He is a life member of the International Hunter Education Association, Past President, Fellow, and Honorary Member of The Wildlife Society, and Professional Member of the Boone and Crockett Club. He has published over 100 scientific papers and article on subjects ranging from the conservation of large mammals to the role of hunters in conservation. He was the 2014 recipient of the Wildlife Management Institute’s George Bird Grinnell Award for Distinguished Service to Natural Resource Conservation, and a 2018 recipient of the Department of the Interior Meritorious Service Award. He is a Team Leader in the Massachusetts Hunter Education Program. He holds a Ph.D. in wildlife and fisheries biology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Phil Seng – Director

Phil T. Seng is vice president of DJ Case & Associates, a full-service communications consulting firm that specializes in natural resources conservation issues. Since 1986, DJ Case has been working with state and federal natural resources agencies and private conservation organizations to help them communicate with their publics and constituents about natural resources conservation issues. Since the mid-1990s, DJ Case has worked extensively in the world of hunting and angling recruitment, retention and reactivation, and hunter and trapper education and ethics. Phil has helped state agencies develop and implement systematic, integrated marketing campaigns for increasing hunting license sales. He also has been active at the national level, working with the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation to develop best practices and communications strategies for hunting and angling recruitment and retention and ethics/stewardship. Phil holds a bachelor’s degree in forestry and wildlife management from Purdue University (where he was captain of the Purdue Rifle Team and president of the Purdue Rifle and Pistol Club) and a master’s degree in wildlife biology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is a lifelong hunter, angler, shooter, and reloader. One of his favorite activities is mentoring new participants into hunting and the shooting sports. He is a certified wildlife biologist and a certified hunter education instructor. He serves on the Indiana Turn In a Poacher (TIP) Citizen’s Advisory Board and the board of directors of the Hoosier Outdoor Writers Association.

Eric Nuse – Director

Eric C. Nuse is a board member from VT who works with hunter education professionals, conservation groups and State to improver hunter knowledge and behavior. Eric has dedicated his career to ensuring the future of hunting He feels that asking the tough questions and helping to facilitate the search for articulate answers is the way to improve hunting practices and acceptance of hunting and hunters by the public. Eric was recently awarded the Jim Posewitz award from the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers for his work on hunter ethics. Eric is a retired Game Warden, hunter education coordinator, executive VP for the International Hunter Education Association and Orion-The Hunters Institute. Eric holds degrees in Wildlife Management, Criminal Justice and training in whole group high engagement facilitation and public management.

Mary Stange – Director