Riata Pro Staff

Our consultants and staff
are dedicated to booking
your trip of a lifetime!

Mike Gardner
Co-Founder, Big Game Hunting, Wingshooting &
Fishing Consultant

Texas, Lower 48 States &
International Hunting

Raised on a Texas ranch and a 4th generation lineage of horse and cattle ranching he has outfitted in Texas for over 25 years, full time for the last 22. His outfitting includes trophy whitetail, Texas & New Mexico mule deer, elk, pronghorn, high volume dove hunting, quail over bird dog pointers, spring turkey and exotic plains game.

Mike Gardner
Texas State University
vs. Baylor

Mike has hunted game animals in Africa, Canada, Alaska, North America’s Lower 48, Mexico, South America, Hawaii, and has been a "hands on" outfitter in Texas for over 22 years. Mike and his wife have hunted abroad and as a result, have connections with the top 30 outfitters of their respective species in the U.S. and Internationally

In the early 90s he owned a fishing operation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico on the pacific coast and entertained clients for Marlin, Sailfish, Wahoo and the Tuna species.

Mike has guided literally hundreds of clients on trophy whitetail and mule deer and operated wing shooting excursions for dove, quail and upland hunting.

Mike has a broad and detailed understanding of Texas ranch real estate and consults with buyers and sellers on Texas ranchland. He is a former ranch co-owner in South Texas and currently consults for landowners in improving their wildlife on their ranches and improving efficiency in their operations. Additionally,he is retained as a consultant landman with one of the leading oil royalty companies currently operating in the Eagle-Ford shale in South Texas-the most prolific oil and gas find in recent Texas history. Mike has first hand knowledge of the Texas wind energy industry and has negotiated with wind turbine energy companies for Texas landowners.

Mike has a true and deep passion for sharing his outdoor knowledge and consulting with clients helping direct them to the finest outdoor destinations in the world.

He holds a degree from Texas State University where he played NCAA Division I-AA football. He has a wife, Holly and two sons Hudson (12) and Cullen (10) who have been raised in the outdoors.




Madeline is an 8th generation Texan with a degree in Advertising from Harding University. She was named Outstanding Advertising Student of the Year in her graduating class. Madeline was raised in the small town of Dripping Springs, Texas and comes from a long heritage of hunters and fishermen on both sides of her family. She’s enjoyed hunting & fishing with her Dad, Grandfathers, Uncles and little brother since she was a little girl. With her passion for, and talent in advertising, marketing, and social media, and her deep roots in Texas hunting and fishing, she contains the perfect combination to serve as Director of Marketing for Riata. Madeline is recently married and currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Shelby McElroy
Administrative Assistant 

Born and raised in a small town in South Texas, Shelby's passion for wildlife and the outdoors took shape at an early age. Some of her fondest childhood memories took place on her Grandfather's ranch where she learned how to hunt and fish for the first time alongside her older brother. She enjoys traveling, spending time with family, and being outdoors as much as she can. 

Shelby is a Graduate from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Corporate Communication Studies. With her eye for detail and passion for client satisfaction, Shelby serves as Riata's Administrative Assistant. She currently resides in Austin, Texas. 


Andri Fox
Professional hunter and booking consultant for Riata,
Southern Africa

Resides full time in Africa


Andri Fox is our expert and Professional Hunter for safaris in South Africa. He is a 4th generation hunter and rancher in Aliecedale, South Africa and has been a full time licensed Professional hunter since 2000. He has guided over 1000 hunting clients over the last 28 years.

Andri guides clients on over 1 million acres in Southern Africa. He takes pride in keeping our hunting parties very small, and gives personal attention to each client in taking not only the very highest  trophy quality, but also making the sure clients have the safest and  highest quality overall experience found in southern Africa today.

Jay Hall
Big Game & Wing Shooting consultant

Jay is “At Home” in the outdoors. He has spent his entire life hunting and fishing throughout Texas and Internationally. From hunting for large whitetails with a bow or catching giant blue marlin there is nothing more he enjoys than chasing big game and consulting with clients about the finest destinations
to fulfill their dreams. Jay has been privileged to hunt and guide on some of the best ranches the “Golden Triangle of Texas Whitetails ” has to offer. He has fished from Colorado, south to Panama, and everywhere in between.

Jay has spent the last 15 years guiding and booking hunters and fisherman to some of the best locations, destinations, and lodges around the globe. His expertise in many outdoor fields provides him with a unique ability to advise clients of all kinds of great outdoor opportunities. Jay prides himself on being able to put his clients on the same type of adventures that he would choose for himself, and offering personal, “hands on” experiences of a lifetime. Jay has been instrumental in our corporate booking processes in the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

Chad Hughey
Big Game and Wingshooting Consultant

Alabama Office


Chad is an avid outdoorsman. As Alabama's Ducks Unlimited State Chairman, Chad possesses a vast knowledge of hunting waterfowl, wild turkey, and whitetail in the southeast. Additionally, Chad has hunted and taken Canadian Moose, Bear, Mule Deer, Pronghorn, Elk, and has harvested whitetail from 140-220 Boone & Crockett, including a 220 2/8 BC in Texas in 2011. Chad has been featured on numerous outdoor TV shows including Rusty Faulk Outdoors, and brings his experience and expertise to the hunting community of the southeast for Riata clients.

Chad has a Bachelor of Science degree from Livingston University in Business Administration and marketing. He has a lovely wife Dana, a daughter Olivia(11), and 2 sons, Jackson (3) and William (1).

Aaron Neilson
Licensed Professional Hunter
Expert on African Dangerous Game Hunting

Zimbabwe | Tanzania | Namibia | Zambia
Mozambique | Botswana | CAR | Ethiopia

Aaron is our expert and consultant for central Africa and specializes in dangerous game hunting. At 39, Aaron got his start in the hunting industry at the age of 19. For the last 16 years, Aaron has personally been on 27 separate dangerous game safaris to Africa. Additionally, he has hunted the South Pacific, South America, and has developed a reputation as one of the leading experts on African Lion Hunting having harvested 11 Lions himself, as well as the other "Big 6" species including Elephant, Croc, Hippo, Leopard, and Buffalo.

There are few consultants with the knowledge and expertise Aaron can provide on hunting dangerous game in Africa. Aaron takes pride in giving our clients the “straight up” and honest information they need to make an informative decision on where and when to hunt in Africa. Call Aaron today - he loves talking Africa! 512.261.2400

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