Category Archives: Ohio Wildlife Council

Welcome to ODNR Deputy Director Boyles

14 May 2014

In April, Ohio EPA Director Craig Butler tapped ODNR’s Deputy Director Karl Gebhardt to be the new Chief of the Division of Surface Water and Deputy Director of Water Resources.  Shortly thereafter, ODNR Director Jim Zehringer promoted Bob Boyles, a 31 yr veteran of ODNR, to be the Deputy Director over the Divisions of Forestry, Mineral Resources Management, and Wildlife as well as continuing his role as State Forester and Chief of the Division of Forestry.  According to an ODNR announcement, Boyles has his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Forestry from West Virginia University and has served leadership roles in Ohio’s National Wild Turkey Federation and is a member of the Ruffed Grouse Society.  Myself, Steve Gray (OCF Policy Director), Marc Smith (OCF BOD and National Wildlife Federation Senior Policy Manager), and Gildo Tori (OCF BOD and Ducks Unlimited, Director of Public Policy) sat down with Deputy Director Boyles and Deputy Director Andy Ware (ODNR Divisions of Soil & Water and Coastal Management) to open a dialogue about natural resource conservation in Ohio, the Division of Wildlife, and introduce them to OCF’s 2014 Initiatives.  The text of a post-meeting thank you letter is included below:

13 May 2014

Re: Meeting of May 12th

Dear Deputy Director Boyles,

On behalf of the Ohio Conservation Federation and its members, thank you for meeting with myself, Steve Gray (OCF), Marc Smith (NWF) and Gildo Tori (DU).  It was great to have the opportunity to sit down with you and Andy Ware to discuss natural resources management in Ohio and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

OCF and its members look forward to working with you and the Department of Natural Resources on issues important to Ohio’s sportsmen & women today. Moving ahead, our focus will be to work collaboratively wherever possible with ODNR on OCF’s 2014 Initiatives developed by our board earlier this year.

To reiterate from our conversation, OCF is concerned about the burden of direct charge backs to the DOW and the other divisions, we are proud of the Ohio’s Wildlife Officer system and want to make sure it is protected and supported, and we want to support the ODNR as an agency by striving for professionally educated and trained employees and administrators responsible for managing Ohio’s natural resources.

We are pleased with the recent appointments of Eric Hirzel and Tom Vorisek to the Ohio Wildlife Council. OCF will support the time tested wildlife council system and help protect it from undue political influence.

Wildlife diversity and endangered species management is very important to the OCF and we will support efforts to protect and conserve threatened, endangered, and non-game species.

We encourage ODNR’s efforts to control harmful algal blooms in places like Grand Lake Saint Marys and Lake Erie. Likewise, OCF supports and would welcome the opportunity to be involved with the Regional Conservation Partnership Program provisions in the federal Farm Bill developed to improve conservation practices on agricultural lands in Ohio.

Once again, thank you for meeting with us. We look forward to continuing to build our relationship with you as we share in the efforts to help you and others in ODNR accomplish its mission. Please feel free to contact us if we can help you advance our collective conservation goals.

Sincerely,

Matt Misicka

Matt Misicka

Vice President, Ohio Conservation Federation

www.ohioconservationfederation.com

E-mail: mattmisicka@gmail.com

Phone: (614) 581-9283

 

Cc:       James Zehringer, Director

Andy Ware, Deputy Director

U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Annual Legislative Reception

Tuesday March 25th, 2014

Columbus, Ohio: Riffe Center Theatre Lobby

Sportsmen and Women From Across Ohio Connect With Their State Senators and Representatives at USSA Reception.

Vice President Matt Misicka and Policy Director Steve Gray made the most of the casual atmosphere, fine food, and tasty beverages to mix and mingle with friends old and new.

Before the meeting got underway, it was good to catch up with USSA’s Evan Heusinkveld.  At our first annual meeting this past February, OCF presented Evan with a check for membership in the USSA. Evan (VP of Government Affairs) and I talked a little shop, but mostly spoke of family, hunting and dogs. A great way to start the evening.

Early on, Central Ohio Anglers & Hunters Club past president Scott Popplewell and I got to bend the ears of ODNR Director Jim Zehringer and Deputy Director Karl Gebhardt.  With the pending addition of PCR (Pistol Cartridge Rifles), there is a lot of excitement in the air regarding the 2014 deer season.  Scott, born and raised in New Jersey, assured the Director that even with the proposed increase to non-resident licenses and permit fees that Ohio would still remain a top draw for out of state hunters seeking trophy deer.  Together we praised the division’s plans for developing new deer management units.

When State Senator Chris Widener (R – Dist 10) stopped by to pick up OCF’s membership list and 2014 Initiatives from our table, I took a few minutes to chat with him.  An avid deer hunter, Senator Widener’s views of DOW’s management of the deer herd and wildlife rule-making process differ from many of us.  I don’t believe that our conversation changed any opinions, but keeping an open mind and maintaining avenues for future dialogues is always important.  I’m pretty sure the word of OCF’s name and agenda is getting out there…

I was delighted to be introduced by Larry Moore of Buckeye Firearms Association, who joined OCF in February, to a long-standing member of the BFA leadership team and NRA Board Member, Linda Walker.  Linda has been a tireless advocate for the rights of gun-owners for more than a decade.  I must admit my first question to her was about how cool it was to work with Tom Selleck (also an NRA board member and Ferrari-driving, private-eye, TV star that every young man in the 80’s idolized).  As you might imagine he’s very popular at the NRA’s women’s events and successful at raising money from those same ladies!  Linda encourages everyone to make sure to attend an NRA convention.  Where better to see the biggest hunting and firearms show on Earth!

OCF sponsors and owners of Elkhorn Lake Hunt Club, Sam & Peg Ballou and family (of Bucyrus) made the rounds and chatted with Governor Kasich.  Sam & Peg report a 10% increase in business and a lot of “First Pheasant” pins handed out this past season.  I know my dog and I had plenty of fun chasing birds at their place in Bucyrus, and a couple boys that hunted with us bagged their first birds too.

The evening’s brief program began with the Pledge of Allegiance.  Nick Pinizzotti, President and CEO of USSA, welcomed the gathering of sportsmen, public officials, and legislators before turning the microphone over to DOW Chief Scott Zody.  Chief Zody recognized the many DNR brass in attendance and thanked the sportsmen for the strong turn-out.  Lt. Governor Mary Taylor delivered a brief keynote praising the combined efforts of the USSA and sportsmen community for the hard work. Before heading off to the appetizers, the formal portion of the evening was concluded with a prayer of thanks, safe travels, and grace by past-Chief DOW Mike Budzik.

OCF Policy Director Steve Gray made the rounds, including among many a good chat with Karen Stewart-Linkhart, member of the Ohio State Trappers Association and Chairwoman of the Ohio Wildlife Council.  Steve summarized the evening this way:

“Coming to the annual USSA’s Legislative reception is a great way to connect with sportsmen and stay current with issues and topics important to conservation.  It was great to see that most of our member organizations had representatives at this meeting.”

With turkey season almost upon us, it was good to finally meet Ohio NWTF’s president Matt McDermott.  We chatted about the prospects of NWTF joining OCF. I look forward to Ohio’s NWTF having a seat at the OCF table soon.

As the evening wound down, I got the chance to get re-acquainted with Tom Butch. Tom is an officer of the Columbiana County Federation of Conservation Clubs.  As the name implies, this federation of sportsmen’s clubs provides outreach and advocacy on issues related to hunting, fishing, and trapping at a countywide level.  Tom, a retired ODNR employee, is now on contract with the National Wildlife Federation working on issues related to Lake Erie algal blooms.  As one of OCF’s 2014 Initiatives, Protecting the Quality of Ohio’s Waters pays far-reaching dividends; from wildlife and fishing to clean drinking water and improved public health. Wouldn’t it be nice to make Ohio’s nutrient run-off algal blooms a thing of the past and let Tom retire for good one of these days!

Steve and I ended the evening sharing stories over dinner with Ducks Unlimited’s Doug Gorby.  Although Doug works out of the Ann Arbor, M!ch!gan office, his degree from Ohio State shows how smart he really his!  He and I over-lapped in our time at OSU, but it took a lot of years and a whole lot of miles to finally connect.  It was nice meeting you Doug!  Now, about that duck hunt up on Lake Erie next fall….

The reception was made possible by the generous sponsorship of Buckeye Firearms Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Ohio State Trappers Association, Pheasants Forever, Safari Club International, and the Ohio Conservation Federation.

Submitted by Vice President Matt Misicka