The Ohio Chapter of BHA had a whirlwind of a three-day stretch between January 22nd and 24th. The calendar started with Filson’s film screening event for “Will To Live: The Story of Gary Edinger” at Land Grant Brewery. We were back in that identical location the very next night for a collaborative Pint Night with the Ohio Chapter of The Wildlife Society (OCTWS) and Ohio Wildlife Management Association (OWMA) – the two primary state-level professional organizations for the Buckeye State’s wildlife biologists and managers. The following list will be incomplete but indicates the great representation that we had from across the state and across agencies and organizations: our local Ohio Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, Pheasants Forever (congratulations Cody Grasser for winning the big raffle item of the night – a Vortex spotting scope!), the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Pollinator Habitat Initiative, forestry and wildlife students from Rio Grande University, students from Ohio State University, the National Wildlife Turkey Federation, Trout Unlimited, Wildlife Services, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Friday wrapped things up with a flurry of activity around BHA’s table which represented at the 60th Annual OWMA Conference on Ohio State’s campus. Participation was great across the board, and BHA members enjoyed a unique opportunity to interface with many of the faces from Ohio’s community of wildlife conservation professionals. We were honored to have Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director Mary Mertz and Ohio Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker in attendance for both Thursday’s pint night and Friday’s conference.
Thursday and Friday can be summed up in the following half-dozen conversation snippets that I personally overheard or participated in:
- “We’ve been making great progress clearing out some access-blocking logjams from the Mad River – enjoyed a couple decent post-work angling sessions as well!”
- “Your events are awesome. They are all unique, I always meet some awesome folks, never fails that great beer is involved, and your raffle prizes – wow!”
- “I’ve been wondering what it’s like to work for a county’s Soil and Water Conservation District. I hear you’re one of our state’s Wildlife Specialists.”
- “This organization has something for everyone in our crew, even the kids. Sign us up for a family membership.”
- “All the Clean Up events last September were a huge help for the Division of Wildlife, we are already thinking about some opportunities for your chapter to more strategically plug in this new year.”
- “I’m a brand new hunter too...”
And those were just a few of the conversations that I was privy to. If you haven’t joined Ohio BHA yet, what are you waiting for?
Tony Ruffing is co-chair of the Ohio Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers