Aaron Blakely, Secretary
Aaron grew up in rural Logan County, Ohio, where he currently lives with his wife, Krista. At an early age, Aaron grew accustomed to an outdoorsmen lifestyle by the teachings of his father while also being shown a love of nature by his mother. These correlating ideologies groomed him to become the hunter-conservationist that he is now. When he isn’t in the woods chasing whitetails and the ever-elusive turkey, Aaron can be found at Indian Lake, grappling with crappies. Aaron believes that as a public land owner, it is part of his heritage to recreate on and pass down this beautiful resource to future generations.
Growing up in Southern Michigan, one of Jayson’s earliest memories is being taught how to hunt and fish. All his life, Jayson has been passionate for hunting and fishing year-round. Whether it be a warm, sunny day out on the lake, -20 below on a frozen piece of pond, from squirrels to white tails Jayson is known to be outdoors, and hoping to harvest some of our country’s best natural resources.
Since moving to Ohio in 2014, Jayson exclusively uses public land for his only access to the great outdoors for his hunting and fishing capabilities. This is where his interest in “keeping public lands public” began. Jayson is devoted to help secure the right of keeping public access maintained for all future generations to continue to enjoy and grow their passion to become a avid hunter and fisherman. Jayson is proud to help bring a “BHA” chapter to the great state of Ohio.
Always a adrenaline chaser, Jayson has been a Public Safety Sector for the past 10 years, as a Firefighter, and Emergency Medical Technician. Today Jayson is honored to be a Emergency Medical Dispatcher, in helping those in need. Jayson resides in Southern Ohio with his other passion in life, his wife Brandy and their four-legged family members.
Jeremy is a board member located in New Holland, Ohio. Born and raised in the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio, Jeremy grew up hunting and fishing . He currently resides 30 minutes south of Columbus on a small farm with his wife and two daughters, 17 and 12. Jeremy is an IT professional working in Columbus and spends his free time farming, fishing, or hunting.
Jonathan Ingram, Co-chair
Jonathan Ingram is an at-large board member out of Cincinnati, Ohio. He grew up in southern Illinois and spent his childhood running the bluffs and bottoms of the Mississippi River and Shawnee National Forest. Eventually he latched on to an Ohio girl and in 2005 he traded the Mississippi for the Ohio. Jon earns a living providing financial and operations consulting to City and County governments and spends his free time in the woods or on the water. He is a middling hunter and a terrible fisherman, but his enthusiasm is notable. Jon has two young children – Hannah and Oscar – who remind him every day that he owes them a love of the woods. He hopes his work with the BHA will help fulfil that debt.
Josh Knotts lives in Rushville, OH with his wife and two daughters on a small farm. Growing up in the Hocking Hills, Josh learned the value of spending time in the woods, being taught how to hunt and fish by his father. Soon, hunting and fishing became a passion. Seeing the benefits first hand, he wants to make sure that we still have public lands to be able to teach our future generations the importance of maintaining these lands and what they mean for not only the animals who live there, but also what they mean for hunting in the years to come. Josh loves to spend time with his daughters, and watching them learn how to provide for themselves is something he greatly enjoys.
Being a farrier for 15 years, and being a guide for 3 years on public land, Josh has seen the importance of access to these lands not only for the hunter and fisherman, but for other recreational activities such as rock climbing, hiking, and horseback riding, etc. His work has also given him a firsthand view of what others think about hunters, and the impact we have on our land and wildlife. Josh looks forward to being just one voice in this family of BHA members to help save our lands, the lifestyle it allows, and to help put a positive thought into the public’s mind the next time they think about hunters.
Chris grew up in a small farming community in northwest Iowa, where agriculture and livestock was all he knew. Chris first traveled west when he was 10 years old, and immediately fell in love with the mountains and the wide open spaces of the West. He furthered that love of the outdoors and adventure through the Boy Scouts, where he was the first Eagle Scout in his community in over 20 years. After learning to shoot at scout camp, he picked up his great grandfather's shotgun for the first time and subsequently shot his first pheasant at 15. He was hooked. Fishing, and hunting for pheasant, whitetails, and turkeys became a passion, but it was largely put on hold while in college and graduate school.
The day after graduation, Chris traveled to Colorado to climb his first 14er, and the fire was lit again. Shortly after that trip, he moved to the Appalachian foothills of southern Ohio, where he now calls home. Waking up every morning and looking out his window to see the Wayne National Forest inspired Chris to join BHA and help protect it, along with all the public lands he loves.
When he’s not hunting or fishing, Chris enjoys hiking with his dog, Talladega, visiting breweries, smoking meat, kayaking, lifting heavy things, and long walks with his bow. Chris is excited to be a member the Ohio Chapter of BHA and to do his part to protect our natural resources for future generations to enjoy.
Kevin grew up in south central Ohio competing in soccer and swimming. As a teenager he began deer and squirrel hunting on a neighbors property. After a few years they sold their property and he began waterfowl hunting on public land, this taught him the importance of public land.
Since then he has hunting, fished, and recreated on public lands in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, North Carolina, Arizona, Nevada, and California. He spends time kayaking and fishing with his wife in central and southeast Ohio. Kevin is excited about the opportunity to join like minded conservationists in BHA and help protect public land “to the number within the womb of time.”
Tim Rogers lives in Circleville OH with his wife Deb, daughter Laurel, and their German Shorthair named Barley. Tim has worked as a First Responder in Emergency Services for 15 years. Prior to moving to to OH in 2016 Tim and his family lived in East Tennessee, where he was born and raised, in the heart of the Cherokee National Forrest. This Region offered a magnitude of diversity and the opportunities for a “generalist” are endless. Like many others, these opportunities spent on public land has shaped Tim into the person he is today. Tim is committed and looks forward to preserving and sharing these opportunities with his children just as his father did with him.
Tony Ruffing, Chair
Tony grew up in Republic, OH, a rural town in North Central Ohio about a half hour south of Lake Erie. Growing up in rural America blessed Tony with the opportunity to experience the outdoors by working the land and recreating on it. From early ages of hunting rabbits and raccoons with his Father, and early deer hunting with his uncle, he knew the outdoors was going to be his first love and a lasting endeavor. Growing up his passions grew from hunting small game behind his parent’s home, to traveling the state in search of whitetails, turkeys, and waterfowl. But, all this comes at a cost, and none of it would be possible without our public lands. As a residential contractor, and a cattle farmer, Tony saw and recognized a need for our public lands for our responsible timber harvests, and for a healthy competitive beef market.
"I want to fight for our public lands, not only to ensure my livelihood and recreational opportunities, but those of my future children, and the future of others."
Eric C Seigley is a born and raised Ohioan. Living in rural Wayne County his entire life, Eric is married to his wife of 9 years and together they enjoy their four young children. He has been employed by the City of Orrville’s Street Department for nearly all of his adult life. Him and his family take an active role in their home church, something that is very important to them. Church is where Eric, along with several others, started an outdoor focused ministry that helps to facilitate and encourage folks to get outside and enjoy the creation that surrounds us. When not engaging in the outdoors, family, or church, Eric can probably be found helping coach the local high school baseball team.
Eric was able to enjoy the outdoors with his family starting at a young age. Like most sportsmen, small game hunting and farm pond fishing were where vital basic lessons were taught regarding the safe handling of firearms, woodsmanship, and respect for your quarry. As he grew into a teenager and young adult, he took those lessons learned and began applying them to deer hunting and waterfowling. Forward now to adulthood, Eric has recognized the importance of taking the knowledge gained and lessons learned to help young or new people enjoy the outdoors the same way that he has. These mentored outings are commonly done on either publicly owned lands or publicly accessible privately owned lands. With room to roam and beautiful landscapes, Eric feels our public lands provide ideal and abundant opportunities to introduce and bring up our next generation of outdoorsmen and women.
Eric is excited to be a part of the Ohio chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. He looks forward to helping young and new people have amazing and special experiences in our incredible public lands.
Brandon Skiver, Treasurer
Brandon grew up in Lima Ohio and currently resides in Cardington Ohio with his wife Krista, daughter Ainsley, two dogs, and one cat. Brandon is a Major in the US Army and serves as a Brigade Logistics Officer. He is an avid outdoorsman who grew up hunting primarily private lands. However it was in 2015 when he made his first trip out west for an Elk Hunt that he realized something must be done to stand up for our public lands. Brandon is engaged with calling and writing to his local politicians expressing his voice in support of public lands. It is Brandon’s goal to ensure that the same public lands we have today will be around for his grandchildren and grandchildren’s children. The photo of Brandon is when he finished his first 50K Trail Race in May 2017 at Delaware State Park in Ohio.
Dan was born and raised in northeast Ohio. He calls rural Ohio home with his wife Rachel and daughter Sydney. There obsession with backpacking and camping has lead them on adventures across many of the western states. Growing up with the ability to hunt on the farmers back forty where he never was at a lack of good hunting ground. Dan realized the importance of public lands while on his first Colorado elk hunt in a wilderness area over twenty-five years ago when he was shocked to learn that camp could be made anywhere, not just in a campground. When he’d heard of BHA and how they promoted public lands, he knew he had to get involved. With his extensive knowledge in the oil and gas industries, he feels he can be an asset to this organization and is looking forward to rolling up his sleeves and getting the job done.