What a weekend!!! That’s the only way to explain it, but luckily the guys were able to sit down with some fantastic guests and share with you what they learned.
Paul and Andrew sat down with Ryan Callaghan and Kevin Murphy of meat eater to discuss everything from conservation, public lands, small game hunting and more. Along with the Meateater guys, Director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Mary Mertz, sat down with the guys to talk about the 150 year anniversary of the Ohio Division of Wildlife and issues around the state. The conversation continued with BHA board members from around Ohio and Kentucky to discuss the event and all that is happening with the BHA.
In Ohio, a new regulations book has been released, more info to come. The controlled hunt lotteries are still open until the end of the month! Hope you’re getting that to do list done because hunting seasons are right around the corner!
Have a great week and enjoy the O2 if you get out into Ohio’s great Outdoors!
[00:00:00] What's up everybody? Okay. Real quick before we get to the intro we had a little bit of a, an audio issue there when we were recording. That's what you get when you have hosts that are not professional audio makers. So bear with us through the intro. The meat and potatoes of the show is a good part.
And that's all that all works. Thanks guys.
All right. What's going on everybody? Welcome back to the O two podcast today, pollinator, we're, we are live together. Let's
one of the Oh, unofficial studios. So we are gonna record this intro. And we're gonna slap. Quick intro. Quick intro. We're slapping it on the front end of what's gonna be one of the longer episodes, but the episode is going to cover everything that we recorded at Mustard and the Marsh last weekend. And it's some great conversation.
[00:01:00] Yeah, it was a ton of fun. Mustard and Marsh, you've heard us talk about that. The big annual rendezvous party fundraising event, camping, just blast with backcountry hunters and anglers. What a great time. It was great to meet a bunch of the listeners that were there, Matt. It was great to meet that guy.
Sat with us at the conservation dinner. Just see if that was great. Renee and her husband Matt. It was really cool to meet them. We met just a ton of people. Had a great time. Ryan Callahan from Mediator was there. Kevin Murphy. Kevin Murphy, and his dog. Wings. Wings and things. Yeah.
So the, so we did the live podcast, what, Saturday morning. When it was a billion degrees, it went from comfortable to the surface of the sun in about 10 minutes. Oh, it was crazy. We were just, we were getting beat down, but it all worked out. It was a fantastic talk. There was some q and a that we did with with a bunch of the folks there.
So that was really neat. Director merch we had Director Mary Mertz, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources was our first guest. Cal hopped in for that. [00:02:00] She is fantastic. She really did a nice job explaining a lot of the programs and that are going on happened happening through the OD and r and then just the relationship between the agency and us, the hunters and anglers and outdoor recreator.
So yeah, it was really good. And a few notes that I picked up, I tend to observe a lot, right? And I'll tell you right now, Ryan Callahan we've all seen him on the Weater episodes. He does his podcast, dude's Everywhere, salt of the Earth, super, super down to earth, talking to everybody walking around.
Wasn't hiding nothing like that, man. He was just like, you wanted to talk to him about something and he was just amazing. Yeah. Same with Kevin Murphy. Shout out to Who, man. Yeah, shout out to Henry and all the b h a board members, Tony Ruffing and all those you guys. James Jameson. Yeah. Great.
And then we had John Fabian from Cover Bridge Outfitters on the podcast. That dude is a freaking rockstar. That guy was a ton of fun hanging out with that is a [00:03:00] awesome place. If you need a, like a fishing guy, dude. Cover Bridge Outfitters is that is It doesn't look like anything in Ohio.
Like that little stretch that you would imagine, if you're from that northeast corner of Ohio, you're like, it's like that everywhere. Beautiful. Yeah. Absolute. Co creek was beautiful. The fishing was insane. Yeah, it was cool. It was a great place and a lot of opportunities there. We'll get John on it some point to talk about what he's got going there, but in general, like you're right on that Pennsylvania line.
So you've got just, there's a lot of opportunities. Anywho. Yeah. Paul, I gotta just say this. All right. So this was my, one of my first B h a events. Yeah. And I've told people, ask me how it was. It was cool, we tent camp, they had music, food, trucks, lots of education, all that kinda stuff. It was, I don't, I do not read the news, pay attention to the news anymore.
It's gotten too divisive and I don't like what it does to people. That group of people there was amazing to me because it was all walks of life. You had old, [00:04:00] young, educated, average Joes, people that were forages, hikers, anybody who enjoyed hunters, big gun people, probably people who don't really care for guns, like all this stuff come together for one purpose and to support public land, access, conservation, all that kinda stuff.
Hunting rights. Yeah. Fishing rights. Yeah. And everybody was, it was like, perfect. There was none of this, this, I don't wanna call it made up, but the, what the media feeds of, that it's their side versus this side. It was like just this great collaboration and I was, it was so refreshing.
So refreshing. Yeah. It was neat. That's a special organization that was a special group of people. So it was cool. It was cool to be there. I'm glad that That they allowed us to come down and hang out and we both won some stuff at the auction. What'd you win? It's gift, the auction gift card to St.
St. Croix. Yeah. So maybe I'll buy that fly line or fly rod that I've been thinking about for a couple years. I won a do sport dog package. How? I don't have how many dogs you got Paul? Yeah, I don't have a [00:05:00] dog. And if you listen to this show, you know that I don't have a dog and as I'm walking up, someone was like, you don't have a dog.
I'm like, ah, busted. My buddy Justin got a dog. I'm like, ah, he might use this. I threw one, maybe two tickets in that sport dog package. I don't remember putting the ticket in the St. Croix one. So really? No. But no, they had great raffle items, auction items, all kinds of stuff. Yeah. Raise a ton of money. So it sounds like next year's event's gonna be in Pennsylvania.
Yeah, that'll be cool. And I'm gonna try to put it on my calendar as soon as we can. So Yeah, a lot of fun. Check them out back country hunter.org. So one other person we met, we didn't mention before was, Justin Greer from Black Gate Hunting. We've met him down at a t a, gotten to know him and we just recently were, brought Black Gate on.
They, they're a part of the O two family now, and you've got those cameras out, you're getting pictures in Buddy. Man, those things talk about Crystal Clear. Holy cow. I've used, I feel like every brand under the sun, and I'm gonna tell you, I'm not saying this because they're partner of the show.
That's the best image quality I've ever seen. And [00:06:00] then I can get the videos sent over to me. It's super easy to set up and use. If you have not checked out these cameras, it's black gate hunting com, black eight hung.com. Then you can also just check 'em out on Instagram. They've got a pretty neat robust social media presence.
And I, and you sent me a, you sent me a picture, like a side by side of two other trail cam companies. Dude, it was legit. Yeah. Their quality is no joke. You can see the velvet on the antlers and stuff like that. I think we've got a code for Black Gate. It's O two podcast. Save you 10%.
If it's not active yet, it will be. But those guys are, we're gonna get them on here soon to talk about their cameras. Ohio based company. Sorry. Cameras and just camera. Camera strategies. Yeah. We were supposed to record that last night, but man, it was, the weather was freaking crazy around here. Did your power go out?
Oh yeah. It kept flickering and shut everything off. Yeah, it was miserable. Our friends down at Kentucky go wild time to go wild.com. Download the app, Android, apple, use the internet, can find us on there. O two podcast. You sign up, you get 10% or 10 [00:07:00] bucks. 10 bucks towards your first order. Dude, I think that they might be like, they probably have more skews, I feel like, than like basketball shops.
It's crazy. Everything that they have available. So I actually just ordered, so after the B H A event, we sat through the. The trapping seminar and I might've ordered some trap trapping stuff. Paul. Yeah, let's do it. Let's get after it. So yeah, find us on there. O two podcasting. Find me if you so choose Paul Campbell great community to learn, to hunt, to become better.
Talk about strategy. Talk about the gear talk that's going on right now, like the bow setup talk that's going out right now. The community is really neat, so check them out. Go wild. Thanks to our friends at firstlight, man. They just dropped, what is it? The cash, the ca cache cash. And we're just gonna say cash.
It's a, an area down in Mississippi, I believe that floods and they call it cash. Timber camo pattern. Timber camo pattern. It's primarily geared towards waterfowl hunters. Right now it is. Oh man, that is a Turkey killing pattern [00:08:00] right there, if I've ever seen it. That's a first thing Paul said was like, oh, that's Turkey ish.
Oh yeah. No, they're for sure gonna come out with some Turkey stuff. So yeah, we'll get Greg on and talk about that. Yeah good for them. So check them out firstly.com Midwest Gun Works, Midwest gun works.com. If you are getting your rifle set up to shoot coyotes, maybe getting your hunting gun set up to shoot ah, y the deers, the Luthers here in the great state of Ohio and beyond.
Check them out Ohio Outdoors. Five, save yourself on 5% on alt orders before we talk about it. That parts finder is legit. That thing will get you through quite a bit. They also have a silencer shop on there, Andrew. If you are into that, if you wanna start that process, you've gone down that road. So let's talk about that at some point.
How that whole thing works out. If you're interested in a silencer for a hunting application, that was that was pretty neat, but they've got. All sorts of stuff on there for the gun enthusiast, for the firearms hunter here in the suit beyond, we can't forget our friends half rack, half dash rack, [00:09:00] Ohio Outdoors, 15, save yourself 15%.
They got all kinds of stuff for out in the woods. Little things that you might need. Oh, the freedom hangers. Oh damn. As you guys are getting your stands and stuff set for the season, check out their stuff, see if there's anything on there that you might need to get prepared, whether it's some bow hanging or hooks or ropes, the hunter hangers that they've got the freedom line out.
They've got a whole bunch of other stuff. When we got those, I'm like, nah, these are cool. I'm like, I need a hundred of those things. Yeah. I used the first one, I'm like, oh, damn, this is what this is. It was just outta control. I can't believe like how useful those things are. The other day I was out there and I needed something to hang something and I'm like, oh, you idiot, you've got.
Hunter hangers duh, legit, no brainer. Yeah, they're legit. Those things are super useful. Thanks to our friends at vission optics.com. Those guys are pretty cool. Binoculars, range finders, red dot sites, thermal scopes, night vision scopes. Man, these guys got it all. If you're looking [00:10:00] for optics for your rifle, for your hunting applications they are the place to go.
Vission optics.com. We don't have a code for them yet. We're gonna try to work on that, get you guys set up. But yeah pretty neat stuff. What is that thing right there? The thermal reflex hand. Okay. Put the little handheld thermal unit if you're out scouting for coyotes or pigs or something like that.
So check them out. Exhibition optics.com. I think those pay the bills. Paul paid let's see. I don't know how much news I have room around the state, but the one thing I would say is we are still in the month of July. If you haven't. Signed up for controlled hunt lotteries. You can still do that. Actually I did see a new regulation book did pop up in the app the other day.
I don't wanna cover that yet. Okay. I wanna digest it myself look at the changes and then get tonk or somebody on, we're have some folks on about rules in the state of Ohio and we'll talk about all that kind of stuff. Just be aware, excuse me. Be aware that the new regulation [00:11:00] book is out.
So let's see. Real quick, if there's anything else, shoot. That's news. Shoot it, practice, shoot it. Dude, I am starting to get real comfortable with that new site. Oh yeah, you got the archery site. The, was it Aoss? Aoss? Oh man, that thing, it took me a second to get used to that single pin. 'cause I've always shot at least three pins, but now I don't know if I go back to three because it would feel so jumbled.
Yeah. Who put up the it might have been dialed that, did they had the perspective, the view through a peep site of the three, three and five pen versus the single pen. Yeah. It was astounding. It was, I have trouble with that site that I have those five pens, man. They just meshed together 'cause my eyes are old and crappy months.
But yeah, I don't know. It happens. I don't think we have anything else to note. Man. This interview. This is gonna be a long one. This was freaking awesome. Start to finish. Start to finish. It was a ton of fun, man. We just packed it in. Every single person up there is entertaining. So give this a listen[00:12:00] thanks to podcast and like the number of people that like sat around was pretty cool.
Yeah, it was pretty cool. You can find us on Instagram, d dot oh two dot podcast. Go Wild is o two podcast. Paul Campbell on Go Wild. Our website, the o two podcast.com. Got anything? Hit us up, man. Send us some ideas or whatever and we will get after it. Yeah, look forward to a great week and take care everybody.
We are, we're here at Mushroom in the Marsh. We've been talking about this for months on our show, Andrew. Great event hosted by the backcountry hunters and anglers. So we are here with director Mary Merch, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ryan K. Callahan From Me Eater.
So thank you both for your time today, [00:13:00] director Merch 150 years OD N r Celebrate Anniversary this year. So talk and you look great. Thank you. Thank you. Yeah. Nobody can believe that, but you're pulling it off. So talk about just the history of the OD n r and just the relationship that, that the agency has had with partners like B H A and the, the relationship with hunters and anglers and folks that out enjoy the outdoors here in the state, you want the full 150 years.
Does that work? Give me let's do the last, like five months. But let me start with, 150 years ago it was the Ohio Fish Commission and it was a couple of employees and they made a thousand bucks a month and it was a very. Very modest, very, but very important, landmark time to begin that.
And so it began as the Ohio Fish Commission and eventually became the divisional Wildlife today. An incredible arc of people understanding and respecting conservation. And there are some amazing professionals and scientists that run that division, that [00:14:00] lead that division, and they've accomplished so much.
They are the heart of what the whole department does is conservation. And so that division leads in it. And I'm proud of what they've accomplished. We have in the last few years, you said, bring us up to today. Just in the last few years we've acquired. So much more public land.
Ohio is not Montana. We don't have a third of the state that's public land. It's a tiny percentage, but we have a strategy and we're trying to execute it all the time to acquire. I think a third of your state probably has more water than my whole state though, so that and water's an important part of our conservation plan.
Clean water. And I know we've worked with B h A and some others on the clean water part of our conservation. We lead with that and that's where we have focused the biggest part of our resources. So when you look at our budget over the last five years, our biggest increases have specifically been in water conservation and the H two Ohio program, which you two probably have heard a little bit about, but it really took off this year.
So we started, with some good money, [00:15:00] but just our agency has put over a hundred million dollars into water quality. And our approach to it should be really popular with all our partners out there because it's about building wetlands. And so we think wetlands and national infrastructure are the best way to clean that water up.
And we're going crazy with it. I hope you've seen some of the results out there. Yeah, absolutely. We've got 140 projects in the works right now, and the legislature just gave us another 80 million, I think, to do more of this work over the next two years. So yeah. That's amazing. Why why are wetlands your solution?
So we really have a multi-agency answer to this. So our Department of Agriculture is working with farmers to, to do what they need to do. Our Ohio e p a, they're, they're involved in the heart infrastructure, home sewage treatment systems, Wastewater treatment systems. But our piece, we wanna do wetlands because A, I've got the science that it's really effective and b, all the other [00:16:00] benefits, right?
So we're cleaning the water, especially that we, we start with the water flowing into Lake Erie, right? That's what we need to clean. But now we're in the Ohio River Valley too. And not only does it clean the water, we get the wildlife habitat, we get the carbon sinks, we get the recreational value.
So not all, but many of these wetlands are open to the public, so I, awesome. It's it's a win. Yeah. You just mentioned Lake Erie. That's been a, that's been a sore subject for a lot of people in the state, and there's been a ton of effort and just focus and energy that has gone into, to cleaning up the water, going into Lake Erie.
I think it's been fairly successful. I know just in our lifetime that water has changed dramatically and that's a testament to the work of the state of Ohio and all of the volunteers and the people behind and the agencies, partners that have, yeah, have really pushed that.
I think you're seeing that with the walleye numbers. It seems like, the hatches are up and people are happy. So the hatch is great. So I went wildlife fishing Thursday. I did not, I only got three. So I will admit I didn't live it out. [00:17:00] But it was a great day on the water and people caught a lot of fish, but the problem's not fixed right.
We got a long way to go to, to fix those harmful alge blooms. What's the status of it this year? Is it pretty under control? I grew up on the lake, so that was always something that was right in the newspaper headlines all the time. But I haven't heard as much about it this year. So the NOAA prediction was for a small bloom, and then two weeks after they made that prediction, they said, ah, now we're seeing the earliest.
Presence of it. So it's there. Now, if you're out in the Western Lake Erie Basin and you go to the right parts of the bay, you're gonna see it. It's gonna be 10, 15 years before we really wrap our hands around it, I think, and make the difference that we need. But, we just gotta keep moving at it.
And the example we've got, I don't know if you've ever been to Grand Lake, St. Mary's. Yep. It's one of the largest lakes in Ohio. And there, we've been doing this for years now. So we have the data, we have the science, we have these really beautiful, great wetlands and we're measuring the water going in and the water coming out.
[00:18:00] So we know it works. We just need to do it at a scale that it's gonna make the difference. Yeah. So let's talk about public land here in Ohio and you've mentioned. Just out west, is Ohio hunters, we get jealous of some of the properties that, that, the folks in, the western states get to hunt.
So I, we're right around what 5% of the land here is publicly owned. And I know just recently there's been a lot of acquisitions of new properties bringing in some big chunks into the public access world. So what's the plan going forward for your continued access and buying public lands?
Yeah a couple years ago we closed the transaction to buy Appalachian Hills Wildlife area. So between that and the park, we've got over 60,000 acres in eastern Ohio. That was huge. That I think that is the single biggest investment the state has ever made. It was tens of millions of dollars.
I'm really proud we pulled that off, that took a while. It took a lot of faith took a lot of investment, a lot of support from the governor. If he hadn't run that through, we wouldn't have been able to do it. But [00:19:00] frankly I'd like to do a lot more. And that requires the support of the general assembly, which, always has questions about public land, and that's fair.
And we need to be able to answer 'em. But we have a strategy, we have a list of properties. We have, we wanna do a whole lot more. There's a couple ways to do it. The safest way, the most assured way for you all is if we own it, we know it's safe, we know it's protected, we know we can invest in it.
The second best way is through easements and those sorts of agreements. So we're gonna do that too. But yeah I, we have a list of things we wanna do. The budget that we just got included money specifically for acquiring property along waterways. So our scenic waterways, we're going to try to do some riparian corridor acquisitions.
More public access, more hunting, access a along that entire way. We have a long list. I'd like to double what we've already done and I, I know the governor's supportive of it, to get there though, [00:20:00] we and everybody, all of our partners need to work to, to show our general assembly and the general public why it's really important.
So we're investing in a few things that might not be traditional. So we're putting money into renovating the Putin Bay Fish hatchery. It's a historic fish hatchery. A ton of people go there and some might say, why are you renovating that instead of buying property? Because we have to capture people's imagination.
They have to be excited about it, and they need to tell their members in the general assembly, we believe in this, we want you to do this. We see why it's important. So we're doing that out at Appellation Hills. We're gonna build a visitor center because there are people that aren't as experienced as everybody in B H A.
And. And they don't know what to do. They wanna go to the visitor center and have somebody show 'em what to do. And we wanna do that. So we have to have people recognize, appreciate, understand and tell our legislature to support these efforts to expand our public lands. Yeah. So trying to do that.
Yeah. What do you think the biggest challenge for [00:21:00] the department is moving forward in the next five to 10 years? I think it will continue to be, to protect Ohio's waters. Okay. Whether it's Lake Erie, the Ohio River, or everything in between. I think that's the biggest challenge. I think we just greeted our, some of our officers over here and, law enforcement is a tough business right now, and I can't tell you how much respect and support I have for the men and women who, who do that for the agency.
And so the ability to recruit and keep those people is very important to me. And then figuring out how to do these property acquisitions, because, so some people might stand in the way, they don't think that's the right thing to do, and we need to help 'em understand that where we're acquiring and why we're acquiring Makes sense.
The OLA program, I think this is what the third year I use it regularly. It's something that, that I think a lot of people are starting to see. Are you seeing a [00:22:00] lot of engagement with that from the landowners or more properties being added or more hunters? Using that system to access private lands.
Absolutely. I think the main criticism we get is there's not enough of it. So the people who use it are really happy. They're great. And then other people are like, wait a minute, I thought I was gonna, there, there just aren't enough opportunities. But the folks in wildlife are out there every day knocking on doors trying to convince more landowners to be engaged.
And any help with that is very much appreciated. 'cause we have the resources to do it. It's convincing the landowners. But on the user side, it's just people discovering there aren't as many opportunities as they thought. So yeah. It's popular. It's out there. We need to do more of it. People need to understand that you gotta start somewhere too.
So oftentimes in those programs, landowners are the best advocate for other landowners. And so obviously that takes a lot of effort and buy-in from the people who are using those lands. Two, to make sure that those landowners have good experiences, right? Because they're the ones that are really gonna spread the word at [00:23:00] church that Sunday at the feed store where these good old fashioned social overlaps happen.
'cause people are gonna say, Hey, how is that program working? Don't you like don't you hate all those cars out there? Or all the things, right? So there's a lot of responsibility on behalf of the user in conjunction with the state to keep those programs going. Doesn't matter where they are, Kansas Wee Haw or Montana block management.
It's we have, what's we have would be the walk-in Oh, okay. Hunting access. Okay. Yep. Which is another private land public access program. Gotcha. Yep. Yeah. You know what's cool about Ohio that I had no idea about is you have, is it three federally designated Wild and Scenic Rivers? Or is it two?
I don't think I could say that off the top of my head, but Oh yeah. I passed one 15 state designated Scenic rivers the federal. I don't know if I could list that off the top of my head, but Yeah. But few things are better than a river for public access. Yeah.
And we want more state scenic rivers [00:24:00] and getting landowner agreement to do that has been a challenge for us. There's some misinformation out there that once you become a state scenic river the private property owners along at a really limited and what they can do. And that's not the truth.
It's really just when the government is building bridges and doing things that, that we have the ability to control that a little better and protect the river. So we've been at a pause point with our Scenic River program in Ohio while we try to change some laws and help some understanding of the program.
But, I'd like to have five more. So I'm a plant person and I Can you touch on invasive species management? 'cause I know that's a hot topic. Indian Lake has some issues out there that they've been dealing with and we were, thank you for bringing up Indian Lake. Oh, I'm sorry. But we were out Turkey hunting in the spring, and I'm seeing this Jeff.
It's a Japanese, not weed, like everywhere, and I'm like, oh, this isn't good. There's just, there's, it's such a challenge. We're against them. Invasive species we're not for so two different things because part of the problem in Indian Lake is native species, so it's a mixed bag.
So those who haven't been to Indian Lake for the [00:25:00] past couple of years, it's been covered with a mat of vegetation and you take your boat out and in five minutes you're stuck and you have to un, you have to clean everything off the prop. It's been very difficult to use. Yeah. Not because there's anything wrong at the lake, it just nature, na nature has done this, but we have aggressively fixed that.
And there are many legislators who are interested in it, and they're constantly sending me texts and photos of everything they see, but they give us good marks for this year. You can get out on Indian Lake, 90% of it is vegetation free and you can run your jet ski, run your fishing boat. So we're good there.
I don't think it should be the goal of the state to make things jet ski friendly. We can limit some recreation, we can't, we can be angler more specific, you should meet the jet skiers from, if you'd like. All happy to introduce you. We want people to recreate, right?
So our agency, conservation is our heart, but it, it runs the range from natural [00:26:00] leaders and preserves that some of those places we don't want people in at all. Some of 'em that are open for educational and to take a walk and learn about the flora and fauna, to, to our wildlife areas, to, to our parks where, we wanna make recreation available, but yeah.
So we, we try to strike the balance, but invasive species, as a whole, we are best at our nature preserves, right? We hire contractors, we have staff, we have volunteers. We are on it. They are not perfect, but we're pretty assertive in those areas, less mistakes were made in the past.
I was looking at a, an old conservation magazine back from the fifties, and I don't know if you, you remember the name of Louis Bromfield, right? The he the Department of Ag. Building is named after Louis Bromfield. Yes. So Louis Bromfield was an author and movie producer. He lived at Mbar Farm, if you've ever been there.
And he was known for his innovative agricultural techniques. He was also on the Wildlife Council back in the fifties, and I was reading an article [00:27:00] he wrote about the value of multi-floor rose. We need to plant it everywhere because it doesn't spread, it doesn't expand. And he was advocating, hedge rows of it everywhere as the way to go.
And, x number of years later we discover that's one of our worst invasive species, so we can't get to it everywhere. There's so much of it. But there's certainly a focus on it. So staff, people, chemicals, if we have to, up on Lake Erie, the rag mighty is our biggest challenge.
And educating the private landowners that also harbor those terrorists on their property, right? Yeah. Absolutely. They my night to realize it. Yeah. Director merch, I want thank you for your time today and thank you for your service to the hunters and anglers and creators here in the state of Ohio.
I've, I all, every interaction I've ever had with an OD and r employee has been fantastic. It really is a, an elite group of people. And I think a lot of us are proud. We should be proud of Yes. Absolute work that it's done. Thank, I'm proud of them. There's terrific ones here today. There are. So I hope folks get a chance to talk to 'em.
Yeah, it's been great. So thank you. Thank you [00:28:00] so much. I the last question I have for you is talk about the importance of organizations like B H A and the volunteers and the work that, that the b h a volunteers have done and are doing and will do in the state of Ohio. Yeah so absolutely.
So when you talk about invasive species, that's one of the most important areas where the volunteer groups can make a difference. A lot of what we do is based on. Our partners, right? It's first of all, it's a voice like we wanna hear, that's why we have so many people here today.
We wanna hear what you're worried about, what you're concerned about, what you like, what you don't like. We're an open door. So that is one service that b h a and our other partners bring to us. We wanna hear it. The volunteer work is incredible 'cause, we don't have that many employees.
We could never do it all. And the volunteer hours and effort and passion is really key. Another thing we do with a lot of our partners are our projects. The h o Ohio program. And I don't know that we've done one with B H A yet [00:29:00] but many of our partners are these nonprofit groups.
'cause I don't think many people would disagree that sometimes. It takes the government a little longer to do things than the private sector. You heard it here first, so sometimes that's the case. So we have sought to run that program through partners, so d ducks Unlimited, the Nature Conservancy land Conservancies.
We'd love to work with an outfit like, b h a to to do these projects. And we give the grants and they run 'em because they can get 'em done faster and better. Yeah. And they live around 'em and they care about 'em. So that's what we wanna do. Yeah, get involved absolutely invaluable and we appreciate it.
And I wanna say thank you to all the B h A members here today for supporting the department. And I really appreciate the support during the budget. We had a rocky budget year for a lot of reasons, not relating to the agency performance relating to controversies over oil and gas and it was tough.
And your members showed up to testify to write letters [00:30:00] and I have no doubt that made the difference to restore our budget so we can continue to do good things. Yeah. Outstanding. Awesome. Director Mes, thank you so much. Yes, thank you. Thanks so much. All right. Let dad get all set up there. All right.
There we go. Testing. Yeah, you're ready? We mic the dog. What's the dog's name? Kevin. Wings and things. Wings and thanks. Yeah. Wings. Is it things or th fang. Thanks. Okay. I just wanna make sure I was pronounced that. Speaking of pronouncing things Cal I'm going, you and I have a couple things in common.
Yep. One, we both look great with mustaches. I've grown the beard out too. We don't have any butts. No butts. You talked about that last night. Yep. And three. Where's this conversation going? We both mispronounce the name that this event is the, of the town, of the, of this event. And so we, I pronounce it Conant on our podcast.
Uhhuh. We had a couple people reach out. Do you wanna take a stab at, on, on your Instagram? Post the other day. You pronouncing con Do you wanna take a stab at the correct pronunciation of this town? It's Conant Con. I had no idea. Yeah, but let's be honest, that [00:31:00] pronunciation has changed over the years, right?
Oh, for sure. It's very French I think we're just changing with the times we are. Yeah. Yeah. And I'll all these stick in the mud Con Augh. People need to get give with the change, canoe is what I'm going with. Can you know what? That's it. I like that. Get those shirts made.
We'll sell 'em tonight. So we are here with Cow from Cows Week and review of a Weater crew and Kevin Murphy, small Game Nation and your dog wings and thanks. This is this is quite the crew here months. I we've Not had a dog on the chauffeur. No, not intentionally. That's yeah.
So Cal, I wanna talk about your involvement with backcountry hunters and anglers. Yeah. So you were on the national board and you talked last night at the conservation dinner about just how you got into hunting it. At what point in your journey as a hunter and an angler did you start to say, okay, there's more behind just being a hunter.
There's more behind just buying stuff and buying a license. When did conservation and that work really grab a hold of you? Oh boy, I, first we gotta say [00:32:00] it's a North American board, right? 'cause we have chapters in Canada and the Yukon, which is super cool. And my story is not unique, and it's kinda an unfortunate one because it takes hunters and anglers in order for hunters and anglers to get active, which we all need to be, it takes a direct threat.
So I came out of the, working in the Frank Church wilderness. Got sucked into a b h a meeting. Purely because of the free beer. And, I'm hearing about this crazy idea that we shouldn't have public land that's being, was being pushed. How long ago was that? Sorry.
It's not like it's over, right? It really but that meeting came on strong, like during the Reagan administration. Okay. Which I was around. I just, wasn't real talkative at that point. And then we had this big resurgence there about 2011 ish 2010, 2011 of this like idea of the sagebrush rebellion of [00:33:00] divesting federally managed lands to the states and the states can Use them as they see fit.
Which would include having the ability to sell them. And if you look at the amount of state lands every state has had what they started with versus what they have now, there's a real clear track record of getting in financial troubles and selling those lands off. You can have a lot of bones to pick with the federal system of land management, but it's thank you, Kevin.
It's very warm out there. Kevin's still warm on himself. I'm nervous. But it's, it's by far and away publicly accessible. That was a, just like a shock to my system. And at that time, b h a was very small. We had a lot of folks that were older. And had a, a lifetime of use perspective.
And I was one of the few folks that had and was in the middle of a guiding career [00:34:00] on public lands. So that's the very first outfit I started guiding for was on public lands. The outfits that I was guiding with at that point we're on public lands, and I just never saw anyone who came out to our wilderness operation or our B L M operation and left with this stuff, it's not worth anything.
Everybody was like a changed human leaving that place. So that's really what got me fired up on that. And when I started working full-time with Firstlight, it was, very clear that there needed to be more people in the outdoor space, more manufacturers in the outdoor space. Actually speaking publicly about this stuff versus at that point in time, it was truly, it was common for all these companies that do it right now to cut checks and support behind the scenes.
But nobody was saying, we as a company stand for [00:35:00] this, and if you hunt, you should be aware of this. Because there was this idea that there just wasn't enough of the pie to go around. And I had lots of serious talks with folks from big legacy companies that were like literally scared of what we were doing as this little tiny company outta Idaho talking about public lands.
And they're like, oh my God, you guys are gonna alienate who knows how much of the hunting world? And that's the complete opposite happened, right? Like we had no money for marketing at all. Everything we did went into Marino wool and people resonated with this so much and it was truly such a part of our brand, right?
It was like we made clothing so we could hunt in the west and be more comfortable, right? And all of that was on public land, like the whole creation story of it. So it was a very perfect threat at the perfect time. And yeah, and not we were all so busy [00:36:00] at the company. Nobody really cared what I was doing at that point.
So I gotta establish it and run with it before there were any checks and balances in place. That's amazing. Kevin. Small Game Nation talk, talk about. Talk about what that is for folks listening that might not know. That's a little deal that I started to concentrate on.
Small game hunting. So much emphasis anymore is on big game one and done one shot trophy size, whatever. I grew up my dad, you never pick up a squirrel and go, man, look at that thing. That is a trophy squirrel. I like small squirrels. I like to eat 'em all right. So that's how I judge. The smaller the better, but it's just becoming a lost ark.
When I grew up hunting, that was like a rite of manhood to go squirrel hunting on your own, third Saturday and August traditional opening day of squirrel season. So you better have your spot, you better get there early, when I grew up, I'll be [00:37:00] 64 in September.
So it has just changed dramatically where these two people would get ramped up, gun cited in shotgun shells, limited equipment, they might have a shotgun or rifle, a nail carrier, a squirrel carrying pen a laundry pen. If you were really into squirrel hunting and you had one of these, you were, that was your main piece of equipment.
Okay? So thread, it's the greatest squirrel on here and carry it with you. But it's a giant, it's a giant gold safety pen. Yeah. All pen. What is it? A laundry pen. A laundry pen. So they would put if it had uniforms from a certain entity, whatever. That's got number seven. Lucky number seven.
So that way they could track your laundry. On that. But anyway, I saw when I started hunting very limited deer hardly any turkeys. One, one area of turkeys [00:38:00] and lots of small gang, lots of dogs, that were out there. I just thought people would ask me, I would go places.
I did my first b h a event in 2018 and people would come up say, Hey, can you teach me squirrel hunting? Or Can you take me squirrel hunting? And, a lot of people expect you could just learn it like in one trip, which we all know you can't do that. But I would try to help 'em, give 'em tips or whatever.
And then I just decided that I would do a little thing concentrate on small game. And then I started traveling around the world hunting small game. I went to the S C I convention back in February at Nashville. It was really hard to find a small game hunt at the S c I convention, but I met some people that they did some stuff off their, on their own.
So maybe I get to go to the Yucatan and hunt and alpaca. It's, it was like the sixth largest rodent in the world with some dogs in the jungle. So I'm looking at possibly doing that. But there's a lot of challenge in the hunting small game. I [00:39:00] went to Sweden and Norway, hunted a mountain hare over there.
Hunting is very different over there. It's more of a ritual. It's not about killing, it's a process of community cutting together, getting your dogs, it's a one dog rule over there. You can only have one dog loose at a time. So that makes it very difficult in training a young dog. So you've gotta bring a pup up where he knows how to do everything on his own, so that, that takes more time to do that.
But like I said, I just saw a need for. Someone that would concentrate on small game hunting, how to, where to go, how to do it, how to cook it, and all the fun and the people that you can meet all over the world. We're all the same. We're our go, we love our dogs and we love to be outside.
We love to hunt and we love to protect our spaces. So yeah, that, and that's another thing that I've seen that here in the US we don't realize what we have. When you go to another country such as Nicaragua, the [00:40:00] government owns everything down there. Gun ownership is very limited. Costa Rica, they do no hunting whatsoever there.
Mongolia, it's wide open as far as hunting goes until there's concessions and things that if you go into the big game, but the small game, they don't care about. You can pretty much do what you want to over there. Took me like 14 days to find my only squirrel hunter in Mongolia. But I found, but that's just crazy to me.
'cause you're from Kentucky, right? Yes. Do you ever think you'd be out in Mongolia hunting small girls squirrels some day? I think squirrels in Mongolia growing up I didn't know. Is never, ever, you know what I thought, and like I said, I started traveling. I grew up as a kid where the locals went to Canada Wildlife fishing.
That was the big trip. They went out west pheasant hunting. Some went you're like holding my beer while I got Mongolia. I'm, I'll take you guys out. But, I never had the, my dad, he wasn't a big traveler. He doesn't care about, really hunting, just local. [00:41:00] That was all that was on his list.
And when I got. The ability to be older, to go on trips. And I started taking trips and then when I really got the ability to go on trips, I started really taking trips. Yeah. And that's what I look forward to is going somewhere. I love hunting in Kentucky. I love hunting in the States, but why I'm still fit traveling's is difficult.
Traveling with a gun is even more difficult. I'm gonna try to see as much as the world as I can and see the people and the community of hunters Yeah. Enjoy you. You've both brought up threats to, to what we love. Threat threats to, to, to public land access. And Kevin I feel like a dog hunter and trappers probably have the most negative attacks all the time on social media.
People really, for whatever reason, hone in on, on Hounds men and what you guys do. And even a lot of hunters do that. I've never under, I've never understood that. And we had, we talked to Chris Powell, I don't know if you know him hounds man, xp and he really broke down like the culture of [00:42:00] Hounds man and dog hunting and why it's important to, the hunting culture that, that we have in the, in this country.
Why is it so important to you? Running game with dogs and just the, we're talking about you. Oh yeah, we're talking about you wings and things. It's in my d n a, just I'm a dog guy. And to be able to have a dog to go out and do what that dog was made for, this country America was conquered with dogs.
We don't realize that. But, 30,000 years ago, the paleo people that came across the barren straits and they brought dogs with them, dogs are probably just like a novelty in the beginning. Maybe some spirit animal that came into camp, clean things up. They've been a big part of history coming in.
At first, they were just part of them. Then we got a grip on the dogs and domesticated them and started to turn 'em into different uses. And a lot of dogs now are not being used for their intention. They're a tool. Our first domesticated animal is the dog. And like I said, I just love hunting with the [00:43:00] dog.
It's not for everybody. I've gotta take care of this dog, 365 year days a year to maybe to go hunting 60 days. There's not any birds in Kentucky anymore, so really there's no places for me to hunt there. I've gotta travel with her. I'm gonna try to make her multipurpose where I can squirrel hunt with her rabbit hunt.
She chased the blacktail jack rabbits in New Mexico this year and then chased them for a while and then went in and immediately pointed a cove of desert quail and just locked up hike. So you can do different things with dogs that people don't realize. And a lot of our old farm dogs were that way.
They were multi-purpose. They guarded the homestead. They helped herded the stock, whether it be cattle, pigs or whatever. And then they took 'em hunting during the daytime and then took 'em hunting at night and provided entertainment for the children. And they're very big part of our society as far as hunting, and we do not need to lose that heritage, it's not for everybody.
They are [00:44:00] warriors. They get hurt sometimes, but they are doing what they're made to do as hunt and provide a service to us, and we take care of them and try to bring that generation on where we have better dogs and more dogs. And then people that are worthy of having a hunting dog, they can have a good.
Quality dog, whether it's wings, is a dropper. She's two br breeds. German chore head Poer English, Poer excellent hunting dog. But far as in the breeding world, nobody would really want her because they can't say her parents went back to here. There's two, two crossbred in there, which usually makes the best species a lot of times.
Yeah. But on our show, I'm really good at derailing Paul's like path. So I You mentioned entertainment for kids. Now how could you derail off just what I said? Because I'm just gonna go. Okay. But and you mentioned entertainment for the kids and the family. I would be remiss if I didn't bring this up.
My kids have two favorite shows with me within meat eater. Okay. The one is [00:45:00] when my son starts calling everybody Bobby Django. Okay. After your squirrel dog. And the other one is when Cal when you guys ran into that bear. I think it was in Alberta, the bc somewhere out there bc Yeah. They always wanna watch the bear episode.
So Bobby Django and the Bear episode. So you guys are also entertaining the kids of the next generation, which is important in this bigger discussion of keeping things, Lance public and continuing to educate and keep people interested. Had we had a couple of camp dogs that probably wouldn't have happened in BC so Exactly.
Dive into that. The, because I've not seen that episode. The bear, when I went up to scout that area, I had my dog with me just a couple days before that. Really? Yeah, we had a Sal Grizz very good mom. Three, three Cubs come running into, we hadn't set up camp yet, but yeah, it was very close and she was trying to root out the interlopers in her area and.
Grizzly Bear is a very serious predator of other grizzly [00:46:00] bears. So in those zones they get very territorial and especially in the fall, they get into this hyperphagia mode as they're trying to put on a ton of calories as the season's starting to come to an end and they know they have to store up that fat for the hibernation period, right?
So you can see some really aggressive behavior and that's definitely what we saw. So that was, yeah, heart charging. I have one just a goofy question. We had janni on and I have this this idea that you guys at me eater just get in a room and you come up with the craziest ideas about what to hunt or what to chase and is is Uncle Steve at the table?
Nope nope. And, hunting monkeys with knives. Yes. Let's do that. So how does that process, 'cause you guys go after stuff that I didn't even know that, Hunting squirrels in Mongolia. That, that's amazing. Like, how's that process when you're working through like the shows that you want to you, it used to be much more open and similar to what you're talking about, but all it takes is one time for Steve to be like, that is really cool.
I am gonna go do that. [00:47:00] So you're like, I'm not gonna tell you anymore ideas. Yep. He gets all the fun stuff. So yeah, that's big budget, right? Yep. Some leisure time there. So let's talk about and we've got a lot of b h a folks that I want to get up here, volunteers, and that's the heart and soul of this organization is the volunteers and the members.
Talk about why it's important for, the modern sportsman and woman to, to be members of conservation organizations and what conservation looks like in, 2023 and going forward. Just like this little snapshot in time that we're all involved in right now, there's a.
Million things, as many things that you can think of positively in regards to hunting and fishing. There's that many things out there that don't care about that at all, and they see a totally different use for that landscape that you're out recreating on. Being tied in with an organization and, obviously we want you and need you to become a member but you don't have to be, you can sign up for the [00:48:00] newsletters for every organization.
And I always tell people find those organizations that you do not align with and get their newsletter too. That information, the way that they see the issue is very educational. It lets you see the other side of oh, this is like the keystone action point around this river that I just like to fish on.
But you see it as. A different sort of opportunity, right? And that's like where we're grinding and butting heads. So it allows you to become a better advocate for your chunk of stream or your bridge access or whatever it is. Education's a huge part of it. The other part of it is a community, right?
You can be like, oh, okay, I'm not the crazy person that everybody on my block thinks I am because I get up at three 30 in the morning and I'm banging decoys around and I have a super crappy old boat that I'm hitching up and nobody knows what I do. So you find a bunch of like-minded individuals.
B h a is very blessed [00:49:00] because we have some really good diversity very young crowd, certainly compared to a lot of the other organizations out there. So that brings in a lot of new perspectives, new ideas when we talk about these things like. Invasive species, certainly on noxious weed fronts, stuff like that.
People are the biggest vector for invasive species. We bring in the animals, we bring in the plants. Being able to come to a place like a mustard in the marsh or a rendezvous and get some crash courses on what those species are, how they travel, what we can do about them, like absolutely comes in handy.
Especially if you ever go knock on like a landowner's door and say, Hey a deer jumped the fence and I gotta go in there, or I want to go in there, or can I get permission to Turkey hunt or cross through here? Or whatever the case may be. You can be like, oh, and by the way, all this stuff over here, I can take care of that for you too.
And, so it's good ways to build those bridges [00:50:00] and keep that tent expanding, keep that community expanding. Because one, one thing that I've learned. Whether it's, testifying at the State House in Montana or Idaho or going to DC or just sitting around, the truck station coffee shop waiting for a storm to pass.
People who spend time in the outdoors generally have the same idea. They just like to talk about them and hear about them in their own words. And so do our state representatives and congress people too. We can have the same thought, but you better come at it using their words or else it, they think you're on the opposite side of things.
'cause we're all, in this day and age, geared up for a fight. So spending time, diverse group crowd or diverse group of people, you're gonna pick up on those perspectives. You're gonna be able to formulate a better story, a better argument as to how and why these things matter to you.
And [00:51:00] that's at the end of the day what. We need to be doing is telling these stories ineffective ways that say, Hey, this place matters because of this. And I take my family there and I take my kids there and I have family coming in from outta state. So we can go there and you put that value out there, clear and simple for elected officials or a game commission.
But that's the way this stuff's going to stick around. And when you get in a community like this, you come up with better ideas on how to cook and share that game and all that stuff makes big ripple effects, right? So like I live in Bozeman, Montana. I always call it Bos Angels these days 'cause it's just like an exploding, crazy rate of growth for my home state.
And it's like hard to throw a rock in town and hit somebody who was actually born in Montana at this point. Feels so we are diluting this pool. It's not like everybody in Montana was a hunter prior to this, but [00:52:00] everywhere you went, people would be, oh, I don't hunt, but I get elk from this person.
I get deer from this person. And that pool's kind of diluting. And so the sharing of game and especially with some instructions on how to cook that stuff, how to properly store it best ways to serve it, things like that. Keep people connected to hunting even if they're not physically going out and collecting that game.
And that's a always has been a huge part of humanity. And we need to keep that going. So this idea of meat just magically appearing is, something that a lot of people need, but we just can't let them think that's the source of meat. There's this whole other thing out there.
And by the way, that's what supports the wild water and the Wildwood. And if we start removing people from that system, that other interest side [00:53:00] of things, it's gonna say nobody uses it. Nobody goes out there. I only saw one boat out there. Obviously it's underutilized. And the best utilization is for, who knows, a bunch of condos or something.
Jet skis. Jet skis. Jet skis. Yeah. A whole package of jet skis. Cow. Didn't you don't know the hate that you've opened up jet ski. Oh, I do. It's a fun topic. Jet ski. It's making fun of people's bird dogs, right? I don't do it because I'm dead set against like a vla, which to me is, a cute dog for People's couches shots fired.
Yeah. Oh, goodness. No. Would you guys mind real quick if we if anyone do a quick q and a session? Yeah, sure. Awesome. Does anyone have a question for Cal or or Kevin, you'd like to come up? It's gotta be someone, Renee,
anyone. Oh my gosh. We're gonna have to edit the sound. No one's taking. We covered it all. We did, we covered it all. We, somebody. Oh, very good. Here we go. I had a question for Kevin. How would you recommend [00:54:00] somebody looking into getting into Beagles, starting running Rabbit dogs? Where would be a good place to start to that?
So the question is how can someone get into running Beagle dogs? What I would do, I would look whatever area that you're, where you live, and find out locally who's got dogs, do some talking around, see who's got the best dogs, and Try to make friends with them, ask them if you can go hunting with them and just start knocking on doors of people that have Beagle Hounds.
There should be a club, there may be a field trial or whatever, and then decide do you want to hang out with the field trial guys or do you want to go with the hunters? So it's a different, two different bands there. One is more on dogs, the other one is more on being outside and harvesting games.
So that's what I would do is look in your local area and, go to the greasy spoons, whatever. If you see a dog box, just go up, and start talking to 'em. Find out what kind of dog they have because if they've got a hound dog, bird [00:55:00] dog, whatever, they probably know somebody that has a beagle.
So that's the way I would approach. Good question. Good answer. What was your name? Leo. Leo. Thanks for the question, Leo. Anyone else? And I've got the six Beagle puppies at home too, so Yeah. Shameless plug there, Kevin. Did you have a question? You look like you got excited there, right? You have something?
It wasn't an action question. I'm just gonna ask for my question for me trivia. Probably never. I think all so the question was, we, we have me Eater Trivia hosted by Spencer New Hearth, and this is coming up more and more often is why did my submitted question for trivia not get picked to be read on trivia?
And I think it's 'cause Spencer's not reading his emails. Yeah, I saw the last episode. He picked the same guy twice and you had even it out. I was like yeah. And everybody I talked to is I know he didn't read my email because if he had, he would've picked it. Come on, Spencer. Actually, really, I, Paul and I were talking about this on the dried up derailing again, the question about the glass [00:56:00] versus the plastic bottles breaking down, that was mind boggling to me.
Yeah. It took me a while to get that, my head wrapped around that, so Yeah. Yeah. I'd like to get you guys I get blessed to talk to y'all more than I probably should, but I'd like to get you guys' opinion on where we're at with hunter efficiency. Some of our weapon systems are getting even better and even better and even better.
And I'm just helping on buddy of mine set up his new compound boat and find myself walking out the back door. My tra boat is now, I get to a point where I'm fly fishing, I'm using my tra bow, I'm making everything harder because I've been at it for a while. There's a balance between hunter efficiency and how many tags are out there and how fast we can take the game, yeah. Guys cross boats are, tagging out the first three days of season and then they're done. They're done. The question was on, on hunter efficiency and hunters and anglers and the equipment side that have made us more efficient at killing Yeah. Technology. Yeah. [00:57:00] The arms race.
Yeah, it, it's a fantastic topic. It's like a many podcast series type of topic, right? An example like in Idaho that just came up is there's been a very small group of people who want to use lighted knocks. When fish and games sends out their survey it doesn't come up as like a top thing that people want.
But the state legislature came in and made it legal from a state law perspective to use lighted knocks, right? And that's just like a little teeny, tiny bit of technology. So there's something like that, or there is like the archery site that automatically ranges the game and adjust for holdover as is.
There's the rifle scope that. Automatically RA ranges the game and adjusts for holdover all within your scope and you don't have to do anything. I just checked out the Swarovski version of that the other day, which is wild. There's super [00:58:00] fancy muzzle loader seasons or super fancy muzzle loaders that have been built specifically for short-range weapons seasons that were initially put in place because muzzle loaders weren't that effective in collecting game.
And so you see like the arms race crank up to make it very effective in taking game during these short range weapon seasons. And to Colonel Mike's point who asked that question, there is always a lot of ways of looking at this thing. It's if you are super efficient, At collecting game, you aren't in the woods that long.
In theory, which means your imprint on that area is a lot less that your imprint on the rest of that herd is a lot less, and it could therefore provide more opportunity for other people who hit that same patch of woods. From a population perspective, the more [00:59:00] efficient things get, quote unquote easier.
Weapons are to use to take game. It allows more people to use them and have a greater impact at a population level on that pa patch of Woods I see technological regulation change as this. Thanks. Crazy attempt to regulate ethics in people. And it's one of the odd things in the hunting world.
There's not that many poachers in my belief that actually have a hunting license. So we're not convincing them to be a part of the community anyway, right? And they're out there doing their thing. So how do we regulate those people? Just as the super frustrated person with their muzzle loader during the short range weapon season?
Who takes that hail Mary shot that they shouldn't be taking [01:00:00] because they can't hit the pie plate at a hundred yards anyway. But it's the last day of the season, so they're gonna fling that ball out there and say something horrible. If there's lead in there, there's hope, right? Whereas in my belief and upbringing, it's unless you know that thing is gonna die when you pull the trigger, you don't pull the trigger.
So yeah, when we see these regulations change, I think it's, we're trying to regulate ethics, which is impossible. And it really, what we need to do is find a way to invest in hunter's education and probably make it mandatory amongst states, right? So like Montana right now huge debate been going on for two and a half years of how much money we should put into the Hunter education system.
And my personal belief is zero because we don't require it at all. In theory, we require hunter safety for residents and non-residents, but you [01:01:00] can bypass the entire system by filling out an affidavit that says you have an active hunting license in another state. So if you're whatever years old, your dad, mom can fill out a hunter safety form in.
Texas or New Mexico at, eight, nine years old for that child and click the affidavit button online in Montana, bypass our entire hunter education system. I don't think that's the way to go unless you have a homeschooling structure for the outdoors that is far superior to anything else that kid's gonna get in front of online.
It's regulating ethics, long spiel there, but regulating ethics, that's, yeah. Big conversation. Yeah. It's and I love making things harder on myself. Like I'd on X is like an unbelievable tool. And I'm always like I don't want my phone to run outta batteries, and I never look at my phone on these big, long hunts.
So I. [01:02:00] Yeah, I, and I think Mike said it he is I find myself now making things harder. So he's been through the learning curve, right? I used to go out and blast gophers massacre gophers all day long as a kid, and I have no interest in that now. So we do go through these changes, right?
And sometimes it's great to go out there and just beat the hell out of the walleye because you have had this dry stretch of just not being able to figure 'em out. But there is nothing worse than being on a boat or being on the ice with a bunch of people that you're supposed to be out there fishing with and having a good time with, and they just are locked into a screen all day watching fish on tv.
It's a moderation thing, but I agree, like technology is scary for me. Yeah. Gentlemen, thank you so much for your support of b h A and your support of this event and everything that you guys do. Absolutely. Entertaining as hell. I've appreciated this conversation. Thank you guys.
Thank you. Yeah. So we've got we're back again [01:03:00] here, mustard and marsh. We've got John Fabian, cover, bridge Outfitters and Colonel Mike Abel, the Kentucky b h a. I wanna start this off. And obviously this is a podcast, so you know, most people are listening to it. There are some people here watching this.
Now, John, you might have the best hair in this entire brand, my man. Appreciate it. You have you, you put in some effort on that, right? It's a lot of steelhead. Slime. Is that what it is? Fresh air, sun. Yeah. That's a secret. Yeah. Hydration brother. Sorry, how about that? Just a little more.
Right there. There we go. I was like, wow, Paul, you're getting real close to this hair now. It's the hair dude. Yeah it's the hair. John what, so you work here at Covered Bridge Outfitters. What's your role here? And this place is beautiful, man. I, what a place to hold an event.
Absolutely appreciate it. Yeah, man, we we're super excited to have the event in B h a and so many great people here. This is a project and a baby of mine started a year ago just with a focus on providing the best outdoor experiences possible for people. And as a whole, we have a, an outlook on conservation and property [01:04:00] management and land management and wildlife, propagation of Turkey ground and white tail ground.
And in our area specifically, it is suffering a little bit. We've got people that are phasing out of agriculture and cutting their timber down and, We find ourselves in a position to hopefully change that and keep moving forward with it. Because Ashe Beah County's a, it's a sleeper, it's a stud in here for what we do.
It is a stud. You guys are the Turkey killing capital of Ohio. If you look at the Yeah, we're number one county in the state this year. Every year it's been like that for protect. Paul reminds me of that every spring. So I wanna say, and for people that have listened to the show I try to bring up Turkey hunting every quiet so far.
Think I haven't said a word about it. Three other people have mentioned it, so I'm gonna keep, I'm not gonna talk about it. Colonel Mike, Kentucky native, still live there. Yeah. What part? Actually born and raised in Maryland. Okay. And I married a lovely young lady from Kentucky about 26 years ago, and I tell everybody that's how Kentucky improves the gene pool.
They got all these beautiful women and they suck us in from everywhere. Oh, that's [01:05:00] funny. Yeah. We got married when I was a young infantry officer and we decided to retire her place, not mine. Okay. So very good. I'm gonna give credit where credit's due. Your hair is pretty, pretty dang good too.
You for 50? For 52, bro. Hey, thanks for your service, by the way. Thank you. Thank you. We're, yeah, we're, I'm really proud of that for my age, man. That's imp and it's someone that's bald. I get jealous of good hair pretty easily. So you let it ride. Mike, talk about your role within the Kentucky B H A volunteer.
Are you on the board? What are what's your role then there? Yeah I started off with a couple of really good friends that are actually here to found the chapter a couple years ago. And it was a collaborative effort. And you gotta get it started somehow. And we got our charter in 2019 and we started working towards, doing the mission of B h A in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
And it's so easy to do. At B h a compared to every other conservation organization I've been in they, your chapter coordinator helps you get it set up, you get the board set up, you get your bylaws, boom you're operating. [01:06:00] And I started off as the vice chair. We put together a really good team and this past year during our annual meeting we had decided to make a change.
And I wanted to step down from the actual leadership role and be the event coordinator to run th things like this. We were just talking offline because we've gotta generate membership and revenue like any other hook and bullet organization. And for the first three years of in Kentucky, man, all we did was habitat projects.
And that brought the membership, we'd be out on the landscape cleaning something up or doing a hacking squirt on invasives or building wood duck boxes and hanging them. And everybody loved that. But we didn't have a nickel in the bank. And thank God we had partnerships with other organizations in Kentucky in conservation.
And we would like, for our biggest event, we clean up the Peabody Wildlife Management area, which is about 33,000 acres. We get like 50, 60 volunteers filling a construction dumpster, geez. And first year we filled two construction dumpsters and that cost us 700 bucks for the construction dumpsters.
We had to get [01:07:00] another organization to pay for that. Now we're making our own money. We've got trap shoot, we've got a film fest. We're doing some things in addition to all those cleanups and all the habitat work. And I'm having a lot of fun putting on events. So I'm actually watching, I was looking at how this is running, and talking to West Virginia about us maybe picking something like this up in a year or two.
Yeah. Good. Good deal. John, when when b h a, when they approached you guys to have this event, was it. You I'm sure you were on board with that from the get go, right? These pretty solid group up here. Yeah, for sure. It was actually my introduction to the group which I think leads into Colonel Mike's comment about this.
It's about people knowing what's happening, and I, as a lifelong outdoorsman and someone who spends every day of their life outside, I wasn't really aware of b h a or what they did or their goals. And after some conversations, it was a no brainer. It was like, let's go let's utilize this space.
It's a wonderful space. People need to see it. Exposure's great. People can't fix a problem they don't know exists. We're all on board. Yeah. Whatever we could do to help, man. I think it's [01:08:00] between the land and the water and every, the property we have and the other properties are around, we could do events.
This was a concept for me to see the, this many people here. I think it's flowing great. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. I'm tickled to death, it's awesome. But we have to get people aware of what's going on, what problems need to be fixed, what needs to be talked about, yeah, definitely. Now are you on board with Cal's idea to change the name of your town? Cano. We're selling church later tonight. Yeah. No, he's gonna deal with the, he's gotta deal with the locals on that one. Man that I'm staying this far away from you for sure. There go. I gave him the proper pronunciation, so there you go.
Now John where can people find covered Bridge Outfitters on social media? Yeah, so we're our handles are at Covered bridge outfitters websites, cbo lodge.com. We've got a phone number on there. Give us a call. You talk to one of the staff members or myself, you help, you build whatever pro whatever package you want.
Chase, any game you want. We do hosted travel. We're a year round organization. Fishing for everything that swims and just like I said, we're trying to put people in the [01:09:00] best possible position to enjoy their time outside, and that's what Outfitters and Guides do. It's not a contest. It's not about who shoots more or catches more.
It's about helping people take that next step, get outside, and when you have a great customer base and a great following of people, it's easy to do and you, and it's easy to make people more proficient anglers and hunters when they wanna learn. Yeah, definitely. Now, Kurt, Colonel Mike, we're an Ohio based show, but we have a pretty strong contingent of Kentucky listeners a lot of support from our state down south.
What's next on the outreach? What's next on the events for the Kentucky b h a chapters. So we got a lot going on right now, this time of year. This is our big time of year because our hunting season starts in September. We got a lot of dedicated bow hunters in the state and some really outstanding bow hunting organizations.
So we don't really get excited about public lands month. We start hunting. So public Lands month for us is August. Okay. We're cleaning up two different waterways this month. We got a next Saturday we have a native plant walk, which is an a [01:10:00] collaborative effort with another organization.
So that's a class really. We got a hack and squirt coming up. We're gonna build wood, duck boxes again. And Peabody are our showcase event, which I already mentioned is always the second week in August. But we had something to do with you guys and we need to talk to, before we leave, Jameson needs to get us together because we've got a serious trophy catfish issue going on the Ohio River.
Yeah. And we in Kentucky our department of Fish and Wildlife Resources allows for the taking of trophy catfish as a rough fish, commercial fish, and the trophy side of the house. We actually issue 15. Permits for 15 commercial anglers and they can take four fish in the trophy class, which I think for a flathead is 35 inches.
And for a blues 48 inches, they can take four a day. So 60 trophy fish a day. And they're putting 'em in Pay lakes. Pay lakes, yeah. They're selling 'em to pay lakes and that the fish is dying. We like to call it a prostitution of the resource because basically you're taking a public resource, you're selling it to a private entity, [01:11:00] and they're doing tournaments.
They're gambling on it, they actually sell chances. They used to do it with a tag fish. They take a five pound catfish in the lake. Tag it. Yeah. Same tournament. Now it, they're making a lot more money off somebody catching, a 35 pound fish that's 20 years old. And we just had our meeting in Kentucky and we at Kentucky, b h a made a really, I was really proud of my board.
'cause sometimes it's hard to get the board to agree on language. We made a really lucid statement and the president of the American Campus Association actually flew up from Florida. They're doing tournaments just as big as, bass masters now for catfish. And we need to do one of two things.
We need to call it a game fish. Or we probably need to do something under the commerce law. We, where we just don't allow 'em to transport trophy catfish. You can't transport a trophy catfish if it's alive and that just ends the pay lake deal. If you catch 'em and you wanna harvest 'em and you wanna put it into the fish house and you wanna put it on somebody's plate, which probably shouldn't because of the amount of mercury in a trophy catfish.
But anyway, we gotta work together. [01:12:00] Some need to get with Indiana and Ohio and and Illinois b h a and talk about that and share the message that we took to our Fish and Game commission and see if in some way, shape or form, we can't have a three or four state collaboration.
Yeah. Coalition to, yeah. Collaboration coalition to, to come out and say, look, we support, to taking a trophy catfish, within limits by commercial fishermen For sure. But we'd really like you to throw 'em back. The guy that just caught the Tennessee state record, they, the biologist jokingly said it was the same fish.
Okay. 'cause he caught it two years in a row. Nearly the same spot. It looked like the same fish. It was like it four pounds heavier. But he set the state record twice. You know what I mean? Let's let everybody use the resource and, but that's our next fight. And and we're gonna hopefully get you guys' help with it.
Yeah. Very good. Absolutely. Gentlemen, thanks for your time. Thanks for your support of of b h a. Appreciate you. What a place, man. John. Thank you Colonel Mike. Guys service. Thanks guys. Sure. Oops, sorry. Wings. [01:13:00] Come on, big fella. Get in here. Oh, yeah, sorry. Wings. No wings. Come here girl. She's the, Oh boy.
She's the star of this. She really is. You got your headphones. She's living her absolute best life this weekend. She is, man. She's running. She'd run around, say, Kevin, have you seen this place? There's dogs everywhere. This is awesome. Everywhere. So many friends. What an now So many friends. Can you hear?
Yeah. Yeah, man. You've got a good radio voice. Do I? We've had, yeah, we've had Yawn Henry's a two timer now. He is a two timer. That's special territory, man. Thanks for having us for two time guests in this show. Not that it's special, in our world it is. So we've got, I'm trying to read Jameson's writing here.
Tony Ruffins. Yeah. Tony Ruffing. Ruffing. Okay. Yep. Yep. Now and then Henry. You guys know Henry I, I'm a little disappointed. The last two guests had phenomenal hair. So I'm bald. You slept in the jeans that you [01:14:00] wore last night. Did you admit that? I did. Do I need to take my hat off? I, Henry, what have you done?
I have hair. All wings and things. Trying to give you a little kiss. All right. So we'll give you some, we'll give you some points for wings and things here. So let's talk about, so you guys are Ohio residents. Tony, talk about your involvement with with B H A and why you got involved.
Oh boy. That goes back to about 2017. A group of friends and I were actually, we're actually looking trying to figure out, we wanted to start an organization, a conservation organization in the state of Ohio. But we didn't really know, where to go for that. 'cause it was like every, everything's covered.
You gap pheasants forever. Ducks unlimited whitetails and all that stuff. And we looked at start we were thinking about starting something for veterans, but none of us served. And it just seemed really out of our wheelhouse to, to do something like that. And that was about the time Randy Newberg was, it was getting really popular.
Steve Burn was starting his thing too. And so we discovered b h A through there. And a good friend of mine, I reached out to him. I said, have you heard about [01:15:00] country hunters and anglers? He's yeah, I've been a member now for about a year or so. So I said there's no chapter in Ohio, so let's, let's see about starting that.
And was September of 2017, we had our first pint night. The director of membership development at the time reached out to me as we were preparing for it. And he said, how many people are you expecting? I said I said, I'd love to have about 30 or 40 people show up. And he's man, he's honestly, if you get five plus that'll be phenomenal.
Challenge accepted, right? Yeah. So we had our first pint night at land Grant Brewing down in Columbus. And before we even got stuff set up, there's 15 people that are waiting for us. I think we had about 35 people show up that night. That's awesome. I got a hold of him or got ahold of the director of development again, and he said, that's phenomenal.
I said, yeah, so we need to strike now. We got the chapter started in 2017, that November we had our first membership call, had about 15 people on. We formed a board from there. I've had people, say, Hey thanks for starting this chapter. And it's yeah, maybe I got the ball rolling and stuff.
But I've been [01:16:00] blessed exponentially with solid board members and I actually stepped down as the state chair about a year ago. And Henry and our other co-chair, Dustin, have just taken the wheel, just taken the ball and run with it from there. And we've had a rockstar.
Rockstar board of directors, from day one. And we've got a lot of new blood on our board now and I think there's only one or two of us original guys left and, which is fine. That's how things get moving and shaken. But so yeah we we got a phenomenal group of people and volunteers behind us and it's been great to, see how things grow and evolve here in the last few years.
Yeah. Good deal. Tony or Henry, how long have you been involved with bj? I joined, it's funny, I joined in 2017. I knew a little bit about B h a through like mediator podcasts and things like that. And the Mediator podcast came to Columbus. And I got tickets to that with my buddy. Great Live podcast.
Lots of beer to drink. So we were well lubricated and at the end of the show, [01:17:00] everybody goes back out to the bar area and. There's a table set up to join b h a and I always had like in my mind oh, that's like a western hunting organization. But then I see Tony Ruffing standing behind the table.
It was love at first sight, and I knew birch chirping. If that corn fed looking fella is N B H A, then it is definitely Midwest driven. Oh yeah. And I signed up on the spot, and that's about all I remember from that night. I am Midwest as folk. So Good Midwest looking specimen right here. Talk, talk. Both of you talked, you chime in, talk, talk about the the events that b h A holds across the state of Ohio. You've got cleanups down on Wayne National. You got some really neat, pint nights that you talked about, Tony, you talked about some of the the events that, that the chapter holds here in the state and how people can be evolved.
Yeah so The Pint Knights are great. It's mainly [01:18:00] just a a mini fundraiser for our chapters but it's really good for membership growth. 'cause we'll have, in Ohio we've got, we've got the big five cities. We got Columbus, Cleveland Cincinnati, Toledo and down around Athens too.
So we try, we, we try to spread out amongst the state as far as we can, but you had Cal up here earlier talking about, we gotta reach out to folks that, that aren't, in our circle. And pint nights are usually a really great way to do that because we'll have 'em in those more urban areas usually.
And they're all open to the public. We basically just show up here, brewery or bar, set up our stuff and just go from there. But you really, you get a lot of interaction from folks that, that are, unfamiliar, don't know what B H A is or who we are. And so it's a great way to, that olive branch to reach out to people.
But we've taken a directive as a board too to, focus on more meaning meaningful events as well too. Like the pint nights are fun. That's great. It's a good time. But that, at the end of the day, our membership wants to know, okay, we're donating this money, where's that going?
So we, we try to focus [01:19:00] our energies on, Henry's led a number of tree print, tree planting programs. Yeah. And so one thing that can relate today, what everybody's doing here is the tickets you're buying today for the raffles, your t-shirts you're buying today, all that money goes back to b h a to do boots on the ground project.
So one, one project we did this year is we teamed up Wayne National Forest, so the US Forest Service. Another non-profit called Rural Action. And then another private business that wanted to invest in projects as well. And it was a water quality project, 'cause there's a lot of water quality issues down in southeastern Ohio with all the old strip mining that went on.
So what Wayne National Forest needed help with was it was actually erosion caused by illegal a T v use. So Wayne National picked out some targeted areas to help prevent the [01:20:00] legal a t v use that's just tearing up the streams and the hillsides and causing more water issues down there.
And so we planted about a hundred trees just down this a t v trail in thick mud. It was. It was a very messy but very rewarding ordeal. And we as a Ohio Beach a we put $5,000 towards that project. So that's where if you step over and buy your raffle tickets today, you buy a t-shirt.
That is what the money's going back to is so that we can do projects to help our public lands and waters. Yeah, absolutely. And we do a lot of I'm at the State House a lot. We do a lot of lobbying efforts and stuff too. And the fact of it is to get budget bills, to get laws, to get, regulations passed, cost a lot of money.
So you know that the fundraising efforts that we have out there goes to Cabela's tent. But the fundraising that we have for a lot of that stuff, that it all [01:21:00] goes back to that, it you, you gotta grease the wheels a little bit, if you will. But yeah we focused we just had a dock fishing dock access project that we parted with and you know so we really try to, we really try to do stuff, outside the box, and I think that's really helped us as an organization, as a chapter grow in a very unique way.
And if you look at Eastern chapters of b h a that's, it's where the population of the country lives. So that's, that's where you're seeing your fastest growth with within state chapters. Yeah. If someone wants to get involved with B H A how can they do that?
How can they become a member? Oh, you don't wanna do it. No. That's what we call a softball. Tony. I was assuming swing a mess. Yeah. Yeah. I was never much a good ball player. So yeah, go to our events. You can follow us on social media. We're on Facebook, we're on Instagram, Ohio, or O H B H A on Instagram.
Give us a follow and, we usually keep, we, we try to keep people up to date on what's going on there and what events we have coming up. Or you can go to our website, back country, or you go to our website. Yep. Back country hunter, country [01:22:00] hunters org. Yep. And, you can join from there, but, if you just wanna check us out first before, before you become a paying member come to one of our events, talk with one of us.
It's a great place to meet people. And that's the really interesting thing about this organization. You meet folks just all walks of life. Yeah. Our original board, we had I'm a, I work residential construction for a living. I run a construction company, but we had commercial airline pilots, we had horseshoe farriers.
We've had, investors and business people. Just all kinds of, walks of life, involved with the organization. And if you look around here, the one thing you don't see a lot of is, older, white haired, gray haired people. We're a young organization, so where we may not have, we may not have the money that a lot of the older organizations like, your Pheasants Forever, ducks Unlimited.
What we do have is a youthful, energetic group that is excited about getting out and actually doing hands-on work. So I think that really makes us unique as an organization in general. Yeah, definitely. I wanted to ask you, so this is probably the first [01:23:00] real b h a event I've been to, but Paul and I were talking about last night.
It's a unique group, like you were just saying. There's young, there are older, there's experts, there's people that are more into the hiking, more into the foraging, more into the hunting, like. It's such a unique group for both of you, what does b h A mean to you? For me, I did six years in the Marine Corps.
Thank you. And when I got out, I, you're not really you don't really notice it, like you're missing something that you need to, like work for or fight for you. You need a mission. And I didn't really realize that's what I was looking for until I saw beautiful Tony here standing behind that table at the, in Columbus.
But it's something that you can go out and you can like, do hands-on projects, boots on the ground projects. We work hard and then we play hard and it is just fun. So if you're into going out, getting [01:24:00] your hands dirty and then having, a wild game barbecue or something, or go to a brewery afterwards and.
And, just talk about, everything that went on and meet new people. It filled that void of something that like, I need to have to work towards every day. And I didn't even realize, like the whole mission thing until I was at Youth Turkey Camp with Buddy Kyle who's running the sound today.
And I was telling him about I couldn't really figure out what that void was I was missing. He's oh yeah, you're probably just looking for that mission that veterans are looking for when they get out. And I was like, huh. Yeah, I guess that's it. That's awesome. So yeah, it took me a while to realize that, but I'd probably be more Armed Forces initiative related if they had existed when I joined.
But we like teaming up with them now and helping them out and we got a lot of veterans on the board too. So we definitely worked together to help. A f i and vice versa. Yeah. That's awesome. Thank you both, Henry, for your service to this [01:25:00] country and both of you for your service to and your volunteerism for hunters and anglers and in this state and beyond.
I think it's a very important thing being a volunteer that's a special, it takes a special person and everyone that's here I don't know how many people are still listening but thank you for being here. If you are here at this event, you understand what it takes to move the needle in the world of wildlife conservation.
There's a lot of efforts. A lot of moving parts, and it takes three things from all of us. Time, treasure, talent, one of those three things, or all three of those things from all of us. Yeah. And that's something that's very near and dear to my heart. It's, if you are here, it's near and dear to your heart as well.
So if you're not a member of b h a, consider. Becoming one. If you are, you have lifetime memberships. They started a thousand dollars. Consider, looking into that option, all of that goes back into the mission that we're all here for. That's why we're here for the mission. So yeah, we Mission Friday start we start with yielding memberships at $35, which is, the, that's the it, get, you get your foot in the door.
But that's not that's like a quarter tank of gas. And for that 35 bucks you'll get a quarterly magazine subscription you'll get on the email list. So you'll get notifications of all of our events [01:26:00] going on in your area. You'll get notifications of any policy issues that might need yep.
People to contact their representatives on. And B h a does a great job of spelling out what the issue is, and then they also will help the direct link straight to your representative based off your address. You don't even have to think about it if you don't even know your representative is.
Said b h a will get you right to where you take care of all that for you. It needs to be the last, kinda the last thing I'll add. I'm a big believer in community and part of being involved in a community is giving something back. Hunting is a huge part of my life. It's a great part of my identity.
And so being involved with an organization like B H A allows me that avenue to give back to something I care about so deeply. And I think something that, kind of hunters and anglers in a, in general kind of rests on their laurels a lot is why I buy hunting license. I buy a fishing license.
So that's giving back to conservation. And the day, the fact of the matter is the day and age that we live in now, it's [01:27:00] not, that's not enough anymore. You really need to, whether you get involved with the organization or any other organization you need to get involved.
'cause, because these things can go away. It's, before you even realize it. And, we hear the death by a thousand cuts argument a lot. I, there's a lot to that. But all it takes is the wrong person to, to provide the wrong piece of legislation.
And, we can find ourselves in a bad way pretty quick. In Ohio right now, we are extremely fortunate with, from, administration top down from, governor to wine. He's done a phenomenal job. He's, he definitely wants to leave a conservation legacy and he's probably done more for conservation in the state of Ohio than any other governor in a lifetime.
And then from down, from her or down from him, we've got director merch, and we've got chief er, we have just this rockstar team. Within the division department of Natural Resources and the Division Wildlife and all the other divisions that fall underneath the Department of Natural Resources.
It's really time [01:28:00] now. If you have any interest at all reach out to us, reach out to any other organization that you think you might, you might run parallel with depending on what it is that gets you outdoors. And it's vitally important that you Give something back to to, to what you wanna be involved in.
Yeah, absolutely. Tony, last question. Who do you think would win a wrestling match? You or me? I got into a wrestling match with a bottle of Wild Turkey last night, and I thought I won. Then I woke up I'm gonna get him while he's down. Woke up this morning and I realized that I probably did not win.
Winner Tom. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, that could be your name though. The Wild Turkey. Oh, man. You're wrestling the time. We got four o'clock. All right, we'll get it ready. We raised some money. We'll throw that. We'll fight in this yard. Yeah. Henry was supposed to set up a fight with Cameron Haynes and I, and he failed on that one but it was gonna be a big charity driver.
Cameron, back down or what? Yeah he had a race to run or something. Something silly like that, but. Good deal. Thanks guys. Jim and yeah, thank you so much, man. Appreciate it. And everyone that's here, that's been listening to us for the last 90 minutes, thanks for for hanging out with us.[01:29:00]