Governor Strickland hosts 3rd Governor's Sportsmen Reception

By Larry S. Moore

Governor Ted Strickland hosted his third Governor's Sportsmen Reception on December 23. Once again leading sportsmen and sportswomen from across Ohio converged at the Governor's Mansion to share the spirit and warmth of the season. Well before he was Governor, Strickland identified with the sportsmen, gun and conservation groups across Ohio. Since becoming Governor, he has maintained the close contact through the annual reception, spring youth turkey hunting and the annual Fish Ohio Day at Lake Erie. No governor in my memory, at least since Jim Rhodes, has made such an effort and connection with Ohio's sportsmen and sportswomen.

The Governor, looking fit and relaxed, circulated among the assembled guests greeting many friends and introducing himself to new visitors. ODNR Director Sean Logan and I had an opportunity to share holiday greetings. While discussing the ease with which the Governor individually welcomed the guests, Director Logan noted that Governor Strickland is most at home with the sportsmen group saying, "These are real people assembled here. They are genuine in their outdoor interests and honest hard working people. These are the people that make Ohio and the people with which the Governor most readily identifies."

Governor Strickland, along with Director Logan and David Graham, Chief of the Division of Wildlife, presented a large poster and offered congratulation to Brian Stephens of Clayton, Ohio. Stephens took the monster buck November 30 during the regular deer gun week. He shot the buck using a muzzle loading rifle. The buck is likely the largest taken with a muzzleloader in Ohio. The net green score is 232 5/8 inches with the massive main beams being 35 1/8" and 34 4/8". Those are the longest main beams of any white-tailed deer ever recorded in North America. The rack had 18 points. The green score is used because a drying period is required for official scores. The dry scoring will take place approximately January 30th.

Governor Strickland congratulated Stephens, noting the measures of the deer rack and saying, "Brian Stephens has done something most of us have never done. Brian we are proud of you."

(For more on the Stephens buck, click here.)

The Governor next invited Director Logan to speak about what he called, "The magnificent effort undertaken by sportsmen and farmers to feed hungry people in Ohio."

Director Logan filled in the details, noting that "95,000 pounds of venison has been processed this year. That is 382,000 high-protein meals provided because of the effort undertaken by the sportsmen and sportswomen of Ohio.

"Chief Dave Graham issued a challenge to Ohio deer hunters to harvest and donate a doe to the Farmer and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program. Dave has said he will never issue another challenge because since that time he has not had a deer within range. Because of the Chief's efforts, all the people in the Division and sportsmen like you here tonight the response to the challenge has been fantastic. This is one of the events Ted looks forward to each year because of what all of you do for the state of Ohio. Let's bring the Governor back for a couple more comments."

(For more on the venison donation, click here.)

Governor Strickland welcomed everyone, who he noted had come from all over Ohio.

"I am grateful for every one of you," Strickland told attendees. "You are involved in conservation so many ways. You are the backbone of the efforts to protect our environment and our rights including the right to bear arms, hunt, trap and fish and exercise all our freedoms. I hope you've enjoyed the band. I also hope you make some new friends tonight. This residence is your house, enjoy the evening and yourselves. I am so glad you are here!"

With those words the Governor brought back the band for the evening. Governor Strickland joined the band in a song and continued to visit with the guests. It was a wonderful evening and a great celebration of the harvest of the fall hunting season.

Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award and 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year.

(Editor's note: The Governor's Sportsmen Reception was made possible through the Ohio Governor's Residence foundation and no tax dollars were used for the event.)

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