State lawmakers, wildlife officials host sportsmen's roundtable
The hunting and fishing community is something of a fraternity - people from all ages and walks of life cherishing a tradition carried on over generations.
For state senators Michael Rulli and Sean O'Brien, that tradition is something they're in a unique position to protect.
This is why they brought officials and experts from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to their first-ever sportsmen's roundtable in Brookfield Monday night.
"People are concerned, they understand the importance of this natural resource; so they want to protect it," O'Brien said.
Monday's roundtable gave nearly 100 hunters and anglers the chance to talk with ODNR about concerns, and hear their ideas to combat deer disease and perch dropoff.
Rulli says the plan is to have three to four of them each year.
"One of my biggest concerns is the pheasant population is dwindling away to pretty much nothing in Ohio," Rulli said.
ODNR district manager Scott Angelo is well aware of those concerns - but he says there's a lot to be excited about, too.
"We feel our population in the state of Ohio as far as deer goes is very healthy," he said. "Our walleye population is the best it's ever been, and we stand to have that population for at least the next ten years."
That's welcome news for valley sportsmen and women - who can pass their favorite pastime onto the next generation.
One change that deer hunters will note is that given the uptick in Chronic Wasting Disease cases among deer, mandatory disease testing will be limited to the seven-day gun season only - taking place the Monday morning following gun season.