Retired Ohio Division of Wildlife chief Mike Budzik has joined a blue-ribbon panel designated to advice the Trump administration on pro-sportsmen and pro-shooting issues.
The 18-person Hunting and Shooting Sports Council will meet at least twice annually in Washington to – in the words of the U.S. Department of the Interior to provide the agency’s secretary - and the Agriculture Department Secretary - “with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation.”
The purely advisory council will also examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said.
As noted in federal law established by Congress, the panel will sunset in two years. It was scheduled to meet July 11th.
Budzik joins such other outdoors and shooting luminaries on the panel as Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Insitute for Legislative Action; Dale Hall, Executive Director for Ducks Unlimited; Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation; Julie Golob, internationally acclaimed champion competitive shooter; Eva Shockey, co-host of “Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventure” outdoors TV show; and Larry Keane, Senior VP of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
Among the group’s 11 alternates are Rob Keck, director of conservation for Bass Pro Shops; Becky Humphries, CEO of the National Wildlife Federation; and John Banks, director of the Penobscot Indian Nation’s Department of Natural Resources.
In being appointed to the purely advisory panel, Budzik said he first applied for the position, which required letters of endorsements from both Ohio junior Senator Rob Portman as well as Bob Latta, U.S. Representative from Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District.
Budzik said he decided to submit an application for the non-paying, volunteer position with the intent and hope of “providing some insights and observations concerning the challenges and opportunities facing hunters and shooting sports participants.”
The former Wildlife Division chief served with the agency for 30 years and as its head from 1995 to 2003.
“I have over four decades of service in this area and nearly eight years of national perspective when serving as Ohio’s Wildlife Division chief,” Budzik told “Ohio Outdoor News.”
“During that time I also served as an Executive Board member, Chairman of the Wildlife Resource Policy Committee, member of the Furbearers Resource Committee with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.,” Budzik said. “I’ll work diligently to serve in an honorable, constructive and collaborative manner.”
Recommendations from the group to the secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture shall include - but not be limited to - policies and programs that c
Interior secretary Zinke said the selected panel members are true to the conservation values and ethics of President Theodore Roosevelt and that their picks will help ensure the preservation of hunting, shooting and conservation enshrined in the thoughts and deeds of the former president.
“The Council will also encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports,” Zinke said.
“I will be forever grateful to Senator Rob Portman and Congressmen Bob Latta for their encouragement and letters of support,” Budzik said.
Portman’s press office did not respond to requests seeking the senator’s thoughts on his recommendation of Budzik.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn