Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Graham, 53, picked to lead wildlife unit

By Mike

Columbus – Maybe it was a harbinger of things to come when Dave
Graham served as master of ceremonies at former DNR Division of
Wildlife Chief Steve Gray’s retirement party in March.

A few weeks later, Graham, an assistant chief with the DOW, was
named to the top spot to replace Gray.

During his 30-year tenure with the Division of Wildlife, Graham
has gradually ascended up the management ladder and had served
under Gray on the cusp of the top rung since 2003. On April 16,
Graham, 53, was selected to take the next step up the ladder.

‘I’m obviously thrilled, and I’m looking forward to continue to
lead this great group of people who work for the Division of
Wildlife,’ said Graham. ‘We’re certainly not going to make any
abrupt left or right turns in the way we do business. We’ve been
successful because we’re guided by a long-range plan and the people
that we serve have helped put that plan together.’

Eight candidates, all from within the Division of Wildlife, were
interviewed for the job on April 16, said DNR Director Sean Logan,
who made his choice later in the evening that same day.

A total of 30 candidates applied for the job, all of them from
within Ohio.

‘It was out there that we were looking and people from outside
did apply,’ Logan said. ‘But, those who met the minimum
qualifications for the interview process were all from within (the
Division of Wildlife). It was not set up that way. It truly
happened that way.’

After graduating with a degree in wildlife management from Ohio
State University, Graham began his career with the DOW as a
part-time research intern. In 1977, he was hired on full time as a
conservation aid at the Urbana Wildlife Propagation Unit, where one
of the functions is to raise pheasants for stocking around the

Two years later, Graham was promoted to supervisor at Deer Creek
Wildlife Area near Mount Sterling where he worked for 10 years.

From 1989 to 1993, he was a wildlife management supervisor in
District 1, Columbus. From 1993 to 2003, Graham was the district
manager in southwest Ohio. He was promoted to assistant wildlife
chief in 2003.

Logan said Graham’s management experience has impressed him
since the DNR director was appointed by Gov. Ted Strickland in

‘I’ve been impressed with his knowledge and passion in the past
three and a half months,’ Logan said. ‘He understands that the goal
is to build upon what works and make improvements where its

Graham is a native of Clarksburg in Ross County where he still
lives. He officially began his duties as chief on April 17.

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