With pheasant hunting openers on the horizon, it’s time to think about how you’ll get a new hunter into field
By Howard K. Vincent, President and CEO
It’s been a year of challenges for Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever. No organization, no family, no person, can go unaffected by all the happenings in our world.
But many hunting seasons are open, members are hitting the field, and the biggest event of all is a fine promise on every state’s horizon: pheasant season! Take the opportunity to enjoy a small break from the hard work of conservation. Your ongoing membership, your habitat work, your spirit of volunteerism, your generous donations, and your legacy gifts, are the cores of Pheasants Forever’s & Quail Forever’s success. Thank you.
So take some time to dream a little. Get excited to visit a trusted old hotspot or hunt a brand-new place for roosters. Enjoy good dogwork and loud cackles. Value fine friendships rekindled, and long tailgate talks after the hunt. And be inspired to go back to the hard work of the habitat mission.
While you’re planning your season, I’d like to ask one more favor for the future of conservation: Take somebody new hunting in the uplands this fall. Let someone new witness the magic of a bird dog at work, thrill to the flush of a pheasant or a covey of quail, pull a trigger, watch a sunset over a beautiful and wild place.
Hunters have been, are, and will continue to be, wildlife’s and habitat conservation’s greatest advocates. It’s a mantle this organization carries with pride, and you should too.
Simply put, the uplands need hunters, and you are the solution.
Of course, kids are essential to add to our ranks. But the opportunity does not stop there. Young adults make perfect prospects because they are starting down their true path of life. Don’t forget about hunters who are not yet upland hunters; a few trips to the pheasant fields, quail thickets or grouse prairies can hook them for a life of bird hunting.
And remember that all hunters don’t need to look like you or like me. Think, and invite, beyond. Whether it a person’s gender, skin color, age or creed, they are all needed and welcome in the upland family.
And while you’re at it, tell your protégé about the good work of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever, with facts like these: decades of critical conservation policy work in Washington D.C. and state capitols; more than 19 million wildlife habitat acres impacted across 550,000-plus habitat projects since inception; and more than 1,600 land acquisitions totaling over 200,000 acres that are now forever public.
Thank you for your commitment to The Habitat Organization. We need you, the uplands rely on you, and the future of both hunting and conservation depend on you. Celebrate our magnificent uplands and start getting ready: hunting season — and upland hunter recruitment season — is on the way.
A version of this story first appeared as the National View column in 2020's Upland Bird Hunting Super Issue.
Photo credit: Erik Petersen.