Highlights from Pheasant Fest’s second day
By Chad Love
When the doors opened Saturday morning at the Minneapolis Convention Center for the first full day of Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2023, the anticipation was running as large as the orange-clad crowd waiting to enter.
Saturday is traditionally the biggest day of this epic three-day event, in terms of both attendance as well as events, and that pattern held this year as waves of eager show-goers filled the aisles and seats of the various show stages.
An increase of 46 percent over the 2020 show makes this is the largest show floor in Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic history, and every bit of it was filled with exhibitor booth space, stages, activities, and of course people.
“Saturday is always an exciting day a Pheasant Fest, and this year did not disappoint,” said Jared Wiklund, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s public relations manager. “The show floor was packed all day and our seminar stages were full of great classes, tutorials and panels covering everything from corner crossing to the upcoming Farm Bill. We’ll have a full slate of seminars again tomorrow as we put a bow on Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic 2023.
An increase of 46 percent over the 2020 show makes this is the largest show floor in Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic history.
The Bird Dog Stage, long one of the show’s most popular draws, was once again packed with attendees learning everything from shed training to how to get your dog out of a trap. The “Trap Doctor” Jerry Snetsinger’s trap seminar was particularly well-attended, with viewers crowding around afterward to ask questions. The end-of-day “Ask the Experts” panel discussion is always well-attended, and Saturday’s panel was no exception.
Another popular stage event was the Public Lands Pavilion panel discussion on the hot-button issue of corner crossing, with Ryan Callaghan, Zach Sandau from onX, and Katie McKalip from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. On the Path to the Upland stage, onX Hunt’s Ben Brettingen had a full house as he gave listeners a crash course in how to plan a DIY road trip.
Two events highlighted the main event stage on Saturday: Quail Forever’s Farmer of the Year, presented by John Deere, and the 2023 Farm Bill forum.
Jimmy Bryan, of West Point, Mississippi, is the winner of Quail Forever’s Farmer of the Year presented by John Deere. Bryan owns B Bryan Farms, approximately 5,000 acres within the Black Belt region of Mississippi, an area rich in quail hunting history.
Jimmy Bryan, of West Point, Mississippi, is the winner of Quail Forever’s Farmer of the Year presented by John Deere.
When Mr. Jimmy noticed a decline in wild quail population, he reached out to researcher Dr. Wes Burger at Mississippi State University to find a solution. B Bryan Farms still retains a close working relationship with faculty from MSU focused on quail habitat and research, often hosting training days for new quail biologist.
Following the Farmer of the Year presentation on the main stage, PF & QF’s Government Affairs team joined members from the Farm Services Agency to discuss the 2023 Farm Bill.
Toward the end of the day, folks flocked to the Grouse Trail social hour for free beer, discussion of all things grouse-y and to drum up support for grouse conservation.
Don’t miss day three of the world’s largest upland event. Doors open Sunday at 9 a.m. with a full slate of events and activities.
The 2023 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic will take place at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis on February 17-19. Tickets and more information can be found at: PheasantFest.org.