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Imagine a World without Pheasants Forever

The most impressive find during a 5-day, 5-state tour of pheasant country is the span of Pheasants Forever’s mission. Travel a few hundred miles each day, in a different direction, and you run into somebody who supports the organization’s wildlife habitat mission just as strongly as the volunteer you met the day before.

No doubt it’s disheartening to drive along and see wildlife-friendly grasslands succumbing to the plow; to see billows of smoke against an otherwise gorgeous sunset, rising from a fire churning through winter-cover cattails; to see endless pattern tiling, as if this country’s agricultural drainage systems weren’t already elaborate enough. When you consider yourself a conservationist, it feels overwhelming.

Each parcel of high quality upland habitat, like this piece the Rooster Road Trip visited in North Dakota, is a conservation victory. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

And then you remember that we’ve been here before. That in the early 70s, your dad walked around western Minnesota all day only to kick up one hen. That 30 years ago, upland habitat had so deteriorated that pheasant hunters rallied to form a group to at least stem the tide, if not turn it.

And you remember that even on this night, VFWs and banquet halls are filling up with a couple hundred good souls who’ve come out to raise a little money “for the birds.” That tomorrow, on their Saturday, PF biologists will be meeting with landowners at their kitchen tables, scouring over maps and finding places and ways to add habitat. And instead of going hunting themselves, local Pheasants Forever volunteers won’t tote a gun, but instead carefully watch over youngsters – many not even their own kin – in the hopes that one trigger pull will not only ignite a shell, but a lifetime of hunting and conservation. That on some piece of ground purchased by Pheasants Forever and now public, a new pup is searching for its first wild rooster while an owner looks on in anticipation that’s been a year in the making.

And you remember that we may lose habitat battles, but the overall cause of conservation is always worth fighting for, and Pheasants Forever will always do so. Thanks for following Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip 2012, and for supporting wildlife habitat conservation.

Anthony’s Antics Afield is written by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

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7 Responses to “Imagine a World without Pheasants Forever”

  1. Nick says:

    Hauck you’ve done it again. Goosebumps man. THIS should be required reading by all PF members at this time in our history!

  2. Terry J. says:

    Some of us are old enough to remember a world without Pheasants Forever. Pre – 1982.

  3. Lisa Sall says:

    Our backyard is prime habitat for the neighborhood birds. Surrounded by fields of harvested cropland, I wish there was more we could do to keep the birds fed and protected! We enjoy hunting and share in the mission to preserve and protect this great species and keep pheasant hunting alive and well in South Dakota. I agree with Nick, your post brought goosebumps because hunting has been a family tradition in mine and my husband’s families for years.

  4. John O says:

    Couldn’t agree more! My first trip to S Dakota this year was outstanding, and we took the time to spend one night at the local Pheasant’s Forever banquet in Winner, SD.
    Great organizations are made by great people- keep up the good work!

  5. Rich W says:

    Nice job Hauck! I agree with Nick, we all should read it daily, put it in the mag.

  6. Charlie McLravy says:

    Anthony, Andrew and Bob,

    Another great road trip.

    Thanks for all you do for conservation.



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