Posts Tagged ‘National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic’

Hats off to the Dogs of Pheasant Fest

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Photo by Nancy Anisfield / Anisfield Hunting Dog Photography

Being a major media attraction isn’t a walk in the park. Neither is being adored by thousands. So hats off – or extra biscuits – to the dogs of Pheasant Fest.

It can’t be easy for a true bred hunting dog to line up in a parade of varied breeds in a strange hallway then march through a crowd to pose before an even bigger crowd. The enormity of the convention center, with its sensory overload of colors and noises, is a far cry from the sharp air and clean swoosh of prairie or sunlit morning gold of the southern quail pines. But these beautiful dogs took it all in stride, wagging at admirers and absorbing pet after pat after kiss.

Some of the dogs posed proudly on tables, others beckoned visitors into their booths. A small Munsterlander waited patiently while conversations rambled on around her. A sleek Weimaraner stood confidently by his owner’s chair, making eye contact with every camera lens turned his way. Reclining on an elevated platform, a noble chocolate Lab seemed to have magnetic fur, luring hands from nearly every passer-by. While their owners answered a myriad of questions about breed and training, the dogs themselves drew the attention. No written or verbal information could equal attendees’ hands-on and eyes-on experience of being able to study and touch each dog.

One of the best moments I witnessed was late Saturday afternoon. Fergi, a young German shorthair, was lying visibly pooped on her training table in the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA) booth. She’d been doing retrieving demos and obedience drills all Friday afternoon and Saturday. Getting a break from the demos, Fergi was due for a nap. When a young boy came over to give her a pet, her eyes glanced up. His hand went out to stroke her head. Calmly, quietly, Fergi rose up, turned in a very slow half circle and settled back down for her snooze, offering her back and hind quarters to the boy’s hand. She was so tired and so sweet, not wanting to pull away from him but not able to take one more pat on the head. Within seconds, she was deep asleep while the boy stroked her flanks. A win-win situation.

Dogs rested in crates in the back of booths. Dogs performed on stage, focusing on their trainers instead of the distracting crowd. Dogs strolled the aisles with only their owners’ leashes keeping them from tempting jerky treats, french fries, and candies galore. Throughout, it was clear that these dogs enjoyed the opportunity to please their handlers and participate in the event…even if there were no coveys to point or roosters to retrieve.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2015 will be February 20, 21 & 22, 2015 at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Eleven Observations from Pheasant Fest 2014

Sunday, February 23rd, 2014

The Stabyhoun, courtesy of the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association, was one of nearly 40 bird dog breeds represented at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Photo by Bob. St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

The Stabyhoun, courtesy of the Ameri-Can Stabyhoun Association, was one of nearly 40 bird dog breeds represented at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Photo by Bob. St.Pierre / Pheasants Forever

We held the organization’s 10th National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic last weekend. More than 21,000 people (and hundreds of bird dogs) attended the event. For three days, Milwaukee was the epicenter of the upland world. Here are eleven things that struck me as I think about this year’s Pheasant Fest.

1)      Upland Enthusiasm.  As Mark Twain once said, “the reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” Twain’s words hold true for recent predictions forecasting the demise of our cherished upland bird hunting traditions.  While there is no doubt we’re in a habitat war for the ages, millions of folks love the uplands. In fact, Pheasants Forever’s membership has never been larger, there is technological growth in our industry (see SportDOG Brand or Garmin’s new dog products), bird dog breeds are increasing in popularity, and the locavore movement is exposing new people to wild upland meats.  Add upland conservation’s benefits to America’s water quality, pollinator plight, and prairie ecosystems, and you can count me as a glass half-full optimist who sees an exciting future for upland bird hunters.

2)      Midway Goes All the Way.  Larry and Brenda Potterfield, owners and founders of MidwayUSA, have proven time and again their commitment to getting the next generation involved in hunting. This year, they made a remarkable $950,000 donation to Pheasants Forever’s youth programs.

Pheasants Forever accepted $1 million in donations for the organization's youth programs at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014, including $950,000 from Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA, $25,000 from SportDOG Brand and $25,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Photo by Jim Cooper

Pheasants Forever accepted $1 million in donations for the organization’s youth programs at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014, including $950,000 from Larry and Brenda Potterfield of MidwayUSA, $25,000 from SportDOG Brand and $25,000 from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Photo by Jim Cooper

3)      Cheers to Milwaukee.  Wisconsin is a state that embraces beer, sausage and their hunting traditions, and we found the market knowledgeable and embracing of our conservation message.

4)      28 Gauges Going Gangbusters.  Seems I’m not the only bird hunter with a crush on 28 gauge shotguns.  There were more 28s on the show floor than ever before – from CZ to Franchi and Beretta to Connecticut. A wingshooter has lots of choices these days in smaller bores.

5)      Lee & Tiffany Crushed It. The Lakosky’s may be known for their deer hunting escapades on Outdoor Channel, but they were a huge hit with the bird hunting community at Pheasant Fest. In fact, their shed hunting seminar with Tom Dokken was a standing room only log jam of people on Saturday afternoon. I was most impressed with how genuinely nice the Lakosky’s were to me and every fan they encountered at Pheasant Fest.

6)      Goodbye Perennia.  While perusing the awesome shotguns in the Beretta truck, I was informed their gorgeous Perennia model over/under shotgun had been discontinued. So, if you find one of the remaining Perennias on a sporting goods rack somewhere, scoop it up.

7)      The Pied Piper of Hunting Locavores.  The James Beard award winning food blogger, Hank Shaw, has been a part of the Wild Game Cooking Stage the last three Pheasant Fests and his audiences continue to grow. While in Milwaukee, I also had the chance to join Hank and David Draper, Field & Stream’s The Wild Chef, at the chef’s table of Hinterland which included an epic nine-course marathon of bison heart, quail and elk loin. It was a dinner I’ll remember forever.

8)      Gaga for Griffons.  As pointed out on our Pheasant Blog, (Ten Bird Dog Breed Popularity Trends), the wirehaired pointing griffon is a bird dog breed on the rise. Pheasant Fest was a great example of that trend with lots of griffons on the show floor and in the bird dog parade.

9)      Test your Litter.  My friend, Brian Lynn, the Gun Dogs blogger for Outdoor Life, is working for a new company called Paw Print Genetics. Staffed by expert geneticists, the folks at Paw Print can test your potential sire and dam before a litter is ever conceived. This simple testing helps prevent inherited diseases and subsequent heartache.

10)  Sling Shot.  After months of Twitter conversation, I was excited to meet the friendly folks behind the Upland Sling.  More importantly, I look forward to checking out their new bird hunting sling come fall 2014.

Rep. Paul Ryan speaking at Pheasants Forever's national banquet. Photo by Jim Cooper

Rep. Paul Ryan speaking at Pheasants Forever’s national banquet. Photo by Jim Cooper

11)  The Politics of Conservation.  Last year, Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken spoke during Pheasant Fest in Minnesota.  This year, Republican Representative Paul Ryan took the microphone in Wisconsin. While not, because of our tax exempt status, affiliated with any political party, Pheasants Forever does lobby for conservation issues. In an effort to work with legislators on these issues, wherever Pheasant Fest is located, we invite local elected officials to participate in our event. The good news is that both Minnesota and Wisconsin’s politicians spoke from a background of bird hunting, which helps make our case for conservation, regardless of political affiliation.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for our official announcement of the location for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2015.

The Pointer is written by Bob St.Pierre, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Marketing.  Follow Bob on Twitter @BobStPierre and listen to Bob and Billy Hildebrand every Saturday morning on FAN Outdoors radio on KFAN FM100.3.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Show Guide A to Z

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014


National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic runs Friday, February 14th through Sunday, February 16th at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee. In addition to more than 300 exhibitors, there will be seven seminar stages with hourly presentations. The event is presented by MidwayUSA.

Antler sheds. Looking to keep your bird dog busy this offseason? Renowned trainer Tom Dokken is revolutionizing the sport of using dogs to hunt for sheds and presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Benelli has introduced the new Ethos shotgun for 2014, and you can get your first look at it at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.


New for 2014, the Benelli Ethos.

Cabela’s, World’s Foremost Outfitter, longtime Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever supporter, is presenting sponsor of Rudy’s Youth Village at the show.

Delmar Smith. “To train like a pro…you’ve got to think like a dog.” Well, Delmar has 75 years of experience thinking like a dog, and you can catch up with him on the “Ask the Experts” panel at the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage.

Expert dog trainers. When Delmar Smith, Ronnie Smith, Tom Dokken, Jim Moorehouse and Bob West form a panel for you to ask questions, that’s a combined 260 years of dog training know-how. Each day on the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage.

Free, as in wildlife habitat management plan. Stop by the Landowner Habitat Help Room at the show and you can consult with a wildlife professional about conservation options for your property from anywhere in the country.

Griffons. Wirehaired Pointing Griffons are growing in popularity perhaps faster than any other sporting breed. Learn more at the Wirehaired Pointing Griffon Club of America booth.

Habitat. Pheasants Forever’s tagline is “The Habitat Organization.” If your passion is improving habitat for pheasants, quail and other wildlife, the Habitat Hall group of exhibitors is a must.

Is your mouth watering? Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are hosting their own “top chefs” at the show, including wild game chefs Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore  and David Draper of Field and Stream’s The Wild Chef blog.


See Hank Shaw on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

J&L Boykins is one of the man bird dog exhibitors at the show. Check out all the bird dog breeds at the Bird Dog Alley.

K9…you can bet there are a couple of exhibitors listed under this letter/number combo.

Life Membership. Make the ultimate commitment to conservation by becoming a Pheasants Forever Life Member. Visit the Pheasants Forever booth by the show floor main entrance.

Missing. If you’re tired of it, then it’s time for a new gun. Check out all the top makers on the show floor: Benelli, Beretta, Browning…

Native grasslands can offer quality nesting cover for pheasants. Come to the Habitat Stage and learn about diversifying and improving this critical habitat.

Outdoor apparel. Start at the Pheasants Forever MarketPlace on the show floor for your Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever-logoed gear. Your product purchases here support wildlife habitat conservation.

Pollinator habitat. What does it have to do with pheasants and quail? Check out the presentations on the Habitat Stage.

Quail are Scott Linden’s favorite bird to hunt. Stop by the Wingshooting USA booth and meet the venerable television host who’s an expert on bobwhite and western quail species.

Rudy the Rooster is Pheasants Forever’s youth mascot. Visit the Youth Village area of the show and get your picture taken with him.


Bird dog breeders and bird dog training seminars are the most popular attractions at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Smith, as in Delmar, Rick and Ronnie. National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is a rare opportunity to see the three from this legendary dog training family at the same event.

Training. E-Collars. GPS. Pointers. Puppies. Retrievers. Spaniels. If you can name it, you’ll find a how-to on it.

U.S. Bank presents Pheasants Forever’s Visa Card. Stop by their booth, sign up for their card and receive either a hardcover wild game recipe book, a green PF shooters bag or a chance on a Tri-Star Setter 12 gauge shotgun.

Vegan-turned-hunter Tovar Cerulli, author of The Mindful Carnivore, provides a unique perspective on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

Wingshooting from the good ‘ol days with the L.C. Smith Collectors Association and the Parker Gun Collectors Association.

X marks your next upland hunting spot, and the tourism divisions from the likes of Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, plus regional tourism representatives and guides and outfitters are here help you book your dream trip.

Yum… Hank Shaw is a hunter, chef, blogger and author of Hunt, Gather, Cook – Finding the Forgotten Feast. See him on the Wild Game Cooking Stage.

Zero-turn lawnmowers. Check out Wisconsin-based – and Pheasants Forever national sponsor, Scag Power equipment, one of more than 300 exhibitors at the show.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

See the Complete National Pheasant Fest 2014 Seminar Schedule

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Rick Smith is one of many legendary bird dog trainers presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Rick Smith is one of many legendary bird dog trainers presenting at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.

Before heading to the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee for National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Feb. 14-16, view the complete seminar schedule and plan which presentations to attend. There will be seven seminar stages for upland enthusiasts to choose from, with concurrent seminars running on-the-hour throughout the three-day weekend. The event is presented by MidwayUSA. Highlights include:

Bird Dog Bonanza Stage. Between six panel experts – Delmar Smith, Rick Smith, Ronnie Smith, Tom Dokken, Josh Miller and Bob West – this dog stage hosts more than 260 years of combined training experience. Includes presentations on “Basic Obedience Training and Starting Your Dog Off Right,” “Remote Training and Tracking Your Dog with GPS,” “Shed Antler Hunting – Train Your Dog to Help You Find More Sheds” and a question-and-answer session with a panel of experts. The Bird Dog Bonanza Stage is presented by Purina and SportDOG.

Wild Game Cooking Stage. The cooking stage will feature presentations by authors Hank Shaw and Tovar Cerruli as well as David Draper of Field and Stream magazine. Session titles include “Getting the Most of Your Upland Birds for the Table,” “Preparing Wild Game from the Tailgate,” ”From Tough to Tender, Making the Most of your Venison Cuts” and “The Mindful Carnivore – A Vegetarian’s Hunt for Sustenance.”

Habitat Stage. The habitat presentations include “The Food Plot Establishment and Management for White-tailed Deer and Pheasants, Best Practices,” “Landscape Scale Habitat Efforts – The History of Pheasants in Wisconsin,” “Pheasant Management” and “Pollinators and Great Upland Wildlife Habitat.” The Habitat Stage is presented by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the USDA Farm Service Agency and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Additional seminar stages include the Upland Hunting Stage (featuring the likes of Scott Linden from Wingshooting USA), the Building Habitat Forever stage, the Get into the Hunt stage and Rudy’s Youth Village stage presented by Cabela’s.

All seminars are free upon admittance to the show.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

Ask the Experts: Purina and SportDOG Brand Assemble More than 260 Years of Dog Training Experience

Tuesday, February 4th, 2014


Meet top bird dog trainers and get expert advice on nutrition and conditioning while visiting the Purina and SportDOG Brand booths at this year’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic at Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Center Friday, Feb. 14 through Sunday, Feb. 16.

Purina Pro Plan brand dog food and SportDOG Brand are bringing the country’s best bird dog trainers to the Bird Dog Bonanza Stage at Pheasant Fest for hour-long seminars throughout the weekend. These trainers also will be on hand at the Purina and SportDOG brand booths to answer your questions.

Here’s a look at the professional trainers Purina and SportDOG Brand are bringing to Pheasant Fest this year.

Delmar Smith honed his skills at teaching the public how to get the most from their dogs over his 55-year training career operating Delmar Smith Kennels in Edmond, Okla. Smith dogs have performed in all 50 states and some foreign countries.

Ronnie Smith, like dog trainers in previous generations of the Smith family, knows that bird dogs are more than just a business, they are a passion and a way of life. He has operated Ronnie Smith Kennels in Big Cabin, Okla., since 1982.

Bob West, Director of Sporting Field Operations for the Purina Professional Engagement Team, is passionate about sporting dogs and those who own and train them. He also walks the talk, having put more than 100 titles on sporting dogs over the past 40-plus years as a part-time professional trainer at his Napsinekee Kennel in Le Claire, Iowa. West is a longtime contributor to the Pheasants Forever Journal, Pheasants Forever Television, Cabela’s Television, and Gun Dog Magazine.

Rick Smith of Crozier, Va., continues the Smith family tradition of his father Delmar Smith and cousin Ronnie Smith as he conducts seminars across the country. His titles include three National Open Brittany Championships, seven U.S. Open Brittany Championships, six International Brittany Championships and more than 100 Open Brittany All-Age stakes.

Tom Dokken, the inventor of the DeadFowl Trainer, has more than 30 years of training experience. He is the author of Retriever Training: The Complete Guide to developing Your Hunting Dog and is a leading innovator in shed antler hunting with dogs. He owns and operates Dokken’s Oak Ridge Kennels and Dokken Dog Supply based in Northfield, Minn.

Josh Miller and his dog “Easton” are one of the leading shed dog hunting teams in the U.S. Miller also is the only two-time North American Shed Hunting Dog Association World Champion. He operates River Stone Kennels in New Richmond, Wis., where he trains gun dogs of all breeds.

Samples Available at Purina Booth

Visitors to the Purina booth can learn more about the Purina Pro Plan SPORT performance nutrition line. While supplies last, Purina Pro Plan SPORT brand dog food samples will be available in six ounce bags.

Field Notes are compiled by Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauckPF.

What the Dogs Taught Him

Thursday, January 30th, 2014


With National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic coming quickly on the calendar, it’s time to contemplate your plan of attack. Scott Linden, host of the Wingshooting USA TV series and a regular contributor to the Quail Forever Journal, told me he’s on tap for presenting two different seminars each day at Pheasant Fest – Go West, Young Man [or woman] for Wild Quail and What the Dogs Taught Me. Scott’s seminars are informative, fun and usually audience interactive. Definitely put him on your Pheasant Fest schedule.

Along with that plug for Scott’s seminars, I’d like to give a big recommendation for his new book, not-so-surprisingly titled What the Dogs Taught Me. Scott, who owns two German wirehaired pointers, has compiled a book of training and hunting tips, advice and anecdotes – a wealth of practical info for bird dog owners and upland bird hunters.

cover-what-the-dogs-taught-me-final-finalIt’s hard to characterize What the Dogs Taught Me. Scott’s discussions range from general to specific, novice to advanced, researched to anecdotal. He has hunted upland birds across the country and has an impressive amount of experience to draw on, but his humility and respect for the wonders of upland hunting and bird dogs are always evident. While some readers might disagree with a comment here or there (we bird dog owners are a notably opinionated bunch), it’s hard to argue with clear-headed advice such as not using your hands for corrections until your dog truly understands the command you’re teaching: “…A dog should trust your hands.”

The first half of the book covers dog behavior and a variety of training issues along with how to shoot better and hunt better. The second half is organized more as a reference book, with chapters on “Care and Feeding,” “Skills Every Bird Hunter Should Have,” questions from Scott’s viewers with his answers, and a terrific chapter that is a straightforward bullet list of tips such as using a ball of duct tape as a fire starter, how to move cows off a road and what direction is best for squirting water in a dog’s mouth. Also included is a chapter titled “Road to the Utility Test” in which Scott chronicles training his dog Manny for the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association Utility Test. While analyzing the challenges of teaching steadiness, clean retrieves and a 10-minute duck search, Scott touches on many of the issues he discussed in the earlier chapters on dog – and human – behavior. The book concludes with Scott’s handy “Ultimate Upland Checklist” and a glossary of terms.

Throughout the book, Scott’s sense of humor keeps the tone lively. Talking about “face time” with your dog, Scott says, “Anyone who doesn’t let their dog lick their face once in a while probably prefers cats.” Talking about trying to see things [while hunting] in a different light, he says, “…there is a lot more to bird hunting than obtaining protein.”

What the Dogs Taught Me is one of those books you read straight through, learn a lot, then leave on the coffee table or nightstand to pick up and leaf through again, each time discovering something new.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Pheasant Fest Favorites

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

From a "Bird Dog Parade" to exhibitors on the show floor, nearly 40 different dog breeds will be featured at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014.

From a “Bird Dog Parade” to exhibitors on the show floor, nearly 40 different dog breeds will be featured at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is like Disneyland for bird hunters, or perhaps more like Epcot, since it’s more about global information. By “global,” I mean our world, the world of conservation, outdoor education, hunting, and gun dogs. PF’s “Youth village,” habitat forums, wild game cooking, bird dog training and sensory overload of wingshooting vendors – the best in the trade – make for excitement in every corner of the eye. But, as with any exhibition or show, each person will find his or her own particular highlight. That’s the magic in this kingdom.

For me it’s the dogs. That’s where my mind romps when I think of the upcoming Pheasant Fest, starting with the bird dog parade, then the training seminars, and the new products from industry classics and trendsetters such as Garmin, Tri-Tronics, Purina and SportDOG. Then there are the kennels’ booths with handsome champions and irresistible puppies. And the club booths. My personal highlight is my once-a-year guaranteed opportunity to pet a “Chessy” in the American Chesapeake Club booth.

A dedicated pointing dog owner, I still miss our magnificent Chessy, “Cooper” – my defender, a strong waterfowler, and an upland bird dog wannabe who had more insight and humor in his eyes than any dog I’ve ever known. So after attending the seminars I’ve starred on my program and after scrutinizing the vendor booths for must-have new gear, I will steal a few minutes to stop by the Chesapeake booth to sink my fingers into an aromatic, thick and curly Chessy coat.

We might all share a passion for conservation and the hunting life, but each of us down deep has their own reason for living that life: Guns, outfitters, ammo, outdoor clothing, publishers, field gear, dog gear, artists, seeds, leather and game sauces…Family activities, kids’ challenges, workshops on pollinators, burning and food plots…May each and every one of you discovery your extra special, personal highlight at Pheasant Fest.

Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.

Saving a Classic Shotgun

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Should you decide to restore your old trusty firearm or even enhance it, there are options.

Imagine it is 1961, 51 years ago. It is early evening, the dog is still wet and you and your hunting buddies are sitting around the wood stove. You put up your gear, including the guns, to dry off. The stories of the day’s success and good natured ribbing fill the air around you. Then suddenly, the stock on your favorite firearm catches fire!

I’m not sure how my Parker 16 received the burn down the stock, but regardless, my real question is how to fix it? This begs the age old question of whether to restore a classic firearm or leave it in original condition? This same question pertains to classic cars, homes or any antique. In doing the research for this article, I can tell you the question will rage on for years.

Should you decide to restore your old trusty firearm or even enhance it, there are options. Here at Pheasants Forever we have had the pleasure to work with one of the best restorers, Doug Turnbull of Turnbull Manufacturing Co. out of Bloomfield, New York. Doug has specialized in faithful and accurate restoration of vintage firearms, as well as custom work and upgrades, for over 30 years. In those 30 years Turnbull Mfg. has repaired or restored over 25,000 firearms!

The restoration and enhancement of this shotgun was exciting, but what really excited me about this project was how it was going to be accomplished. For one, Turnbull Mfg. uses the same process and techniques used by the original makers to bring these vintage firearms back to original factory condition. All checkering and engraving is done by hand, stocks are carved to exact factory dimensions, case coloring and bluing is deep and lustrous.

When he works, Doug likes to imagine that the original old world craftsmen are smiling down upon him and his crew. “The craftsmen at Turnbull Mfg. are dedicated to continuing the great gun making tradition in this country. We hope the original gun makers would be proud to see the care and attention to detail that we put into every restoration.”

Do It Yourself

One option to hiring a company to restore your firearm is to do it yourself. Start with an Internet search, where there is plenty of information. Many of the supplies you need can be found at your local woodworking store or, better yet, from PF supporters Brownell’s or Midway USA.

I chose to keep my Parker in its original condition. Every time I carry it to the field, I think of a new way that the old burn mark came to be on my gun. Perhaps someday I’ll find the answer.

In the meantime, please be sure to attend National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2013 to see Turnbull’s latest restoration and enhancement of an A.H. Fox 16-gauge.

The Pheasant Fest blog is written by Brad Heidel, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Corporate and Special Event Sales. Look for Brad’s column, “The Gun Shop,” in the Pheasants Forever Journal.

Meet My First Bird Dog!

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

The quest for "Sprig," the author's first pup, was chronicled in Pheasants Forever's "My First Bird Dogs" series.

The serious search for “My First Bird Dog” began at Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest* earlier this year. Initially, I’d zeroed in on an English springer spaniel, but after seeing my first-ever English cocker spaniel up close and personal at National Pheasant Fest, I knew. And just before the holiday break, I picked up “Sprig,” a lemon and white female field-bred English cocker, from Thunderstruck Gundogs in Balaton, Minnesota – my first bird dog!

*Speaking now from personal experience, Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is the must-see event for bird dog owners or soon-to-be owners. While I didn’t purchase a pup on the spot, I gained first-hand info from an exhibiting professional dog trainer and his valuable reference on a quality breeder closer to my home. This year’s show is in Kansas City on February 17, 18 & 19.

An English cocker is the perfect fit for me: A close-working dog – check; adept in the grasslands and wetlands – check; a small breed that’s sized for my small apartment – check; and good looking to boot – check. The breeder, Mark Mercie, said, in his experience, he found females a bit easier to work with, so I heeded his advice. In fact, in the six-month lead up to getting Sprig, Mercie took many questions from Kaily, my significant other, and I on an all-too-regular basis – I can’t overstate how important this was to us. We picked her up at her seven-week mark, and didn’t have to dangle a pheasant wing or practice puppy psychology as she was the only female in the litter.

As I type this, Sprig is sound asleep on my lap. An hour before, she was treating the flesh of my hands as a chew toy. These are the highs and lows of puppy ownership, but she’ll age so quick – my day is her week, seven times faster than me – that doing anything other than simply enjoying this time is silly.

The “My First Bird Dog” series will now shift gears to the training process, with sights set on the pheasant hunting opener in 2012. The thought of this teething, 6-lb. peanut ever flushing and retrieving a pheasant is a near-foreign concept right now, with dog training like a foreign language. My puppy passport has been punched – know any good translators?

Previous “My First Bird Dog” posts:

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

Pheasant Fest Considered “The Big Daddy” in South Dakota

Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in South Dakota? It could be a reality if a new events center is built in Sioux Falls.

Many Pheasants Forever members and pheasant hunters ask the question: Why doesn’t Pheasants Forever hold its National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic in South Dakota?

With more pheasants and pheasant hunters than any state, it’s a natural and fair question. The simple answer is there currently isn’t a convention or events center in the state large enough to accommodate the size of the show, which annually includes hundreds of exhibitors and more than 20,000 attendees. But the city of Sioux Falls is debating whether to build a new events center, in part to bring National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic to southeast South Dakota.

From the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:

(Sioux Falls Mayor) Huether and city consultants gave a presentation to the council today ahead of tonight’s vote on where to build: Downtown or at the convention center. Huether said that adding 30,500 square feet of additional floor space for trade shows could help the city lure a Pheasants Forever conference to town. The conference draws thousands, but Sioux Falls hasn’t had the minimum amount of space to host the event.

“We can capture the big daddy,” Huether said.

Voters ultimately will decide whether an events center is built in Sioux Falls, and a vote could come this November.

Field Notes are written and compiled by Anthony Hauck Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauck.