Pheasants Forever- SCAM or do they help upland hunters?

"this collective thread is an Atomic CAN of Worms.... "


a couple of FACTS to insert, Pheasant Forever is a much newer organization but has affected 158,000 acres of habitat in the US to date. SECONDLY the amount of money that GOES to Mission is 91 % of what is RAISED. That money is used in accordance with Local chapter discretion. For instance in Montana there is over 5000 acres of public hunting purchased by partners including local PF chapters ... , managed by fish and wildlife dept.

there are other good habitat organizations, but you might check to see what percentage does land in the ground locally?

Lastly, if we don't support some grass roots organizations, in conjunction with the AG. community, and affect youth, where do our youth of the future learn about wildlife, and public hunting?

I would support a better idea , what might that look like?
Where are you getting the 91% goes to supporting the mission...as for the youth....there was not PF when I was young, I would hope family provides a lot of the education and experiences.
 
This is a generalization but I believe is pretty accurate. PF Chapters are able to keep and spend all $$ locally that they raise locally (think banquets etc.). They choose their own leadership and also choose where these dollars go. Often times that is to private land habitat projects but many chapters do support youth hunting initiatives, public land acquisition and even do maintenance on public land parcels. I have not joined a local PF Chapter because as a fully committed freelancer I would want all dollars raised going to public access, public land acquisition/maintenance and hunter recruitment. The Chapters are all still very important and have created & improved countless acres of habitat which is and has been important to "macro" level habitat efforts. The vast majority of the pheasant range falls on private land and without habitat on private land pheasant (and other farmland wildlife) numbers would suffer greatly and probably fall to critical mass levels.

Again a generalization but I believe pretty accurate. The membership dues one pays to PF do not go to the chapters but to the national office. The national office supports important conservation lobby efforts in Washington DC and at the state level, manages programs to provide habitat & farm bill biologists (very important given how few $$ states now spend on small game), supports youth hunting & hunter recruitment, supports public land access and acquisition etc. These dollars are IMO dollars well spent and not at all wasted on a "scam". See below for how PF is viewed as a charity. They are usually one of the highest rated conservation charities out there scoring better than larger and more established organizations like DU, Delta Waterfowl etc.

https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4319

As for PF not supporting public hunting and public land acquisition this is also not true. They do a great deal of work here and are really effective at organizing and leveraging matching $$$ from the states, Feds and other conservation organizations with PF $$$ to help overcome the high cost of land purchase. PF efforts here are most evident in states like MN, IA & IL where membership participation is highest and there is a larger interest in permanent public land acquisition from hunters

https://www.pheasantsforever.org/Habitat/Build-a-Wildlife-Area.aspx

Before someone hits the easy button on this discussion/argument I don't work for PF and the info above is well known or took all of two minutes to look up on google.

If pheasants and public land pheasant hunting is important to you I don't think one can go wrong with investing in a PF membership and tossing whatever $$ you can spare at a Build a Wildlife effort in your state.

If you can find a local chapter whose values align with your values that is great way to go as well.
 
Last edited:

benelli-banger

Active member
I'd think my membership through more closely if it were $3500, or even $350 annually...but it's $35...and I got a cool T shirt...and a year ago a knife...and two years ago something else kinda cool...I'm not going to analyze too closely what they do, where my $ goes...at least they're not molesting kids, eh? So PF has that going for it!
 

Altillathedak

New member
This is a generalization but I believe is pretty accurate. PF Chapters are able to keep and spend all $$ locally that they raise locally (think banquets etc.). They choose their own leadership and also choose where these dollars go. Often times that is to private land habitat projects but many chapters do support youth hunting initiatives, public land acquisition and even do maintenance on public land parcels. I have not joined a local PF Chapter because as a fully committed freelancer I would want all dollars raised going to public access, public land acquisition/maintenance and hunter recruitment. The Chapters are all still very important and have created & improved countless acres of habitat which is and has been important to "macro" level habitat efforts. The vast majority of the pheasant range falls on private land and without habitat on private land pheasant (and other farmland wildlife) numbers would suffer greatly and probably fall to critical mass levels.

Again a generalization but I believe pretty accurate. The membership dues one pays to PF do not go to the chapters but to the national office. The national office supports important conservation lobby efforts in Washington DC and at the state level, manages programs to provide habitat & farm bill biologists (very important given how few $$ states now spend on small game), supports youth hunting & hunter recruitment, supports public land access and acquisition etc. These dollars are IMO dollars well spent and not at all wasted on a "scam". See below for how PF is viewed as a charity. They are usually one of the highest rated conservation charities out there scoring better than larger and more established organizations like DU, Delta Waterfowl etc.

https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4319

As for PF not supporting public hunting and public land acquisition this is also not true. They do a great deal of work here and are really effective at organizing and leveraging matching $$$ from the states, Feds and other conservation organizations with PF $$$ to help overcome the high cost of land purchase. PF efforts here are most evident in states like MN, IA & IL where membership participation is highest and there is a larger interest in permanent public land acquisition from hunters

https://www.pheasantsforever.org/Habitat/Build-a-Wildlife-Area.aspx

Before someone hits the easy button on this discussion/argument I don't work for PF and the info above is well known or took all of two minutes to look up on google.

If pheasants and public land pheasant hunting is important to you I don't think one can go wrong with investing in a PF membership and tossing whatever $$ you can spare at a Build a Wildlife effort in your state.

If you can find a local chapter whose values align with your values that is great way to go as well.
I think you are on target here.
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
I've been a member for over 30 years. Helped start and organize the Brown County Chapter in Aberdeen, SD back in the mid 80's. I've seen an awful lot of good that PF does. I don't understand the negativity of this thread. Get involved, help out and see for yourself. If you don't like it then cancel your membership. Then you can't bitch about where the money goes. :) We are certainly better off by having an organization like Pheasants Forever.
 

KsHusker

Member
I've been a member for over 30 years. Helped start and organize the Brown County Chapter in Aberdeen, SD back in the mid 80's. I've seen an awful lot of good that PF does. I don't understand the negativity of this thread. Get involved, help out and see for yourself. If you don't like it then cancel your membership. Then you can't bitch about where the money goes. :) We are certainly better off by having an organization like Pheasants Forever.

I dont think this is a b fest and I'd like to think it's not full of negativity - maybe some of our perception is off base - I dont hunt other states for pheasants, never plan to - have went to OK to hunt quail twice and am looking to hit up TX, OK, NM or AZ for quail hopefully Feb 2020. My perception is KS based -- some inside information I got about the ranch purchase I discussed wouldnt shine the best light on some of the PF folks. A ranch like the one I was talking about would have been an easy purchase in my mind for the Nature conservancy - however the Nature Conservancy (on lands in KS) does not allow hunting and is restrictive with what they allow - so I do not feel they support hunters. I do not know what PF's motivations are as far as helping to provide additional hunting access in pheasant strongholds or developing habitat on places that would benefit all rather than a few. It doesnt seem they do either here.

I have been involved in a QF chapter and wasnt the best experience - guys were nice but just seemed dumb. I'm looking to support an organization where I'll get the most bang for my buck and time - as I get older time becomes less of a commodity and no sense wasting it.

PF I do believe could do more but wanting to learn if I'm off base or maybe my perception of what their mission should be is incorrect. We can't argue the NRA has and will continue to lose supporters and it seems PF has lost several here as well. I do not think they truly understand folks that are below a certain age or come from a certain background.
 

KsHusker

Member
I think what you've written above about access and habitat projects is pretty safe common ground--if I'm interpreting it correctly. Chapters should prioritize projects on publicly owned lands and WIHA lands before funding projects behind "posted" signs. That seems like a pretty reasonable position. My point is that I think they have more money for habitat projects than they have landowners willing to complete one, but that's just an assumption. That's why they end up funding R3 projects and buying food plot seed. I think they're raising more money than the cooperative landowners want.


Yes we agree and I do believe we share common ground.


If they have a problem of having more funds than willing landowners that are looking to participate it seems they have a problem and need to fix it.
 

KsHusker

Member
This is a long way from PF and how they spend their money, but here goes...

Good friend of mine once said that the easiest things to do were raise someone else's kids and run someone else's business.

One piece of advice on this subject--stop using the word "fix" or any other language that implies you're right and they're wrong. That's not going to get you anywhere unless/until you've attempted to provide for your family by raising crops.

I'm not going to try to "fix" our tenant's opinions or mindset. I don't think his mindset is broken. He and I just have different objectives, to some degree. Nor do I have the credibility with him or the knowledge base to believe that I know better than him.

I'm not sure pheasants can thrive on a landscape dominated by the ag practices necessary for a producer to maximize income. You seem to believe there are alternative ag practices that could break that paradigm. Maybe you're right, but the choices are either to prove it yourself or convince someone to gamble their own livelihood on it. The latter option being what you described as "fixing" a farmer's mindset.

The best fix is to create markets and structures where hunting for truly wild game birds has meaningful economic value to landowners and producers. IE, where a landowner/producer can monetize practices that favor wild birds.

I agree and share common ground with the bolded part 1000%. As far as using the word Fix - my word choice could be different - however I would like to think any of us with common sense can question the marketing prowess of the few ag companies that control the top of the food chain and their marketing/brainwashing practices -- who says they have the only correct option and way to do things? There are still old school guys that farm and make a living and are not on food stamps as someone here tried to sensationalize. Secondly I do believe wholeheartedly we collectively as a society have not studied or thought about what all these chemicals and changes we are perpetrating to the environment (at least on the prairies and breadbasket that I'm familiar with) where you go from a biosphere with likely 1000's of different species of plants and animals/insects all interconnected and living in a symbiotic relationship to one of mono-culture and a sterile environment -- I think you and I are familiar with a lot of the same places - there are areas around St John KS where the farmer (I'm assuming it's one operation) has for miles fields that look like golf turf - no weeds on the roads, fence lines etc - nothing but a sterile environment. Nary a sign of a living thing you'll see besides his cattle and a few holes in the ground I'm assuming is from mice. Drive exactly 12 miles to the south of Holcomb, KS - then look to the 30 sq miles to the south and west of that point - you will see as far I'm concerned an environmental disaster caused by modern farming practices that will take decades if not 100's of years to reestablish the natural sand sage prairie after the land was raped and the water shut off and farming abandoned. I've got photos of me hunting the area up to 2008 or so and it makes me want to vomit seeing what it turned into in such a short period of time.

I remember things as a Kid born in 1980 and loving to catch butterflies near Rose Hill on their migration - I always begged my mother to buy me a butterfly house or not sure what it was called but she'd get them at a craft show and I could catch them. I dont even know how many Monarchs we had fly through our place as a kid - they started to disappear and now it's rare to even seen one.

Anyways I do believe that upland birds are canaries in the coal mine so to speak and depend on a "specific" recipe for habitat and bio diversity that many other animals will benefit from as well. PF or whatever org carries the most weight should be working with the Ag industry and lobbying the govt to implement changes that will make us stewards of the land for those that will come after us - a byproduct of that will be sustainable game populations and I'm sure somewhere in there is a way for land owners to continue to find ways to make a healthy living.
 

BRITTMAN

Active member
Plenty of accusations of cronyism and entitlements from the original post and a few others. If this is all true than PF has indeed fallen into the DU trap. I was a 30+ year member of DU, but left 5 - 10 years ago. The amount of crap that goes on at the DU state and national level among their "party chairs" is appalling. DU certainly lost its way when they decided to support moist soil management projects on private land. This basically helped those flooding land for hunting on private leases.

In Minnesota the PF local chapters are strong and most of the money they earn stays local and provides habitat improvement (mostly on public accessible land) and habitat acquisition. If they get a little private access because of the local relationships - more power to them. Guess you can join the local team if you want that chance.

PF strongly lobbies Congress for CRP and CREP. Pretty up hill battle when going against the likes of Big Ag (ADM, Cargill, and the chemical companies). While both CRP and CREP benefit private land ... some of this land also becomes walk in access land open to the public.

I will continue my $35 donation (with gift) and donating additional higher amounts to specific land acquisition funds and projects.
 
Last edited:

18 car

New member
I was an enthusiastic member of PF for years. After never seeing any projects or benefits in my region, for which I contributed generously, I am no longer involved. I give a really nice "holiday basket" to the landowners that allow me the privilege to hunt pheasants on their land. I have seen a lot better return on my money doing that. JUST SAYING - NOT CRITICIZING.
 

benelli-banger

Active member
my daughter just joined so she could get me the current t shirt "Trampled by Pheasants", which is a take off on the popular fast-grass band "Trampled by Turtles"...their lead singer just became a pheasant hunter and is trying to help...again, $35 for a membership...not $350...or $3500....and you get stuff...even if they just help with congressional issues within the farm bill, etc, who really cares? again, $35...just my point of view...a pack of cigs in MN is $10...pull tabs, a few beers at the bar, you name it...whatever...happy hunting! better bet, try to influence land owners to NOT take out sloughs, tree belts, etc...may have to offer $ per gun to hunt their land...which lots of guys bitch about having to do...everything comes with a cost...even offer $100 for real estate taxes...just something to demonstrate that you understand that they have it coming from all directions...that is probably the most significant thing we as hunters can do...
 

BRITTMAN

Active member
Noted on another thread with the ND Century code posted ...

In ND if a landowner accepts cash payment they assume full legal liability of you on their land. ND Century Code protects landowners from liability if they allow hunters on gratis.
 

jackrabbit

New member
I think it is a little embarrassing that a forum like this, probably some of the more dedicated upland hunters there are, are questioning PF.
1. PF has done a ton for public land, while I can't speak for KS itself. They have turned nearly 200,000 acres of private land into public land in the US since 1982.
2. PF has done a ton for private land, they have turned nearly 15 million acres of land into upland bird habitat since 1982. Whether that is through a PF biologist helping construct the land, or somebody being lucky with a local chapter donating money. My dream is to purchase a few hundred acres of land and restore it into a pheasant haven someday. You can bet that I will work with a local PF biologist to make that happen. I not only want to sustain bird numbers on my future land, but to help with what I can do to sustain them in the entire area or region. I am not expecting any money from my local chapter to make the purpose or enhancement, but I am expecting some knowledge from someone on how to properly restore the land.
3. The signs mean nothing. Think of it no different than you are wearing a logo on your t-shirt, hat, sticker on your truck, etc. It's just a logo/marketing/support by a landowner. You can purchase them on their website.
4. Local chapters make the most noise in the area. In MN, local chapters are spending money publicly. I have no clue on local chapters in KS what they generally do. Local chapters make their money through the banquet and fundraising. Get involved with your chapter and help direct them where the money will go. Our local chapters not only do habitat work, but they recently donated towards constructing a public archery range in a park and towards a fishing pier. I think it is great to give towards outdoor projects that could benefit the youth as well.
5. 90 cents of every dollar raised by your $35 annual membership goes to "boots on the ground work," not salaries, office work etc.
6. Like what they do or not, they are positively supporting hunters, habitat, bird numbers. There's a lot of negativity out there about hunters, they do a great job of spreading positive or real things hunting related.
7. I would highly recommend anyone to listen to the PF On the Wings podcast to get a really good idea of what they do and what their missions are. Episode 29 is a great one that talks a lot about why they formed and answers many questions you guys are posing in this forum. Episode 1 also does a great job talking about how the acquire land, which ones they decide to, and the process of it.
https://soundcloud.com/onthewingpodcast
 
Last edited:

KsHusker

Member
I think it is a little embarrassing that a forum like this, probably some of the more dedicated upland hunters there are, are questioning PF.
I'm not sure how this is embarrassing - I had always wondered if I was the only one who questioned what their mission was and I see that I'm not alone. Sounds like you're from the older generation where you just accept what your superiors tell you and accept it at face value.

This goes to show that PF has done a crappy job at delivering their message.


I reviewed their financial statements and just at a glance would question why their CEO makes appx $360k (2018 reported figures) in total compensation (It didnt specify if that figure includes dollars associated with benefits or not)

Secondly they are only grossing appx $500k in merch sales? Their marketing team sucks - with Facebook/internet etc they could blow their merch sales out of the water - I'd love to buy more of their items #1 if I knew it was going for a purpose (I've seen Zero proof it goes for anything IN Kansas - which I think by the traffic on this forum and harvest #'s) is one of the top 2 or 3 pheasant hunting and certainly in the top 5 I'd guess for quail hunting destinations in the US - so why so little investment or why are we not getting a message about anything that benefits the public instead of businesses or outfitters etc.


Lastly again - they suck at getting their message across. I see this as a generational problem - they have guys (based on the CEO and board of directors I looked up) who grew up in the golden age of hunting and before the internet and do not understand the new generation coming up or what challenges they are facing with decreased access opportunities/game etc etc. They'll come on here and say they do but I call bullshxt. The banquets from what I've seen and was involved in is a waste of time and effort. Very antiquated way of doing things.



I'm still working on building my business and hope to have more things accomplished going into next year - once I get more things built out and myself out of a few tasks I do not like doing I'll have more time to dedicate to causes like this that I'm extremely passionate about. The decline in hunting opportunities and what it's turning into (in KS and from what I've read other prairie states) is extremely disturbing. They can preach this r3 initiative all they want - but if there are no places for folks to easily access with target opportunities they will get nowhere which is where they've been going.

I dont know if I'd have more luck with an org like this or at our state level or an org like the Nature Conservancy who by first glance at least has the capability to purchase more land than PF does.



I love the older generation and the wisdom they have but sometimes they need to acknowledge there are different ways of doing things and different viewpoints that will get more accomplished. I say this as someone who will or is already middle age by the modern definition in Feb -- I only hope that as I enter the blue hair phase next I maintain an open mind to new viewpoints and ways of doing things.
 
Last edited:

remy3424

Member
Way embarassing for sure. Sounds like your local chapter needs some help. KS, which chapter is most local to you? And is this the one that you were involved in? It doesn't even seem that you are referring to the same organization that we have here. We need to get some input from some of the locals there that do attend the banquits and maybe some of the directors, they can shed the light on these issues you have, their complete lack of community involvement and utter disregard to your hunting needs. Maybe chapters that ARE well supported by the local hunters, conservationists, farmers and landowners, can help you and your former chapter out. Just an idea. I would rather you didn't feel the need to speak so disparagingly about the local PF in your state since they are so active in other areas. Maybe we can change this to where you are on the receiving end, not the giving side. We could all pitrch-in a little.
 
Last edited:

dakotasj

Member
I have reluctantly continued to read this thread. Its premise is counter to all the reasons I joined this forum.

I agree with points 1-7 by jackrabbit.

I don't have blue hair in fact I don't much hair at all, blue would be an improvement. I'm truly sorry you have such a low opinion of my generation.

I don't know a lot about pheasant hunting as I've only done it for 24 years. Don't know a lot about bird dogs either I've only been raising and training Britts since 1978. Many years ago I was associated with QU and watched it morph into a Hollywood mess. I don't see any of that behavior with PF or QF. In fact QF helped me develop a plan for improving wildlife habitat on my farm. I didn't pay for that but I suspect my acreage showed up on a report that supports your position that the money is not helping the average hunter.

I've not hunted KS that much so I can't address what's happening there compared to other states.

I suspect PF is not a perfect organization that can and should change, learn and improve as any successful organization should.

What I think they do really well --
1. promote this great sport of upland hunting and particularly pheasant hunting
2. lobby our perfect government to help protect this resource that's so important and is the basis for this forum
3. the magazine is well done. I enjoy getting it and generally read it cover to cover, cause I usually learn something even at my age and lack of experience
4. TV shows are entertaining and most often focus on public land hunting. I suspect that more people have started hunting pheasants as a result and I think that's a good thing.
5. electronic communication (via the internet) is well done

I choose to continue my support of PF because I believe it makes a positive impact on pheasant hunting in particular, but also other wildlife as well. PF is a very good organization from my point of view.

Couple of more points. I don't think more land is the answer. I don't have any trouble finding public land to hunt and have enough private land that I gained access to by knocking on doors - don't pay unless delivering a case of homemade jam from my orchards or buying dinner at the local steak house for farmers who have allowed me to hunt on their land without expecting to be paid, is paying - which I don't. If that's pay to hunt, I know I'm getting the best end of that deal and its not even close.
In the areas I hunt there is more public access now than 24 years ago.
Never been to a true pay to hunt place - haven't ever needed to. Better habitat is the answer which will only happen through education and smart people working on improvements and that takes a sizeable organization to manage that effort.

So the question I have is this - If PF vanished tomorrow, who on a national level would fill the void of lobbying state and federal agencies to support and promote pheasant hunting, addressing habitat education and introducing new pheasant hunters?

I respect anyone's decision to not support PF. Please respect my and others decision and viewpoints, even those at my age, to continue exercising our right to choose to support PF in whatever manner we see appropriate.

Its really not generational.
 

Highvoltage

New member
Like others have mentioned the money raised by the chapter is spent by them to benefit the hunting, and education in their community. If you are not happy with what is going on in yours get off your butt, and get involved instead of complaining on the web. We help our chapter put on banquets, and volunteer to spray noxious weeds on public hunting land in the spring. I’m too old and tired to try to explain it anymore than that.
 

bobman

New member
I’m old, been working pointing dogs and labs since 1963 and while I use the internet I freely admit I’m no expert. And I’m the head of engineering for a successful company, no need to be thin skinned about it, old folks have better judgment in most things but I freely admit the digital world is not one of our areas of expertise.


I suspect that they are right about PF management not being “with it” on internet marketing and they probably should have someone younger managing that part of their efforts.

What changed since the nineties when pheasant hunting was probably the best it’s been since the soil bank days of the 60s? Government mandated ethanol. Until that market uses actual supply and demand criteria and not government mandated rules habitat will continue to be mismanaged.

I don’t see that happening so if I was young and wanted to bird hunting until you’re my age I would move to Idaho or someplace with lots of federal lands. It will take the crooks in Washington a while to figure out how to sell that to their cronies.
 
Top