Pheasants Forever- SCAM or do they help upland hunters?

jackrabbit

New member
Sounds like you're from the older generation where you just accept what your superiors tell you and accept it at face value.

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.

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.
I am 29 years old. I am not sure if I am offended or happy that you think I am from the older generation. I think happy, they have learned a lot over the years and provide valuable insight into things. Yes, the older generation is also not up on some things like the younger, but the younger is also not up on a lot of things like the older. I have a fear that my 3 children will not be able to see wild bird hunting with me the way I have grown to enjoy it. I have a fear that I will not be able to live out my dream of saving up my yearly vacation days from age 50-60 to spend the entire month of November in SD chasing wild birds. I have a fear that I will not be able to spend all of my retired 60s chasing wild birds by myself with my dog, and also introducing my hopeful grandkids to it.

Personally, I think the number 1 way to keep wild birds around is by providing quality habitat for them. I think PF does a good job of trying to assure that will happen. Whether it is on the national level by having a lobbyist in DC work with all of our politicians to make sure that the Farm Bill CRP acres do not decrease, but rather increase. Or working at the state level as a biologist to ensure that land, public or private, is suitable for birds. Or working at a local level by supporting your local chapter and helping to direct where their money goes. From what I can gather, some people on here have poorly run local chapters and do not agree with where their money is going. Guess what? GET INVOLVED! Make a difference! If you don't think you have quality public hunting in your area, support your local chapter, start raising money, start donations, find match money for it. That is where you will start noticing a difference. I know in SD, MN, IA and now some western US states, PF local chapters are doing a great job of providing quality public land habitat, and in some cases by the thousands of acres! And that all starts with a local donation and support of your local chapter.

As far as your $35 yearly membership. I think it is the least that we, as avid upland bird hunters, can do. Sign up when they have a membership promotion, a hat, knife, shirt, bag, whatever. You become a marketing voice for Pheasants and upland hunters. You become a conversation starter. If people don't support upland birds or hunting, then they aren't going to support conservation or creating land for birds. If you can start a conversation with 1 person who then becomes an upland hunter, who then does to another, before you know it there is some movement locally and a dying sport is hopefully no longer dying. I want this sport (in a wild bird, publicly accessible way) to be around for the rest of my life and my kids lives and grandkids lives, and so on.

I do agree that their merchandise sales could use a little help. For me personally, it is just priced a little too high or stuff that I just don't need (want, but don't need). They've got, in my (older but younger) generation opinion, a decent social media presence. They have facebook, instagram, youtube, and they are all updated regularly with things. They have a very informative podcast. They have great quarterly magazines that have taught me a lot. Being you are from Kansas, without PF media, I would have never known of what they refer to as "Wee ha" or WIHA I think it is. There is a Pheasants Forever crew currently on their Rooster Road Trip, which is in KS this year, and it is a tremendous marketing ploy to get people to Kansas by highlighting what the state, public land, species, etc. they can offer. Lots of positives at the national level for Kansas, again, I have no clue about your local level though. You ask why they are not getting anything about the benefits of KS to the public, that is exactly what the current Rooster Road Trip is doing! There are also a plethora of PF employees to follow on Social Media that do a great job of highlighting their own experiences on Public Land across the midwest.

As far as getting a message from PF that benefits businesses or outfitters? I don't know... I have never seen them promote a private lodge? Sure, they have advertising of things in their magazine where outfitters are paying them to advertise. That's business. Sure, they have sponsors and promote their products. Their sponsors are also large supporters of upland hunting, a win win situation.

I'm sure there are a million ways that PF could be run. The thing you have going for, is you are passionate about it and the decline of hunting and hunting opportunities disturbs you. There's a way you can use your passion to positively help upland birds. Whether that is through your local PF chapter or starting some sort of grassroots thing on your own. Or maybe just buying your own land you can turn into a quality conservation project. Million ways to make an impact. I think we all need to do something big or small. And as far as the National PF Organization goes, I think the least that any bird hunter in the country can do is give $35 to them.
 

Anantz35

New member
I don’t think forever is a scam they are just not very effective in making a difference. There is not a state in the pheasant belt that can claim they are doing well. What people are willing to accept as “good’ today is pathetic compared to just 15 years ago.

If you want to find a true scam....all you you need to do is look at the bird forecast for the state of Kansas. Anyone who has hunted KS for a while knows the pheasants are very poor right now. The state of Kansas is willing to exaggerate the bird populations because they know how much money it brings. Instead of trying to keep a positive face and lie about the population state of It...they should be spending their money and resources to figure out how to improve it and not with the same old excuses or glib. As hunters, I suggest if you go to voice concerns to wildlife department and legislators in KS... you have a better chance of getting something resolved in the long run.
 

KsHusker

Member
I don’t think forever is a scam they are just not very effective in making a difference. There is not a state in the pheasant belt that can claim they are doing well. What people are willing to accept as “good’ today is pathetic compared to just 15 years ago.

If you want to find a true scam....all you you need to do is look at the bird forecast for the state of Kansas. Anyone who has hunted KS for a while knows the pheasants are very poor right now. The state of Kansas is willing to exaggerate the bird populations because they know how much money it brings. Instead of trying to keep a positive face and lie about the population state of It...they should be spending their money and resources to figure out how to improve it and not with the same old excuses or glib. As hunters, I suggest if you go to voice concerns to wildlife department and legislators in KS... you have a better chance of getting something resolved in the long run.


We are on the same page with this comment.


The whole point of this topic is to get people to see the big picture. Local banquets are doing nothing. Not to dismiss the efforts people put forth in putting those on - but it is a waste of time talent and resources and fighting a losing battle. The battle needs to be fought at the state and national level and to find ways Ag, land owners, hunters etc can all work together by implementing policy changes. Right now Big Ag has been winning the battle and many in the younger generation taking over farms (I'd say 50s and below) may not share the same values their parents or grandparents had, or have been forced to change how they operate due to the current policies and present environment we find ourselves in. There will be and right now there has been a large turnover in who operates farms --- just look up the average age of a farmer - you'll be appalled by how old it is - unless we make changes now hunting and habitat for wildlife in AG focused states will be permanently screwed. Investor Jim Rogers talked about the average age of farmers and the coming changes 10-15 years ago.


I live near the capital and have had a little experience testifying before a committee this past year so look to put more of that to work. In my opinion I do not think PF is looking at the big picture - maybe they are but by all appearances they do not.

I'm wanting to find where I can affect the most change - helping out with a banquet is not the way - I've tried it and seemed to be a total waste of time and effort.

Where I live presently the closest chapter is an hour away - 10 years ago they had good pheasant populations - now you'd hunt all day and be lucky to get into some. Quail are up and down in the area where this chapter is located.


KS has several problems - #1 - is lax deer regulations - #2 is habitat - "modern farming practices," invasive plants such as cool season grasses, cedar trees etc, too much burning or lack of it, overgrazing etc etc, #3 is access - which solving #1 can cure some or likely a lot of this.

For you guys that travel - you'll say access is no problem - depending on your perspective you may be right - what I'm looking at is if we want to reactivate folks and get them into hunting -- MOST are not going to travel 2-5 hours (In state) from our population centers Wichita, NE Corridor (Lawrence, Topeka, KC) etc stay the night in a motel, hunt for a couple hours on WIHA that already gets pounded then drive home. I do this but I've tasted success at a younger age that got me hooked. I want others to join me but know that the only chance I'd have at recruiting someone is a few short trips with some sort of success - much like dog training - hard to keep anything positive when you drive an hour - little to few places to hunt and your chances of success are near zero.

In the late 90s and to the middle of the 00's you could throw a dart at the state of KS and you'd find plenty of WIHA and get into plenty of birds save for SE KS as it had issues with flooding if I recall. Now look at the maps - a lot of the WIHA in bird plentiful areas has went away - It's very HARD to recruit someone to a sport where the chances of success are slim to none and to top it off you'll spend all day in the car to get to a chance of decent success. Even those long drives are slimming down to smaller and smaller pockets which I've seen discussed on other forums -- KS has over-inflated the bird forecast for several years - they need to stop lying at the state level in a marketing tactic and fix the problem.


For you guys that are crazy and drive 20 plus hours to hunt here - I'm guessing most of you tasted some sort of success in your formative years driving this passion which is what I had -- my whole point is that I do not believe PF has been doing anything to solve the issues I raise above - they could affect a lot of change by policy changes and by donating land which I'd get behind - - I've seen no evidence presented as such other than join and volunteer at a local chapter -- we've had them around for years and everything keeps going downhill - things need to change and folks need to pull their head out of the sand.

I'm hoping those at PF corporate are following the thread and reassess their mission and way of doing things. I normally make up my mind by talking out loud or having discussions - weird way of thinking things out I guess - but this discussion seems to point me that the Nature Conservancy and working at the state level could be a better use of my time - Nature Conservancy agitates me as the land they own in KS there is no hunting allowed on it due to my knowledge but who knows - maybe that could be changed as I do believe land they have in other states they do allow hunting.


Maybe PF could even work with the Nature Conservancy - there's a novel idea.
 

KsHusker

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.

Sarcasm received I'm not looking for any of what they do to benefit me - I'm already bitten with the bug and spend plenty of time and drive long distances from NE ks to hunt wild birds. My point is that if they do not solve the problems and start to solve them - then they have existed for nothing.


If you want to recruit, reactivate and retain - how do you get someone started when we all openly admit the bird hunting has went downhill (drastically) from even 10 years ago - much less lets bring up the 90's and 00's when I started to get seriously into upland hunting and was a late teenager/early 20s - not to mention what my father and many of you experienced in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

I'm appalled over how much the access has changed in KS in such a short time and over how much the bird populations have went down -- there are still pockets of good populations left - but it's not like it was where the pops were good over wide spread areas. In the mid 90's you could see pheasants all over the place on the outskirts of NW Wichita (where I grew up in my HS years) - now they're likely all gone, primarily due to development - secondly due to the change in farming practices on the ag land remaining.



The chapter I was involved in was in the city I formerly lived in 2 years ago - the closest chapter to me presently is an hour away. I'm not sure the chapters can solve the big problems we are facing collectively as a group.
 

Anantz35

New member
Guys... It’s not just a habitat. The last 3-4 years I’ve been hunting what I think we would all agree was Premier habitat lower and lower success rates. Of course pheasants need this habitat and it that matters in the discussion, but there is something else going on. None of the pheasant belt states are doing well. Pheasants forever can be a partial solution, but it needs to rethink the ‘how.’ It’s 2020 and we are trying to adjust like it was 1985. How is it that some random from Europe dumps a few pen raised pheasants in a America and we have a mass population, but today we are losing ground while actively trying to sustain them? Conventional thought is miserably failing. Real research needs to be conducted with tests to find out what exactly is going wrong and then use the influence and money to push department and state money to find ways to adapt. That could mean totally changing direction on the how.

I have been hunting south central and southwest Iowa for 25+ years. I loved hunting this area Because the farmers left all the waterways fence rows and plenty of cover for wildlife. Hardly any CRP grass in the area, but was not a problem. You had a chance to get your limit in both pheasant and quail very last day of the season. I went there last week after only a few weeks of the season and did not see one bird. That is with 2 guys and three very experienced and competent dogs. This was private land that did not get hammered. The worst part was the cover looked exceptional. The land I was hunting and all the land around had dream cover. If I was a pheasant biologist I wouldn’t change a thing. That is when I became really sad and the reality that this sport Is on the way to extinction if something dramatic is not done. I don’t know if pheasants forever is the answer but at this point we should push anyone who is willing to help.
 

watermen

Member
Guys... It’s not just a habitat. The last 3-4 years I’ve been hunting what I think we would all agree was Premier habitat lower and lower success rates. Of course pheasants need this habitat and it that matters in the discussion, but there is something else going on. None of the pheasant belt states are doing well. Pheasants forever can be a partial solution, but it needs to rethink the ‘how.’ It’s 2020 and we are trying to adjust like it was 1985. How is it that some random from Europe dumps a few pen raised pheasants in a America and we have a mass population, but today we are losing ground while actively trying to sustain them? Conventional thought is miserably failing. Real research needs to be conducted with tests to find out what exactly is going wrong and then use the influence and money to push department and state money to find ways to adapt. That could mean totally changing direction on the how.

I have been hunting south central and southwest Iowa for 25+ years. I loved hunting this area Because the farmers left all the waterways fence rows and plenty of cover for wildlife. Hardly any CRP grass in the area, but was not a problem. You had a chance to get your limit in both pheasant and quail very last day of the season. I went there last week after only a few weeks of the season and did not see one bird. That is with 2 guys and three very experienced and competent dogs. This was private land that did not get hammered. The worst part was the cover looked exceptional. The land I was hunting and all the land around had dream cover. If I was a pheasant biologist I wouldn’t change a thing. That is when I became really sad and the reality that this sport Is on the way to extinction if something dramatic is not done. I don’t know if pheasants forever is the answer but at this point we should push anyone who is willing to help.
I agree something is going on and nobody seems to know what it is.
 

KsHusker

Member
Almost everyone whose head isn't buried in the sand knows what's going on.


Big ag and farming practices. We've let the chemical and seed companies run/determine how/where things are going - unfortunately everytime someone brings that up - in my opinion it seems that producers/landowners/ranchers seem to take it as an attack - it's not -

I think this a scenario of the frog in the hot pot of water - things have slowly changed and no one has paid attention to why. I am the opposite of a wordsmith and struggle to get my point across -- In one paragraph Anantz35 stated eloquently and more tactfully part of what I've been trying to say.


Ks besides what he stated also has the issue of Deer mismanagement which ruins the hunting (eliminates opportunities) for the common person around population centers all the large hunting related/outdoor groups are singing the R3 initiative about. So there are a couple of fronts that need attention.
 
Last edited:

BRITTMAN

Active member
Jackrabbit - September prairie grouse and October ruffed grouse. Public land MN pheasant land is perfectly good (vast majority of years) for one or two hunters.

To be honest I killed quite a few pheasants pre-CRP in the Dakotas ... most on public land.
 

KsHusker

Member
The worst part was the cover looked exceptional. The land I was hunting and all the land around had dream cover. If I was a pheasant biologist I wouldn’t change a thing.

? as I am curious - I've heard the comment (I've been in such and such area for 25 years and it hasn't changed....(not trying to be facetious, but a serious ?) -- If you look closely do you believe it is truly the "same" - IE weedy, lack of cool season grasses with plenty of overhead canopy cover but forbes down at ground level and plenty of escape and travel paths down low? I see NE KS where I presently live and parts of Eastern KS have a serious invasive species issue with cool season grasses, too many trees, lots of nest predators as a result of the change in habitat etc.
 

s.davis

Member
Because wild turkeys eat all the pheasants and quail, as everyone knows...

Kidding. It's the poison and the climate.
 

watermen

Member
That's a couple problems I agree, How would you explain the drops on control areas? Loss of birds on prime habitat with little ag influence. Specifically non sprayed native grasses or managed habitat. Climate has not changed native vegetation yet in my local 500 mile radius. Other factors have, but there still remain examples of prime habitat.
 

KsHusker

Member
That's a couple problems I agree, How would you explain the drops on control areas? Loss of birds on prime habitat with little ag influence. Specifically non sprayed native grasses or managed habitat. Climate has not changed native vegetation yet in my local 500 mile radius. Other factors have, but there still remain examples of prime habitat.

I couldnt answer to your specific question as I haven't seen the land - all I know is if the weather cooperates in KS and you have the ingredients you need there will be pheasants and quail. Problem is here the ingredients you need in the right mix/order are harder and harder to come by or put together. IE my canary in the coal mine example -- Bees/Butterflies are probably the other one.

I'm pointing a large portion of the finger on the seed/chemical companies - as someone else used the word - they are poisoning our environment and we collectively are doing this work for them. PF meanwhile as someone else alluded acts like the 1980s tactics and approach will work.
 

KsHusker

Member
That's a couple problems I agree, How would you explain the drops on control areas? Loss of birds on prime habitat with little ag influence. Specifically non sprayed native grasses or managed habitat. Climate has not changed native vegetation yet in my local 500 mile radius. Other factors have, but there still remain examples of prime habitat.


I was thinking about this a little more - I dont know if Troy (Prairie Drifter) is still active here or not on the KS forum - but he had a good analogy I think either here or one of the videos the wildlife and parks put up (I think it was him anyways) --


Are your examples of prime habitat really just "Islands" of habitat that are isolated from other areas of good habitat and are not interconnected?

IE if you think back - you could have a quarter of CRP - but maybe attached to it would be a thick hedgerow next to an ag field that didnt get heavy chemical applications in the past - or a weedy fence row and this would be the travel corridor to connect to the next patch of say 10 acres of marshland that's dry 6 plus mos out of the year and provides good cover during "X" season - it then connects to the next one and so on. Or maybe you have a section of CRP left alone but it hasn't been grazed in 15 years or burnt in 20 and now it's just a thick mat down at ground level


Maybe some of the explanation -- anyways the "Islands" of cover hypothesis I've seen is that the birds are really trapped on an island and one small thing happens they have nowhere else to go or hide or ways to move/travel around like in the past to change up the genetics or move when environmental conditions necessitate they do to another area with more favorable conditions.

I hope that makes sense and that I'm on the right track.


KS would greatly increase their bird #'s if the CP33 edge program was really pushed and a lot of acres (that connected) were enrolled in ag/crop land.
 
Last edited:
Interesting. I guess I fall into the old category, been chasing birds in America(lower 48) since the 80's, maybe you could say the 70's if you counted the years in college in Wisconsin. PF could be better, but as some have commented they are better than nothing. From what I've heard the local chapters can do the most good, well yeah I would like to improve my local hunting the most. So they get a few more benefits like hunting private ground, well they deserve it. The big picture, I mean from the Canadian border to the southern range of pheasants is the real question. All of them are a fraction of what they were in the heyday of CRP. But is the loss of CRP the issue or is it something else like roundup? Maybe a better national presence to address the big picture rather than each state is needed.
 

haymaker

Active member
I can't speak for other areas but here the weather the last 4 or 5 years has been a major factor. Yes crop insurance and ethanol are contributers but in my case I have a lot of habitat and this year I went backwards. We had few hens survive last winter. The ones that did fed with my cows and lived in the trees.
 
It is a death of a thousands cuts. Loss of crp hurts, the switching to corn over other grains hurts, changing farm practices hurt, west nile virus etc. Than there is the weather, climate change is big elephant in the room. That being said as I remember the winter of 96-97 devastated pheasants, yet a couple of years later they had come back. Forgot the other bad winters, but we were devastated a couple of other times and they came back. Than drought, can't remember the years but can remember hunting what at one time was lake bottom along the Missouri that had dried up and was than filled with birds. The issue we need to address is that even prime habitat is not producing the birds it once did. It is hard to get new hunters started or even old hunters to continue when you don't see birds. One of my college classes made us read Silent spring about DDT. Do we have something like that going on now. Yes PF could do more, but as a group of grouchy old f@#$s we maybe should do more. I'm kind embarrassed that I only give 35 to PF most years, but than again if I saw more progress maybe I would give more.
 
Top