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.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.
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.