Members and leaders of Pheasants Forever continue to battle upland habitat loss and declining pheasant and quail populations.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are grassroots, volunteer and membership-based organizations. Members are a diverse group of hunters, farmers, ranchers, landowners, conservation enthusiasts, and wildlife officials. Rachel Bush, conservation programs manager for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, says the common thread is all members want to make a difference for wildlife by conserving or creating habitat.
“We have a great network of volunteers and chapters. I think when a lot of people think of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, they are familiar with the local fundraising banquet that happens in their local community led by great volunteers. But what people might not know about us is we also have a network of boots on the ground biologists that work day to day with farmers to help implement conservation across the U.S.”
Bush says the organizations have four main mission drivers.
“We are interested in habitat and protecting and creating habitat. We look at education and outreach. We are educating that next generation of hunter-conservationists. We look at advocacy such as advocating for sound conservation policy both in-state and in D.C. And then access. That’s a recent one. We want to make sure hunters out there across the U.S. have access to pursue the upland birds that we all enjoy.”
Bush talks about current pheasant and quail population trends.
“We always say ‘invest in habitat’ because then we can buffer for the habitat. Pheasants and quail are grassland species. They need grasslands. As we lose grasslands across the U.S., our pheasant and quail populations respond. While we may have some good years, I think the overall trend – unless we can create habitat for these species – is we will see continued declines.”
Visit PheasantsForever.org to learn more about becoming a member or to give a donation. Bush spoke to the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network at Commodity Classic.