National Pheasant Fest draws over 21,000 to Milwaukee this weekend

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2014 concluded Sunday, February 16th -- drawing 21,063 to the weekend event at the Wisconsin Center. The national convention and outdoor tradeshow, presented by MidwayUSA, was held in Milwaukee for the first time.

The show opened on Friday afternoon with over 500 in attendance for the show's grand kick-off, a Bird Dog Parade of nearly 40 different sporting dog breeds. The excitement carried into the weekend, as 21,063 people turned out to see over 500 exhibit booths, hundreds of bird dogs and dozens of educational seminars.

In addition to providing significant economic impact for the host city and attending outdoor industry vendors, Pheasants Forever uses its National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic to recruit members for its wildlife habitat conservation mission. More than 1,500 individuals signed up as Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever members.

At the organization’s Saturday evening national banquet, Larry and Brenda Potterfield, owners and founders of MidwayUSA, presented Pheasants Forever with a check for $950,000 to be used for the organization’s Forever Shooting Sports program.

Pheasants Forever also accepted gracious checks throughout the weekend from SportDOG Brand and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for $25,000 each. All told, the $1 million in contributions will be used to further Pheasants Forever’s youth programs throughout the country.

The event also delivered wildlife habitat benefits specific to Wisconsin. The Landowner Habitat Help Room at the show serviced 136 landowners providing conservation guidance on 29,607 acres of land, predominately located in Wisconsin and neighboring states.

Accompanied by a trained Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever biologist, or partnering biologist from Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources, landowners were educated on ways they can improve their acres for wildlife and even what local, state, and federal conservation programs they qualify for enrollment.

“We couldn’t have asked for a warmer welcome from Wisconsin’s outdoor community for our first Milwaukee Pheasant Fest, and want to thank Wisconsin’s 33 Pheasants Forever chapters and 9,000 members for making this event possible,” said Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s President and CEO, “For us to grow our wildlife habitat impact, we need to grow the number of people connected to our organization. It was incredible to see so many new faces at the show and in particular we were thrilled to see so many young upland enthusiasts from around the country come to the show.”

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic combines a national consumer show, habitat seminar series, and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns, and art. In fact, Pheasant Fest is the country's largest event for upland hunters, sport dog owners, and wildlife habitat conservationists.

Pheasants Forever, including its quail conservation division, Quail Forever, is the nation's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have more than 140,000 members and 745 local chapters across the United States and Canada. Chapters are empowered to determine how 100 percent of their locally raised conservation funds are spent, the only national conservation organization that operates through this truly grassroots structure.