Welcome to the On the Wing Podcast with Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever.
On the Wing is your destination for conversations about upland bird hunting, wildlife habitat, public lands, bird dogs, wild game cooking and epic adventures in search of pheasants, quail and grouse. These are the stories of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s 145,000 members, volunteers, team of professional wildlife biologists and experts in the field. Our shows are recorded in person and often on the road from the end of tailgates, backs of horse trailers and after a day in the field chasing birds.
PODCAST EP. 85: Fly Fishing & Bird Hunting Go Together Like Peas & Carrots
Host Bob St.Pierre takes the co-pilot seat as the organization’s Education & Outreach Program Manager Marissa Jensen takes the lead on a conversation with Carla Gibson and Jenny O’Brien on fly fishing, bird dogs, and chukar hunting in the West.
• Jenny and Carla share their personal stories about how fly fishing and bird hunting strengthened their friendship.
• Marissa and Carla discuss their experiences as volunteers with The Mayfly Project, whose mission is to connect with foster children through fishing.
• Jenny talks about tying flies during the COVID-19 pandemic using the birds bagged by the duo while upland hunting.
• Marissa discusses her love for the names of flies. She also references Nick Simonson’s Pheasants Forever blog 12 Flies you can Tie from Rooster Feathers.
• Carla explains her love for “devil birds” and how hunting chukars is more difficult than training for Ironman Triathlons.
• Jenny and Carla jointly paint the picture of just how beautiful the Western landscape is where chukars and trout live, and how these beautiful places inspire conservation.
• The group discuss the benefits of social media as an outdoors recruitment tool and as a way to convert folks into hunters and anglers. Follow Carla on Instagram at @OregonOutdoorGirl and Jenny on Instagram at @Sea2Sage to check out photos of their fly fishing and bird hunting adventures.
• Marissa talks about the habitat connection between healthy upland birds, abundant trout populations, and clean cold water.
• As the episode closes, Jenny and Carla share their tips for the guys out there listening who want the women in their lives to come along into their outdoors adventures . . . to coach or not to coach?
PODCAST EP. 84: Recruiting, Retaining, and Reactivating Hunting into the Future
In conjunction with Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s celebration of National Hunting & Fishing week, host Bob St. Pierre and the organization’s Hunting Heritage Program Manger Colby Kerber take a deep dive into the hunting community’s R3 initiative with Matt Dunfee. Dunfee is the Wildlife Management Institute’s Director of Special Programs and one of the principle architects behind the R3 movement to address America’s precipitous decline in hunters. Colby also announces the organization’s launch of the Mentor Pledge being sponsored by ALPS OutdoorZ.
• Colby shares his experience as a first-generation hunter and the memorable duck hunt in college that hooked him.
• Matt explains the Wildlife Management Institute’s role as a “think tank” for natural resources. He also discusses how that work led to a deep dive into the loss of hunters and potential ramifications for the rapid decline in license sales.
• Matt also details the struggles of the hunting community as its efforts successfully cloned middle aged white males but didn’t adapt to reflect America’s changing demographics.
• Bob and Matt also debate the comparison of hunting as a sport or a lifestyle and the ways to change the conversation to make it more inclusive.
• The group also discusses the importance of mentorship. As Matt says, “become a mentor, and your circle of friends will grow exponentially”.
• In the end, they review tips for mentors and how Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever can help hunters be mentors.
Take Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Hunter Mentor Challenge this hunting season!
Ep. 83: The Drive-Thru Chapter Banquet and Iowa’s Pheasant Surge
Host Bob St. Pierre heads across the airways to Iowa to hear all about the first ever drive-thru banquet hosted by the DubuqueLand chapter of Pheasants Forever. He’s joined by Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever Field Services Director Tom Fuller and DubuqueLand chapter President Tim Fiedler. Listen and learn about the innovative solution these chapter volunteers put together to make sure they continued to deliver the organization’s habitat mission in their local area during a worldwide pandemic.
• Tim Fiedler explains how he got involved with Pheasants Forever and how he came to be president of the DubuqueLand chapter for the last 16 years.
• Tim talks about the chapter’s habitat work, veteran and youth hunts, and their unique partnerships with other outdoor volunteer groups. A passionate man, Tim vividly describes the pride he feels in creating permanent public lands for hunters. With the real “Field of Dreams” only 12 miles from his house, Tim references the famous line from the movie “if you build it, they will come,” but references it to future generations of hunters.
• Tom and Bob dig into the details of the first ever drive-thru banquet and Tim shares how the chapter came together to put the event on at their local fair grounds while abiding by COVID-19 safety guidelines. In the end, Tim called the event “easy” to put together and reports the chapter raised more than $35,000 for habitat projects during the evening.
• The trio goes on to discuss the positive pheasant forecast recently released by the Iowa DNR, where there’s over a 100% increase in pheasant counts in three parts of the state. As Tim said, we’ve hit a home run for habitat; Iowa is seeing the results of habitat work.
• The conversation ends with a big thank you to the sea of blaze orange Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever volunteers doing the work across the country. It is the chapter volunteers who make the locally-driven mission of “The Habitat Organization” possible.
If you’re a chapter officer interested in learning more about hosting a drive-thru, contact your Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever Regional Representative.
If you’d like to get involved with your local Pheasants Forever & Quail Chapter banquet, check out our chapter map.
Ep. 82: Quail Hunting and Habitat with Biologist Dwayne Elmore
Quail Forever Journal Editor Chad Love joins host Bob St.Pierre for a quail-centric conversation with Oklahoma State University Professor Dwayne Elmore. The trio talk about quail from coast-to-coast with Oklahoma serving as the geographic center of the conversation. Listen to learn about the importance of shrubby cover in the quail habitat mix, and how Elmore’s quail research influences how he hunts the birds in the autumn and winter months.
• Dwayne tells the story of the Tennessee quail covey that hooked him at age 14. He fondly remembers the distinct habitat, the miles of walking to find the birds, and the flush off the nose of his pointing dog.
• The conversation continues as Chad and Dwayne educate Bob on why Oklahoma is such a cool state boasting diverse wildlife species from alligators to big horn sheep.
• Dwayne explains the critical importance of shrub habitat to quail across their range and explains that not all shrub habitats are created equal. He describes the importance of being able to shuffle your feet freely but be attacked by briars at your thighs as an illustration of quality quail habitat.
• Dwayne also discusses the factors affecting quail nesting success from extreme weather patterns of heat and rain to predation and solar radiation.
• In the end, Dwayne provides quail hunting tips from the perspective as a quail biologist, and you’d be surprised to learn, he trusts his bird dog above all else.
Ep. 81: Preview of the Prairie Chicken, Sharp-tailed Grouse, and Sage Grouse Hunting Seasons
Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Marissa Jensen, Tom Carpenter and Chad Love, authors of Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s annual Prairie Grouse Primer, for a state-by-state forecast of the 2020 prairie grouse hunting season. The group breaks down prospects and hunting tips for Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Idaho.
• The crew shares their enthusiasm for the first upland opener of the year on September 1st with prairie grouse hunting seasons getting started in Montana, Nebraska and Wyoming.
• Carpenter, editor of the Pheasants Forever Journal, talks about how prairie grouse hunting provides the first barometer for the health of the landscape during the autumn bird seasons. He also shares his love for the freedom prairie grouse hunting provides.
• Love, editor of Quail Forever Journal, describes how prairie grouse are potent symbols of the places where they live.
• Jensen teases a fantastic peach whiskey cream sauce recipe for prairie grouse on the plate.
• Each participant highlights how Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s habitat mission benefits all the prairie grouse species.
Ep. 80: New Board Chair Matt Kucharski Talks Bird Dogs and the Organization’s Future
Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Matt Kucharski, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s newly elected Chairman of the National Board of Directors for a conversation that starts with bird dogs and closes with Kucharski’s vision for the organization’s future. In between the duo talk about Kucharski’s role in Quail Forever’s formation, his personal habitat projects, and the bird hunt he is most excited for in the season ahead.
• The guys talk about the four generations of bird dogs they’ve owned, trained, and hunted together. They chat about the quirks, hilarious stories, and the heartbreak that accompany every bird dog and hunter relationship.
• Kucharski talks about LeRoy Neiman’s famous black Lab painting and how much it reminds him of his Labrador “Lucy.” He also explains how he comes up with symbols representing each of his bird dogs that end up as tattoos on the back of his right calf.
• Bob and Matt discuss hunting flushing and pointing breeds together and how silent GPS collars saved their hunting friendship.
• Kucharski describes the National Board’s role to manage risk and plan for opportunity, while explaining the makeup of the Board of Directors and the group’s desire to add gender and racial diversity to the group.
• The pair also talk about how diversity and inclusion is critical to the future of hunting and wildlife habitat.
• The conversation closes with an update on the organization’s financial health as the COVID-19 pandemic persists and what’s on the horizon for the organization’s future.