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. 171: The Birds & The Bees: Pollinator Week 2022
At Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, our mission is focused on creating high-quality habitat for upland gamebirds. As you undoubtedly know by now, that very same upland habitat needed for pheasant and quail chicks – a diverse mix of grasses and forbs - is also critical habitat for pollinators. In this week’s episode, we celebrate Pollinator Week 2022 with PF & QF’s Anna Swerczek and Jake Swafford, along with Public Land Tee’s Sam & Josh Soholt.
• Swerzcek, PF & QF’s habitat education program manager and Pollinator Week quarterback, unveils the compelling PF & QF membership offer celebrating this year’s Pollinator Week that includes three pollinator plants, a special pollinator-themed t-shirt & sticker from Public Land Tees, a subscription to the PF or QF Journal, and a PF & QF pollinator habitat sign. Only 300 of these special packages are available at www.PheasantsForever.org/PollinatorWeek or www.QuailForever.org/PollinatorWeek
• Jake Swafford, a PF & QF coordinating wildlife biologist in Missouri, talks about each specific pollinator plant included in the membership kits and how they each plant provides unique habitat benefits for birds and the bees throughout the spring, summer, and autumn bloom periods.
• The Soholt brothers explain their rationale for donating the t-shirts to PF & QF’s Pollinator Week efforts and how they conceptualized the shirt’s fun design.
PODCAST EP. 170: A State-of-the-Union for Lesser Prairie Chickens
Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Ted Koch, the executive director of the North American Grouse Partnership and a former U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service endangered species biologist, along with Ron Leathers, PF & QF’s chief conservation officer, for a discussion about lesser prairie chickens and their likely listing as an endangered species. As a former endangered species biologist, Koch brings a depth of knowledge about the mechanics of an endangered species listing, as well as the conservation initiatives already underway to work with landowners around voluntary habitat programs for the birds.
• Koch explains what ideal grassland habitat looks like for the lesser prairie chicken using a volleyball that’s 80% covered in grass visualization, while Leathers talks about how using cattle on a grasslands landscape can help keep that volleyball 20% exposed and free from being overgrown by grass that’s too tall or encroached upon by trees.
• Koch also addresses the “shoot, shovel, and shut up” mentality often associated with an endangered species listing and how voluntary conservation programs, especially CRP, can be a major opportunity for landowners in the lesser prairie chicken’s footprint.
• Leathers also delivers a powerful message about how we often hear that quail are an “edge” species, but the fact they’re considered an edge species is because the edge is all we leave them. Wide open grassland habitat created for lessers will also be terrific habitat for bobwhite quail.
PODCAST EP. 169: Recovering America’s Wildlife Act and What it Means for the Uplands
Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by PF & QF biologists Al Eiden, Haley Lockard, and Andy Edwards for a conversation focused on the $1.4 billion federal legislation known as Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA). If passed, RAWA would create dedicated state-based funding for wildlife habitat projects across the country targeting more than 12,000 “at risk” species, including bobwhite quail, sage grouse, lesser prairie chickens, bumble bees, and monarch butterflies. And for only the second time in our podcast’s history, watch the conversation on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/YX3DUwiiwJc
• Quail Forever Program Manager Andy Edwards kicks off the conversation focusing on how the legislation would empower state agencies across the Southeastern United States to better manage early successional habitat for bobwhite quail.
• PF & QF Senior Farm Bill Biologist Haley Lockard adds her perspective to RAWA’s ability to fund grassland habitat management for quail and lesser prairie chickens in the Great Plains.
• PF & QF’s Western Regional Director Al Eiden also explains how Recovering America’s Wildlife Act would kickstart a 25,000-acre scaled quail project in Arizona, while also helping fund sage grouse habitat work across the West and mountain quail habitat efforts in the Pacific Northwest.
PODCAST EP. 168: Sam Lawry on Being a Conservation Warrior
Fresh off his keynote address to PF & QF’s 208 new employees at the organization’s in-person new employee orientation, Sam Lawry joins Host Bob St.Pierre to talk about his “conservation warrior” message and to recap his 40-year career in wildlife conservation, which included a six year stint as PF & QF’s western regional director. The guys are joined by Sam’s two closest PF & QF friends in Tom Fuller, director of field services, and Chris McLeland, vice president of conservation delivery, for this episode filled with a little hyperbole and a lot of laughter.
• Sam also talks about his debut book, Stories of the Past, An Arizona Game Ranger Remembering the Outlaws, and how its publication resulted in Sam’s appearance on a MeatEater podcast with Steven Rinella.
• The guys also call BS on Sam’s claim to have written the book during the evenings of the organization’s out-of-town meetings when the rest of the crew was “at the watering hole.”
Learn more about Sam Lawry and his book by following him on Instagram @Sam.Lawry
PODCAST EP. 167: Mike Neiduski on Bird Dogs and Answering the Call of the Uplands
Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Mike Neiduski, who reached his dream job at the beginning of 2022 when he was hired to be a PF & QF development officer. Neiduski’s journey to that position started more than a decade ago with his first bird dog and an introduction to conservation through the North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA).
• The guys talk about Neiduski’s career stops at Maryville University in Missouri, Concordia University in Wisconsin, and Elon University in North Carolina before making a career shift to the Ruffed Grouse Society.
• Neiduski talks about his recently passed German wirehaired pointer, Plexi, and how her memory will live on through a Quail Forever Dog Life Membership as part of the Bird Dogs for Habitat campaign.
Special thanks to NAVHDA for sponsoring PF & QF’s annual Bird Dogs for Habitat campaign. This campaign is a friendly competition that challenges you to cast a vote and donate or become a member on behalf of your favorite bird dog breed. Every dollar donated equals a vote, and every week during the month of May our generous sponsors will be giving away fantastic prizes to those who participate. Vote today at www.BirdDogsforHabitat.org – THANKS!
PODCAST EP. 166: How to Smoke an Upland Game Bird
Host Bob St.Pierre is joined by Jonathon Tremblay from Walton’s Inc. to talk about smoking pheasants, quail, and grouse. Tremblay discusses the advantages of charcoal, wood, and pellet grills, and the benefits of prepping game bird meat with brines, marinades, and flavor injectors. He also answers the question, “skin on or skin off for the smoker?”
• The guys talk about using an expensive whiskey or bourbon during the brining process.
• Tremblay talks about a variety of wood options for smoking birds before explaining why pecan is the sweet spot of flavor and affordability.
Thanks to Walton’s Inc. for sponsoring this episode of On the Wing podcast and for being a national sponsor of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.
Photo by Lukas Leaf
Nice to hear stories and guests from around the country, keep up the great work
Love this Podcast
I love this podcast and find that, during this time of year, it really gets me excited for fall upland season openers. Sometimes this podcast is all that gets me through the hot summer months!
The content on this podcast is wonderful, but prepare to get your eardrums blown out. The voices’ volume is so unbalanced it oscillates between straining to hear them and then yelling at you. Would love to see it fixed!