Organization News

 Letter From a PF Ringneck

Kyle McFarren was sponsored by Muskegon Pheasants Forever to attend last summer's MUCC Youth Camp. Here is his thank you letter to our Chapter.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Miguel Ayala, Sen. Stabenow - (202) 360-0929
Mary Detloff, Michigan DNRE - (517) 335-3014
Mike Parker, Pheasants Forever - (517) 896-4178
Erin McDonough - (517) 775-9500
"Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative" launched

Stabenow, Stokes, Creagh join conservation groups and state agencies to kick-off wild pheasant initiative that promises to improve habitat, increase hunter opportunities.

               BATH, MICH - U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Michigan Department of Natural Resources director designate Rodney Stokes, and Michigan Department of Agriculture director designate Keith Creagh today joined together with a partnership of Michigan conservation organizations and representatives of federal and state agencies to kick-off the "Michigan Pheasant Restoration Initiative," a partnership geared toward restoring wild pheasant habitat in Michigan. The growing partnership currently includes Michigan State Council of Pheasants Forever, Michigan United Conservation Clubs, Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service.

"I strongly support this program, which we included in the most recent Farm Bill," said U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chair of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry. "Hunting and outdoor recreation is part of our way of life in Michigan. This program lets our farmers and landowners get added value from their property while opening up access for hunting. This will allow sportsmen from across our state to enjoy all that Michigan's outdoors have to offer."

By providing quality habitat to support the long-term recovery of wild pheasants in Michigan, the Initiative will also benefit other grassland species and create significant opportunities for small game hunters in Michigan. "There are more than 50,000 hunters who pursue pheasants annually in Michigan, and we can do better at meeting their demand for opportunity," says Mike Parker, Pheasants Forever's Regional Wildlife Biologist in the state. "It's a given that when you have quality and quantity habitat, you have pheasants. Revitalizing habitat - nesting cover, escape cover and food and winter cover -  is the key to revitalizing pheasant hunting in Michigan."

 Newly appointed Director for the Department of Natural Resources Rodney Stokes applauded the Initiative as a fresh example of good governing for Michigan's new state agency structure. "This initiative is a great showing of partnership between state and federal agencies and conservation groups, and a good example of how the new Quality of Life executive group will work together," said Rodney Stokes, director designate for the Department of Natural Resources. "It will increase and diversify hunting opportunities in our state, help with hunter recruitment and retention, and the habitat work will benefit many other species. We are very excited to be a part of the effort to rebuild and strengthen pheasant hunting in Michigan."

Two primary goals of the plan are to double Michigan's current pheasant harvest and to increase access to quality hunting lands. The plan will also have a tremendous impact on hunter retention and recruitment in the state. According to Parker, the key difference between past efforts and the new Pheasant Recovery Initiative is the broad landscape scale. "Previous efforts have been successful on smaller scales, improving 40 acres for a landowner here, and 40 acres for a landowner there," Parker said. "But to maximize pheasant hunting, we need to broaden the focus."

Michigan United Conservation Clubs Executive Director Erin McDonough heralded the Initiative as a gateway to recruiting and retaining new hunters. "Many first time hunters' experience comes from hunting small game," said McDonough. "You'll hear from many hunters in Michigan that they got started hunting and appreciating its place in conservation from hunting pheasants when Michigan actually had a good pheasant population. With Michigan ranking last in the nation in hunter recruitment and retention, MUCC is proud to be a part of this Initiative that will help improve hunter opportunities, hunter recruitment and retention and preserve the future of conservation in Michigan."

Along with the Initiative, Michigan DNRE will also be expanding opportunities for public hunting on private lands through the Hunting Access Program. Outreach and education to youth about pheasant hunting is also a priority within the Initiative. The conservation partners will host youth events to explain pheasant needs and habitat as well as an opportunity to share their pheasant hunting heritage with others. 


  Muskegon County Habitat Projects


Celebrating both Arbor Day and Earth Day, Muskegon Pheasants Forever planted over 1200 shrubs and trees at the Muskegon County Wastewater site with the help of 84 students from Oakridge High School, Oakridge Adult and Alternative Ed and Ravenna High School. Click here to view the article printed in the Muskegon Chronicle from the event in 2010. This is the third year of a yearly activity to provide a small game shelter belt between the native prairie grass lands currently being planted at the site. In early May, 2009 113 acres of native prairie grasses, switch grass and 20 species of wildflowers were planted.  In early July, 2010, 147 more acres of prairie grasses were planted at the Muskegon County Wastewater site. 


To Feed or Not to Feed? Pheasants Forever Has Answers

Feeding ringnecks can have negative consequences, not long-term solution to winter survival

Saint Paul, Minn. – January 7, 2010 – From the Dakotas and Minnesota to Iowa and Illinois, much of the core pheasant range is experiencing winter's first real test due to recent heavy snowstorms and extreme cold. Naturally, many hunters and conservationists have found cause for concern regarding ring-necked pheasants' ability to survive, and ask "Should we be feeding pheasants?" Pheasants Forever has some careful considerations.

Habitat is the Effective Long-Term Solution

The key to carrying pheasants through the winter is quality thermal habitat. While this may provide no consolation this winter, consider that resources spent on establishing high quality winter cover will yield far greater results and the best winter survival rates down the road. The lesson to be learned from a tough winter is the need to plant more high quality thermal cover this spring. Start your habitat planning now!

"More than anything, feeding is reactionary to the winter, when the best thing we can do is be proactive about improving quality habitat," said Rick Young, Pheasants Forever's Vice President of Field Operations. "Unfortunately, many well-intentioned people who provide corn and other grains as food sources actually harm pheasants more than they help them."

Why NOT to Feed Pheasants

 The biggest reason to shy away from feeding pheasants is that feeders attract predators and expose pheasants to death by predation. Feeders give predators a focus point similar to a bait pile. 

 In fact, it is rare for a pheasant to starve, but death by freezing can be common. Poorly-placed feeders may draw the pheasants out and away from their protective winter cover and cause birds to congregate and expend energy competing for food. Instead of saving birds, this actually adds to freezing deaths.



Pheasant habitat project takes wing

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

By Steve Gunn -

A plan to lure pheasants back to the Muskegon County wastewater treatment site has the official blessing of county officials.

The Muskegon County Board of Public Works has voted to allow the Muskegon branch of Pheasants Forever to use 425 acres of wastewater property for habitat restoration. That will include planting prairie grass, sorghum, wildflowers and other vegetation necessary to attract pheasants.

The birds were common on the site in the '70s, '80s and '90s, before natural predators and declining natural habitat took their toll.

No pheasants will be transplanted on the wastewater property. The addition of conducive habitat should be enough to convince the birds to return on their own, officials said.
With approval of the public works board, the Pheasants Forever local branch now plans to raise roughly $100,000 in the next few years to pay for its project, said David Farhat, a former state representative who serves as president of the group.
The fundraising will be done over several years, even as habitat restoration is under way, Farhat said. The group will focus on several types of fundraisers while also seeking grants, Farhat said.

Weed control efforts will probably begin this spring while the actual planting will probably start in 2009, Farhat said.

The project would be the largest restoration of pheasant habitat on public land in the state, according to Farhat. Hunting the birds on the property will remain illegal, according to Dave Kendrick, the county's director of public works.

"The beauty of that site, especially as a contiguous project, is that it's going to be like a preserve, with no hunting," Farhat said.

The 10-year agreement with the county identifies three sites where habitat will be upgraded.

The first will be 80 acres on the north side of Apple Avenue near Sullivan Road, Farhat said.
"That's the spot we're going to call our 'living billboard,' where people can drive by and see the difference in the habitat," Farhat said.

At the same time, the group will plant on 130 acres on the south side of Laketon Avenue near the Swanson Road intersection.

The second and third phases, totaling about 290 acres, will be contiguous to the Swanson Road site, to the south and east, Farhat said. The group would ideally like to develop about 100 acres per year, he said.

All the habitat development will be separate from the 5,100 acres reserved for corn, alfalfa and soybean farming on the property. Those crops are raised as part of the natural wastewater cleansing process at the wastewater treatment facility.

The county will reserve the right to reuse the pheasant habitat property for its own purposes at any time. 



Press Release

For Immediate Release                                            Anthony Hauck (651)209-4972

Charity Navigator Awards Pheasants Forever Highest Rating for Fourth Consecutive Year

Only 5% of charities achieve such distinction

Saint Paul, Minn. - January 2, 2008 - For the fourth consecutive year, Pheasants Forever (PF) received the highest possible rating from Charity Navigator, the nation's largest charity evaluator. PF earned a 4-star rating on Charity Navigator's 0-4 rating scale. Only 5% of the charities rated by Charity Navigator have received at least four consecutive 4-star evaluations.

Through Charity Navigator's evaluation system, non-profit organizations are judged upon their ability to efficiently manage and grow its finances. The watchdog organization evaluates over 5,000 non-profits nationwide, more than any other organization. On four straight 4-star ratings, Charity Navigator said in a statement, "This 'exceptional' designation from Charity Navigator differentiates Pheasants Forever from its peers and demonstrates to the public it is worthy of their trust."

"In today's non-profit world, people expect to see their donations being put to the best possible use," said Howard Vincent, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever President and CEO, "This evaluation once again proves that we are good to our word at turning dollars into conservation advocacy, conservation education, and most importantly, putting dollars directly back into the ground for the betterment of wildlife habitat."

Charity Navigator noted PF's ability to turn nearly 90 cents of every budgeted dollar into the organization's mission of wildlife habitat and conservation education. PF is currently celebrating its 25th anniversary, and in that time the organization has spent nearly $230 million on its mission. Those funds have translated into 300,000 habitat projects, benefiting nearly 4.5 million acres across North America.

"This 4-star rating from Charity Navigator is a direct reflection of how well our unique local model works," Vincent added. PF and its quail division, Quail Forever (QF), empower local chapters with the responsibility to determine how 100 percent of their locally-raised conservation funds will be spent. PF and QF are the only national conservation organizations that operate through this truly grassroots structure. This local control allows members to see the fruits of their chapter efforts in their own communities, while belonging to a national organization with a voice on federal conservation policy in Washington D.C.

Charity Navigator, America's premiere independent charity evaluator, works to advance a more efficient and responsive philanthropic marketplace by evaluating the financial health of America's largest charities. To view Charity Navigator's evaluation of PF, log onto: and search Pheasants Forever.

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 115,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.

For additional information about Pheasants Forever, please visit