National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is like Disneyland for bird hunters, or perhaps more like Epcot, since it’s more about global information. By “global,” I mean our world, the world of conservation, outdoor education, hunting, and gun dogs. PF’s “Youth village,” habitat forums, wild game cooking, bird dog training and sensory overload of wingshooting vendors – the best in the trade – make for excitement in every corner of the eye. But, as with any exhibition or show, each person will find his or her own particular highlight. That’s the magic in this kingdom.
For me it’s the dogs. That’s where my mind romps when I think of the upcoming Pheasant Fest, starting with the bird dog parade, then the training seminars, and the new products from industry classics and trendsetters such as Garmin, Tri-Tronics, Purina and SportDOG. Then there are the kennels’ booths with handsome champions and irresistible puppies. And the club booths. My personal highlight is my once-a-year guaranteed opportunity to pet a “Chessy” in the American Chesapeake Club booth.
A dedicated pointing dog owner, I still miss our magnificent Chessy, “Cooper” – my defender, a strong waterfowler, and an upland bird dog wannabe who had more insight and humor in his eyes than any dog I’ve ever known. So after attending the seminars I’ve starred on my program and after scrutinizing the vendor booths for must-have new gear, I will steal a few minutes to stop by the Chesapeake booth to sink my fingers into an aromatic, thick and curly Chessy coat.
We might all share a passion for conservation and the hunting life, but each of us down deep has their own reason for living that life: Guns, outfitters, ammo, outdoor clothing, publishers, field gear, dog gear, artists, seeds, leather and game sauces…Family activities, kids’ challenges, workshops on pollinators, burning and food plots…May each and every one of you discovery your extra special, personal highlight at Pheasant Fest.
Nancy Anisfield, an outdoor photographer/writer, sporting dog enthusiast and bird hunter, serves on Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Board of Directors. She resides in Hinesburg, Vermont.