New Women’s Pheasants Forever Chapter Forming In North Dakota


April 4 Kickoff Event to Bring a Female Focus to Conservation 

By Tom Carpenter

Nationwide, 738 Pheasants Forever chapters work hard to keep The Habitat Mission going strong in their area.

In North Dakota, a new women-only chapter promises a new perspective on conservation, with a focus on female hunter recruitment, outreach and conservation advocacy. The kickoff event, “Women, Wine & Wild Game” is slated for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 4 at Co-Studio in Bismarck.

“In North Dakota’s campaign pillars, we have a major goal of developing a women-only chapter,” explains Cayla Bendel, who is Women in Conservation Coordinator for Pheasants Forever, and based in North Dakota. “We wanted to make that happen. The Women, Wine & Wild Game event will launch us toward the milestone.”

“A lot of work has been happening up to this point, and momentum is there,” says Bendel. “We are going to hold some women-only wingshooting events this summer. In June we will have an introductory shooting session, followed by a late summer sporting clays shoot, and then a fall hunt.”

“We’ve sent mailers out for this kickoff event, and there is a lot of word-of-mouth going on,” she adds. “People have really embraced the concept and are excited.”

“There are multiple goals to having a women’s chapter,” says Bendel. “We think it will help recruit more females into hunting’s ranks. We always need more voices for habitat and conservation. And it’s important for women to know they have a place – their own place.”

“Women are right there working hard in the backbone of many Pheasants Forever chapters,” Bendel points out, “but they often don’t take leadership roles. This is a chance for women to get more involved with the mission itself.”

“We think this new chapter will be very complementary to the extremely effective Dakota Chapter that’s here in Bismarck,” explains Bendel. “That chapter does a lot of habitat work. Our women’s chapter is going to focus on hunter recruitment – of women and youth in particular – as well as advocacy.”

“Those are important parts of the Pheasants Forever mission too, alongside habitat,” emphasizes Bendel.

In addition to Bendel, the leadership team for the chapter start includes these Pheasants Forever powerhouses in North Dakota: Renee McKeehen, North Dakota Regional Representative; Rachel Bush, North Dakota State Coordinator; and Melissa Shockman, North Dakota Precision Ag and Conservation Specialist.


What: Women, Wine & Wild Game
When: 6:30 p.m. Wednesday April 4 2018
Where: Co-Studio, 200 West Main Avenue (3rd Floor), Bismarck
Questions: Cayla Bendel ( or Renee McKeehen (

From left, Pheasants Forever's Cayla Bendel, Renee McKeehen, Rachel Bush and Melissa Shockman are leading the charge for a new women's chapter in North Dakota