The freedom that public lands provide is one of the best ways PF can thank veterans
By Tom Carpenter, Editor at Pheasants Forever
My father was a World War II veteran, a pheasant hunter, and a man of select but insightful words.
The field provided a respite from everyday life, and I suspect, at some level, a chance to talk to a son about things that mattered in a day and when talking to a son about things that mattered wasn’t much in vogue.
As we sat on an old hay rake in an abandoned southern Wisconsin farmstead one sunny November day when I was maybe 14, our Bassett hounds lolling in the sun and a couple rooster tailfeathers sticking out our gamebag vests, I asked him about being in the war.
I of course was looking for tales of heroism and fighting and adventure, but Dad never talked much about that kind of thing, and the warm sunshine and perfection of the day didn’t dislodge whatever he had, and would forever, hold deeply inside.
He looked off to the horizon and said, “We did our jobs, what we were sent there to do. Then we came home.”
We did our jobs, what we were sent there to do, then we came home.
While Pheasants Forever’s impact on the world pales in comparison to what every veteran did and what very active duty serviceman and woman does every day for our country, rest assured we are here to do our jobs, and impact the lives of all people concerned about upland habitat conservation.
Public lands are one of the biggest arenas where Pheasants Forever has an impact. Some of these lands, such as the Minnesota Veterans WMA
and the Sherman Wildlife Area (SWA) and the Smoky Gardens Soldier’s Memorial
in Kansas, are named specifically in honor of those who served.
And employees just do the right things. My friend and PF Farm Bill Biologist Emmitt Lenihan of rural Aberdeen, South Dakota, recently sent the following note about a veteran friend:
“My friend Paul Fiack of Chico, California, who recently passed away from cancer, was a Vietnam vet and he has two sons, both of whom are still in the service, both having done multiple tours in the Mideast as well as other countries in Africa and Europe. They are the most polite and sincere individuals you would ever want to meet.
Paul had asked me long ago what part of South Dakota I thought they should hunt and of course I told him the Aberdeen and Day County area. He asked about a good motel, I told him just plan on staying with us as we had plenty of room. Well for the next 12 years they stayed with us when they would come pheasant hunting.
Paul, Will, and Dan always worked real hard at pheasant hunting including walking most of the day, hunting in rainstorms and hunting terrain most hunters would not attempt. Paul always liked the work of Pheasants Forever, and Will and Dan recognize all the work Pheasants Forever has done in South Dakota and other states.”
Thank you, veterans and future veterans alike, for all you do. Pheasants Forever promises to keep doing its part to make places for wildlife to live and for people to recreate in general and hunt specifically … some of our country’s greatest freedoms.