Quail might take second billing at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, but sometimes an opening act outshines the headliner
By Ryan Sparks, Editor at Quail Forever
Quail hunters should mark their calendars for the 2024 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic happening March 1-3 at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There’s a plethora of quail-centric events and exhibitors at this year’s annual event. The Quail Classic promises to be a weekend filled with bird dogs, seminars from the nation’s top quail experts, fun family activities, camaraderie, and, of course, a celebration of our beloved quail hunting traditions. Here is just some of what you can expect.
Public Lands Pavilion Stage
The Public Lands Pavilion Stage is the place to be for public land quail hunters interested in quail of all flavors. Of particular interest to quail hunters will be the Quail Coast-to-Coast seminar on the Public Lands Pavilion Stage that celebrates quail across the country and features a knowledgeable group of panelists.
“We are excited to present a world-class panel of experts for our Quail Coast-to-Coast sessions,” says Andy Edwards, Quail Forever’s Program Manager who will be moderating the panel. “Our panel will discuss a variety of quail topics and field questions concerning all six of our nation’s quail species.”
Panelists for the Quail Coast-to-Coast seminar include: National Bobwhite Technical Committee Chair Michael Hook, Tyler Webster of the “Birds, Booze, and Buds Podcast,” Levi Day, Quail Forever’s Conservation Leadership Program Manager, Casey Cardinal, Western Quail Working Group Chair, and the editor of Quail Forever Journal, Ryan Sparks.
Come learn more about your favorite quail species or ask the experts about a bird you’ve always wanted to chase but weren’t quite sure where to start.
There will be a 1-hour session held each day on the Public Lands Pavilion Stage. See the show program for more details.
Habitat Help Desk
The Habitat Help Desk is an invaluable resource for hunters and conservationists alike. Staffed by knowledgeable experts and conservation professionals, the Habitat Help Desk serves as a hub for information on quail habitat, land conservation, and wildlife management.
Whether you're seeking guidance on creating thriving quail habitat, implementing effective conservation practices, or what local, state, and federal conservation programs may be available for your property, the Habitat Help Desk is the go-to place for answers. This interactive space provides attendees with personalized advice, educational materials, and resources to improve the places they hunt.
Bird Dog Stage
The Bird Dog Stage is a must whether you have a pup about to go into their first season or a veteran quail dog. The Bird Dog Stage offers insight into the world of canine hunting partners, featuring demonstrations and expert-led discussions on dog training techniques, canine nutrition, and all-around obedience training.
Attendees can gain valuable insights from world-class trainers like Rick and Ronnie Smith who are synonymous with steady pointing dogs. Whether you're a seasoned handler or an upland newbie looking to understand the intricacies of bird dog training, the Bird Dog Stage is a destination where the bond between hunters and their canine companions takes center stage.
The Habitat Stage is a focal point for those passionate about enhancing wildlife habitat. This dedicated stage features a lineup of engaging presentations and discussions led by renowned habitat experts and conservationists. Attendees can delve into topics such as habitat restoration, precision agriculture, pollinator habitat, prescribed fire, and the critical role these factors play in sustaining healthy populations of quail.
The Habitat Stage provides a platform for learning, inspiration, and a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between habitat and quail populations. It is a must-visit destination for those looking to elevate their conservation knowledge and make a positive impact on the future of our cherished birds and landscapes.
Additionally, hear the latest research from national quail habitat experts. Dr. James Martin from the University of Georgia, Dr. Dwayne Elmore from Tall Timbers, and Dr. Jessica McGuire, Quail Forever’s Senior Bobwhite Program manager, will speak at the Upland Bird Technical Session on Saturday, March 2, in Rooms 8, 9, and 10 at the Denny Stanford Premier Center.
Quail and pollinators go hand in hand, and the Quail Classic’s Pollinator Pathway provides a unique and educational experience for attendees keen on understanding the vital role of pollinators in maintaining healthy ecosystems that support quail.
The Pollinator Pathway showcases the interconnected relationship between pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, and birds, and the flourishing habitat crucial for upland bird populations. Through interactive exhibits, informative displays, hands on learning activities for participants of all ages, and technical assistance, quail hunters will gain insights into the significance of pollinators in supporting biodiversity and sustaining the landscapes that quail call home.
The pollinator pathway exemplifies Quail Forever's commitment to holistic habitat conservation, encouraging attendees to appreciate the intricate web of life that benefits game birds and pollinators alike. Make a point to check it out if you want to learn how to provide quality habitat for a host of grassland and wildflower-dependent species.
Quail hunters attending the Quail Classic are in for a treat as the event hosts a diverse array of exhibitors catering specifically to their passion. From quick-pointing shotguns to bomb-proof hunting vests and the latest e-collars to keep you connected with your dog, the exhibitor lineup promises to be a one-stop destination for quail hunters interested in the latest and greatest upland hunting gear.
Check out the newest sub-gauge quail guns from Benelli, Browning, Upland Gun Company, Weatherby and Mossberg.
If you are in the market for a new hunting vest you can try them out in person. All the top brands will be present including Browning, SCHEELS, ALPS OutdoorZ, Hunt Redi, Final Rise, Chief Upland, PYKE Gear, and Orvis.
If you are considering a new dog, you will have the opportunity to speak with breed clubs, individual breeders, and hunt test organizations. If you make the commitment to a new hunting companion, the show is a great place to outfit them with everything they need to be success in the field from leading brands like Ruff Land Kennels, Cable Gangz, Purina Pro Plan, and SportDOG Brand.
Walking the show floor allows you to engage with representatives from renowned brands showcasing top-notch firearms, purpose-built clothing, dog training equipment, and conservation tools tailored for improving quail habitat.
The Quail Classic is an unparalleled opportunity for quail hunters to explore and invest in tools that enhance their hunting experience.
If it relates to quail hunting, you will find it here.
The 2024 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic will take place at the Denny Sanford Premier Center in Sioux Falls on March 1-3. Tickets and more information can be found at: PheasantFest.org.