Restoring Habitat and Providing Access for Pheasants in Ontario, Oregon

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Left to right, Malheur County PF members Scott Skinner, Lowell Shelton and Jack Fields with PF Habitat Coordinator Dave Stiefvater at the Ontario property.

Stiefvater and the Malheur chapter had negotiated an agreement with the City of Ontario

By Al Eiden, Director of Field Operations – West Region

I have had the privilege of working for Pheasant Forever for nearly four years now, and in that time I have been continually amazed at the passion and creativity of our chapters and the volunteers that lead those chapters. The latest example of a chapter working hard to deliver our mission of gaining access and improving habitat is the Malheur County chapter of Pheasants Forever located in Ontario, Oregon.

Recently, PF Habitat Coordinator Dave Stiefvater and Regional Representative Chad Harvey reached out to me about a special accomplishment. Stiefvater and the Malheur chapter had negotiated an agreement with the City of Ontario that secured access for pheasant hunters to a city-owned property that is over 2,000 acres of farm and rangeland, and holds a healthy population of wild pheasants. The property functions as a water treatment facility for the city, it contains three ponds, and the Malheur River flows through.

Dave and the chapter leaders recognized the potential in this property. In addition to securing access for bird hunters, the agreement also allowed for the chapter to work with the lessee of the property to improve the habitat for pheasants and the other wildlife like waterfowl. The agreement began in 2016 and was recently extended to 2024, which is outstanding work.

The chapter has completed three seeding projects already, improving over 200 acres of the property for pheasants. The chapter also holds an annual mentored youth pheasant hunt there, introducing around 20 new hunters to the outdoors every year.

Currently, Stiefvater and the other chapter volunteers are working with one of our biologists to develop a conservation plan for the Ontario property that will outline how to improve the habitat to increase and sustain the pheasant population.


Al Eiden is the Director of Field Operations in the West Region

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Summer Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a member today!