Habitat & Conservation  |  11/17/2022

Shotgun Showcase Burns Powder and Boosts State Habitat Initiatives in Ohio

Staff Photo

All Ohio chapters can impact existing bird populations and the critical habitats they rely on

Story by James Harris, Regional Representative

Ohio’s thirty PF & QF chapters cover most of the state, with widely varying landscapes and land use. Some habitat strongholds still support pheasants or quail, but much of the state no longer does. Nevertheless, through state level habitat programs, all Ohio chapters can impact existing bird populations and the critical habitats they rely on.

This focused, strategic and programmatic approach to restoring and protecting upland habitat in Ohio is leading to measurable success on the landscape. By supporting state initiatives, our grassroots chapters multiply their locally raised funds, leveraging 3 to 10 times more state and federal dollars.

Closeup Gun
Photo by Logan Hinners

This approach keeps our team of technical assistance staff (Farm Bill Biologists, Precision Ag & Conservation Specialist, and Grasslands & Grazing Coordinator) helping landowners and working with our partners to create and manage wildlife habitat throughout the pheasant and quail range of Ohio. Chapters also supply the nonfederal match needed to leverage federal Wildlife Restoration Act (commonly known as Pittman-Robertson) dollars that fuel the Ohio Habitat Share Program in partnership with the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The Habitat Share program helps us restore and manage grassland habitat on key public land anchors for wild birds. Finally, the Ohio Build A Wildlife Area® program provides matching funds for permanent land protection projects, such as the recently completed Mallet Family tract — 415 acres of prime habitat open to public recreation and adjacent to Big Island Wildlife Area.

At the foundation of these efforts is the PF & QF grassroots model. Our chapters work incredibly hard to raise funds, collect memberships at their annual banquets and other events throughout the year, and voluntarily contribute to these state habitat initiatives. Moreover, those same chapters run education and outreach events, get their hands dirty doing pollinator plots with landowners and students, run heavy equipment removing invasive brush and conduct prescribed burns, all to deliver the PF & QF mission in their communities.

Shotgun Showcase
Photo by Logan Hinners

We always need to introduce new people to the organization to show them how they can make a difference for wildlife and upland traditions. Enter Ohio’s first annual “Shotgun Showcase” held on June 10 at Blackwing Shooting Center in Delaware, Ohio.

This fun and informative event gave participants an opportunity to sample numerous shotgun brands and models, and provided a platform to showcase PF & QF Ohio habitat initiatives, annual accomplishments and strategic plans for the upcoming year.

The day consisted of an introduction and lunch, 100 rounds of sporting clays, plus appetizers and drinks after the shoot. The trial shotguns were spread out over 12 stations, a “long shot” side game, and a practice station. Every station had a different “showcase” that participants shot before using their own. There were prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, raffle drawings for playing games throughout the course, and plenty of door prizes for just showing up. The fan favorite demo gun was by far the Browning A-5 Sweet 16.

Shotgun Showcase 2
Staff Photo

Thank you to our sponsors, UBS Financial and Mercer County Pheasants Forever, and to Hardin County Pheasants Forever for the logistical help and all the donors, members and chapters who attended. If you or someone you know is interested in sponsoring the event next year, please email jharris@pheasantsforever.org. Join us next year and bring a friend to show them all the great work that our chapters, donors and members make possible by being a part of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever.

By James Harris, a Regional Representative

This story originally appeared in the 2022 Fall 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!