Habitat & Conservation  |  10/31/2018

What is a Pheasant Fest Anyway?


A first-timer's guide to what National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is all about

By Tom Carpenter, Editor - Pheasants Forever

When the 15th annual National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic comes to Schaumburg, Illinois, February 22 – 24 2019, it will be the first time the event has been held in the Land of Lincoln.

“We’re super-excited to be taking the world’s largest upland conservation and hunting show to Illinois,” says Bob St. Pierre, vice president of marketing for Pheasants Forever. “Illinois ranks third in the nation in Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever memberships. We have a lot of supporters there. Members and non-members alike are going to love what they find at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic.”

That list of attractions is long indeed. But before diving into a few details, it’s worth trying to describe National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic for the first-time attendee. Here goes.


I like to say that Pheasant Fest is about community and booths.

The community part is this. 

Pheasant Fest is one of the happiest places on Earth for the upland conservationist, wildlife lover and hunter. Everyone is smiling and in a great mood, how can you not be? 

There are bird dogs everywhere, and the convention is kicked off Friday morning with a bird dog parade. Throughout the weekend, if you take a stroll down bird dog alley on the showroom floor, puppies are found everywhere.

 There are stages with seminars in every corner showcasing dog training, best practices on creating habitat and cooking wild game. There are banquets each night that showcase members’ commitment to upland habitat conservation and create the easy-fun atmosphere that comes with making connections in a conservation oriented community. 

One area of special interest is the Youth Village, which can keep kids entertained for hours while they learn about habitat, wildlife, hunting ethics, firearms safety and much more. Many hands-on activities are included such as crafting your own decoy or practicing your aim with a wooden gun. The village is run by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s National Youth Leadership Council members, who are excited to engage future conservationists. If you’re lucky you may even get to snap a photo with Rudy the Rooster!


The booth part is this.

There are vendors and organizations everywhere showing off their wares and relaying their mission. You can lose yourself for hours wandering the labyrinth of booths, browsing, talking, visiting and making new friends. There are no hard-sells, only people like you that love the uplands and love to tell (and hear) a good story. To put it simply, it’s a delightful way to spend a winter day… or better yet a couple of them.

Part of the proof that Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic isn’t just about hunting is the Pollinator Plaza
area of the show floor. It’s where anyone can learn more about the critical aspect of habitat management and conservation, and it’s a hot topic in general these days. This is where you can learn how to make butterfly and bee habitat on your own land, whether you have a city lot, a suburban spread, a small plot of hunting land or a thousand acres.

Or if you’re on board and ready to take the next step, step on up to the Habitat Help Desk where you can consult with a biologist for free to get a basic habitat plan created for your property!


That’s just a flavor of what National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is all about – a celebration of upland habitat conservation, wildlife of all kinds (including gamebirds), bird hunting, bird dogs, wild game cooking, pollinators and so much more. 

You have to see it to believe it, so mark your calendar for at least one day – and preferably more, so you can see and enjoy it all – for February 22-24 in Schaumburg.

We’ll see if Illinois and its proud PF an QF members can surpass Sioux Falls’ incredible attendance of 28,868, the third largest attendance ever, in 2018. Consider the challenge issued!
Purchase your tickets online today and check for Show Specials too!