Where does it all go? – The Remarkable Value of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Banquets

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Photo Credit: John Ballance Photography

There’s a slice of true Americana on display at any conservation banquet.

Anywhere you can eat a prime rib dinner and go home with a shotgun and a bucket list worthy trip is ripe with the kind of folksy tradition sportsmen and women adore. Banquets are a staple of a life lived in pursuit of wild places, where nights are spent planning next year’s hunts and hoping your number comes up. They have all the excited energy of a casino floor, minus the desperation and cigarette smoke.

It’s always rejuvenating to spend an evening surrounded by people who share the same passion for the upland world. There’s comfort in the collective mentality — sometimes it’s just nice to be around folks who know what double land marks are and have strong opinions on shot size for late season roosters.

But for all they offer participants, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever banquets also continue to be a driving force behind the organization’s ability to accomplish its mission every year. From winter survival food plots to native grass seedings, land acquisitions and learn to hunt events, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters continue to fund thousands of acres of habitat projects and community outreach annually, none of which would be possible without local banquets.

In 2021, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters hosted 1,297 events that shared the organization’s mission with over 40,000 people nationwide. Were it not for the funding and support garnered by these events, habitat work all across the country would go undone, and many wildlife management areas and private-lands access programs would not be available to hunters.

Local chapters use the money raised at these events to plant nesting cover and food plots, protect wetlands, fund new land acquisitions and promote public awareness and conservation education. In 2021 our chapter network poured nearly $60 million into mission contributions. This impacted 193,324 acres of habitat —including 70,000 acres of food plots and over 31,000 acres of nesting habitat alone. Twenty local chapters spent over $50,000 each on habitat last year.

Combined with our conservation operations team, including Farm Bill Wildlife Biologists, coordinating biologists and habitat specialists throughout the US, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever eclipsed 2.2 million acres of total habitat work in 2021. Need a touch of perspective? That’s more than 3,400 square miles, an area the size of Yellowstone National Park.

On top of habitat work, local banquets also helped fund Pheasants Forever’s Path to the Uplands initiative by contributing more than $459,700 toward new hunter engagement. Those dollars are leveraged and matched several times over, and without local contributions this program would not be possible.

Among the many residual benefits of a community like Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is voice. The organization’s network reaches every state capital building in the country and Washington D.C. That all begins with local members putting in the work to host banquets and get directly involved in conservation.

It’s important to keep the true value of these events in mind as the heart of banquet season approaches. The work they help accomplish is tangible, and every dollar raised is another step forward for upland birds, pollinators, public access, clean water and habitat protection.

That should serve as a source of pride for anyone who attends or helps organize their local banquet — and it might also make you feel a little better the next time you throw down on 20 tickets for the Gun of the Year raffle and still manage to not win.

Need help finding your next local event? Take a look at our complete Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever event calendar here.