Habitat & Conservation  |  11/18/2016

Apple Autos Ford: Bird Dog Approved

Writing this blog from the back of our official Rooster Road Trip truck – a Ford F-150 XLT provided by Apple Ford Lincoln of Apple Valley, MN – there is 4 inches of snow on the hood early Friday morning as we traverse ice-covered roads to our final hunting destination in southwest Nebraska. What a finale for our trip: a winter storm warning with several inches of wet snow and winds topping 45 MPH.

The second leg of Rooster Road Trip, “The Rise of Quail,” was definitely an adventure of weather extremes – temperatures topping out at 80 degrees in Oklahoma and Kansas, followed by a good ol’ fashioned blizzard in Cornhusker country. And through it all, Rooster Road Trip crew members and our most precious cargo – a foursome of beloved bird dogs – relied heavily on our vehicle this past week to move us safely over 2,000 miles of pheasant and quail country, no matter the conditions.

That being said, here are my top five reasons why avid bird hunters should consider purchasing a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT as your next Rooster Road Trip vehicle:

Buy Ford, Support Upland Conservation Efforts
The number one reason to purchase a 2016 Ford F-150 XLT (or any Ford edition for that matter) for your next Rooster Road Trip is this: you can support public lands habitat & access projects with your purchase. The next time you’re in the market for a new Ford vehicle, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever recommends Apple Autos Group – a collection of dealerships in central Minnesota – because of their commitment to conservation. They’re hunters themselves and they know the connection between healthy habitat and abundant wildlife populations – and they’ve proved this by being one of the most influential donors to Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area program.

Through a unique funding mechanism, the Build a Wildlife Area program pledges to see every dollar donated is, at a minimum, tripled through matching grants that Pheasants Forever has in place with state natural resource agencies, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and partners like Apple Auto. In other words, a $25 donation is worth $75 or more and a $10,000 donation is worth $30,000 or more for conserving critical upland habitat and creating publicly accessible wildlife areas. When you decide on a Ford vehicle for your next purchase, do yourself a favor and give Apple Auto Group dealers a call – your purchase will contribute to more wild birds, wild places, and happy bird dogs.

If you’d like to learn more about the community support of Apple Autos Group, check out their website at www.appleautoscommunity.com

A Truck for All Seasons
From the sandy dunes and hot temperatures of Oklahoma to the winter weather and icy roads of Nebraska, our Rooster Road Trip Ford F-150 XLT truck performed flawlessly in a variety of adverse weather conditions. Most of the areas we visited contained two-track roads and incredible snow drifts which the vehicle navigated with ease, allowing us to reach prime hunting areas in all three states. The four-wheel drivetrain selector makes it easy to switch between 2-wheel/4-wheel drive when the going gets tough – I utilized this function quite often on our trip, especially in snowy Nebraska.

Unlimited Storage Options
If you’re an avid upland hunter like me, you probably have a firm grasp on the concept of “over packing” for your fall trips - bird dogs, firearms, food, gear, water, coolers and the like, take up a good deal of space. Our group could easily fit all dog kennels in the truck bed/topper with plenty of extra room for hunting gear and harvested birds. Additionally, a large center console easily stored all of our hunting atlases, a pair of binoculars, licenses, and chargers for our dog collars – all essential gear to be successful for pheasants and quail on public lands.

Climate Control for your Bird Dog(s)
The back seats of the 2016 Ford F-150 XLT folds completely up to expose one of the largest floor spaces I have ever seen in a full-sized truck. Why is this important for your dog? When the weather gets cold, placing an extra-large kennel in the back seat to protect your dog(s) from the elements is easily accomplished. On the flip side, the truck bed and topper allows for dogs to stay cool in the back of the truck when excessive heat is an issue, as was the case with my Labrador retriever, “Koda,” on our upland adventure in Oklahoma.

Cross Country Silence
The second leg of Rooster Road Trip launched last Friday from Pheasants Forever headquarters in Minnesota and ended that same day in northwest Oklahoma. Now, we’re enduring a nine hour drive home from southwest Nebraska on the last day of our trip. With more than 30 hours of driving time this past week and similar trips each year for dedicated bird hunters, a comfortable and quiet ride is a must. The official truck of Rooster Road Trip – a Ford F-150 XLT – is a pleasure to drive because of its quiet cab and class-leading ride quality. Sounds from the interstate and dirt roads are muffled thanks to an ingenious design – perfect conditions for sleeping bird dogs who’ve worked tirelessly over the course of seven days afield.

Rooster Road Trip 2016 is almost in the books and the only thing that separates the hunters and bird dogs from their families is nine hours of snow storms in the upper Midwest. Thankfully, we’ve already dealt with whiteout conditions and ice-covered roads on our morning expedition to the pheasant fields of Nebraska, and we’re confident the Rooster Road Trip Ford will get us home to loved ones later this evening.

~Jared Wiklund, Pheasants Forever’s Public Relations Manager

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Jared Wiklund is Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Public Relations Manager. Follow Jared on Twitter @Wiklund247 or email him at jwiklund@pheasantsforever.org