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Thread: Pheasants Forever- SCAM or do they help upland hunters?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South Central, KS
    Posts
    567

    Default Pheasants Forever- SCAM or do they help upland hunters?

    The title may be a little scandalous - guess it depends on the eye of the beholder. I've been a member - was a member and volunteered for about 2-3 years for a local Quail Unlimited then Quail Forever chapter. Lived in KS all my life save for a couple years side tracked in SW Florida, deep dove into bird hunting once I was 20 or so and see no signs of letting up...where I want to live geographically is ruled by how close to upland hunting I can be.


    What prompted this is in another topic on the KS forum someone was discussing in a reply that Pheasants 4ever buys land, develops the habitat and then gives it away so the public can enjoy. ( I actually think this should be their mission, but it is NOT in the least, no different than the Sham Nature Conservancy that has a couple large pieces of land locked up in western KS and SEVERELY limits the access and DOES not allow any hunting) I call BS -- I've never seen anything they've done in KS that benefits the public. Only thing I've seen or witnessed in their sister chapter (QF) was people donating money with no justification where it went and it being spent on habitat projects at an individuals hunting operation (I wont give away anymore than that but he's been on TV many times on shows and is in KS -- this may have been QU money - I dont remember but either way the same) to some of their friends private land who were members, or PF signs up on private land but the private land was plastered with no trespassing or leased signs all over it.


    I like the idea of QF and PF - but do not think they execute in the least -- one of my other friends works for some very very wealthy folks that have bought a lot of large tracts of land and some very large ranches (I'm sure they have been recipients of PF grant money and in exchange it appeared the PF higher ups would request to hunt the property for free at least by his telling as he'd have to deal with them and act as a proxy guide or deal with their requests.

    Anyways I'd love for them to change. I do believe they have in my mind completed some "Token" habitat projects on public lands where I've seen their signs in KS - but they are on overused public piece of crap properties where it made no difference. KS is less than 2% public lands if I recall.

    I'm aware of a ranch that I heard through the grapevine someone is purchasing for a pittance - as it's almost worthless for ag at this point due to things that have been done to it and some financial maneuvers the present owner made -- but with small changes could be a pheasant/quail and lesser prairie chicken haven (I hunted the neighbor property and the general area a LOT) -- an org like PF could buy a place like this and enroll the whole thing in WIHA (I think it's tens of thousands of acres) but I dont think this org has it in them. I'd be curios how much the PF non profit execs are making and how much money is being sucked into overhead. Probably LOTS of waste!


    Anyways - can anyone sway my mind that they are not really scamming us all? I'd love to know if they really are executing a mission that benefits the hunting public but I've not seen one shred of evidence that is the case. Just "token" projects and a bunch of patchwork jobs to pay back donors or benefit another business etc. Makes no sense. I think they'd get more buy in if they'd change.

    Ducks Unlimited for my money to my knowledge has completed more of the aforementioned projects and does more for pheasants and quail than PF or QF seems to do. At least in my opinion and my observations in KS.
    Last edited by KsHusker; 11-27-2019 at 12:32 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Des Moines
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    136

    Default

    I am not going to try to change your mind. These days people tend to have strong opinions about most everything and rarely change their minds (and when they ask for other opinions are really just looking to argue online). I also have no experience in Kansas. What I will say is I have heard this opinion from others in Kansas and Pheasants Forever does not have nearly as large of a presence in Kansas as other states to the North.

    I live in Iowa. I can tell you from my own experiences and observations they do a lot in Iowa and Minnesota. They have been part of quite a few land acquisitions around me. Land is quite expensive around here so they aren't buying up everything, but the increase in purchases and public land is noticeable. It is so noticeable around here that last legislative season the Farm Bureau tried to outlaw purchasing ground to be turned into public land.

    All of the purchases around here are usually a collaboration of several Pheasants Forever chapters in the area. The local chapters raise money through local fundraising. This is the money used for land acquisition. PF doesn't have nearly the presence in Kansas as it does here. If they aren't raising enough money maybe land acquisitions aren't possible in Kansas? Maybe it is a scam in Kansas? I have no idea. But it is not a scam around here.

    If you don't agree with me that's fine. I am not arguing with anyone over this as this is not a new topic. These are my thoughts and I am quite sure of my opinion. PF is a big organization and I am sure there is a percentage of it that is subpar, as there is with any organization. By and large I think it is a net positive with generally good intentions.

    I am a PF member. Just a basic member and I am not active in any chapters. I am member to support the land acquisitions and for the lobbying presence. I have heard buying hunting licenses has much more impact on these issues. I do that as well, in multiple states, and I buy a duck stamp and pheasant stamp in Minnesota.

    I have heard the Ducks Unlimited opinion as well. That is great. I hope they are contributing too. We need all hands on deck. I will say around here, PF has done a lot more than DU, but I would not consider DU a scam. Just be aware when you label something a scam, or anything negative, you are impuning the work of everyone in the organization, those with ill intentions, but those who have good intentions and invest a lot of time and money.

    Again, I am not arguing about this with you or anyone. I am presenting a counter-opinion based on my observations and experiences. If yours are different that's fine. Have a great day and good luck in the fields.

  3. #3

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    I'm a member of PF, I think their core mission is great but the execution lacks. Maybe they got to big and forgot some things I don't know. I'm a supporter of PF but I wish they were less commercialized.

  4. #4

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    Attachment 9559

    Here is a little evidence of PF and QF partnering with the state of Nebraska, I like their system of color coding there enrolled lands CRP in red tall stubble in light purple .

    I have hunted on state owned land in KS that was a collaboration between DU and PF it leverages habitat dollars it is some very nice habitat .

    PF and Du are a great voice for conservation in the Farm Bill if you hunt any WIHA areas its a a good chance these were help made possible and certainly advocated by the above organizations.

    There is Much work needed to be done in Kansas as far as Upland birds go .

    The PF chapters are set up to so the money they raise they get to spend as they wish , mostly locally .

    I will post a picture of some Habitat I partnered with a land owner and NRCS and a PF Bioligist . No it’s not public Access But it’s what you can do in your area if the landowner is willing .

    Look at what the state of Ks says I believe in its Upland bird section / forecast . They talk about the WHIA CRP contracts getting ready to expire and express their concern .

    I recommend making an effort to be part of the solution.

    DU member PF member Ksbrittman

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Spring Grove, IL
    Posts
    1,754

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    yep, too easy to armchair quarterback without trying to make a difference by getting involved.
    $.02
    and Im out. Not getting into a whizzin match
    Mike

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    SW NoDak
    Posts
    228

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    IMO, you have to separate local chapters and the national organization. I don’t think my local chapter does much of anything to help non pay to hunt folks and I don’t support them. They get their money from the local banquet. I don’t support it. However, your annual membership goes to the national organization which, imo, helps folks like myself. Like others have said...not gonna argue about.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    370

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    I think this is an important topic so I'll take some time to express my opinion.

    The PF/QF model is all about local money for local projects. We all know that. In a state like Kansas that generally means working with a cooperative landowner. "Cooperative landowner" is the critical, and often missing, piece of the puzzle. My family was one of those a couple of times. We worked with a PF Farm Bill Biologist on some of our ground. He spent a lot of time drawing up plans. We executed some of them, but not all. I still have the plans and hope to execute more once enrollment is opened in the right CCRP practices. Another time we took some food plot seed.

    In our experience, help from PF/QF does not require an agreement to open the land to the public. This is probably controversial to some people. I can argue both sides.

    R3 has been an emphasis lately, and chapters are allowed to spend money on those kinds of things as well. Under that banner, the Wichita chapter has provided grants to several of the local trap teams. I'm not plugged in with the chapter enough to know about other expenditures focused on youth involvement.

    I think land acquisition would be a great strategy, but it would require cooperation between chapters. You might only be buying a quarter or two per year. It bring up lots of thorny questions. Where? Money raised in Wichita used to buy land in far NW Kansas? Enroll it in WIHA? Do they still have iWIHA? Tenant selection and management if it's not CRP or when the CRP contracts expire?

    I think money spent on food plot seed is an absolute waste. I didn't think so when we took some, but I do now.

    "Scam"--that language is too strong IMO. "Could spend local resources more effectively"--absolutely.

    BTW, as a 501(c)3, PF/QF national must file a 990 with the IRS. This is the non-profit equivalent of a tax return and is a public document. That will answer some of your questions about how the money is spent--at least on a national basis.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Lawrence, Kansas
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    4,127

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    I think on the whole PF's a great organization that benefits upland birds specifically and conservation generally. But I have raised a question about its habitat development practices. While driving on US 24 in north central Kansas I noticed a PF habitat sign on a piece of private property with a nice shelter belt apparently provided with PF assistance. Not too far away from the PF sign on the same property was a "no hunting" sign. I thought WTF?! This property owner gets PF assistance on habitat development and then gets to keep the entire benefit, to hell with all other dues paying PF members? When I inquired, it was explained that 1) any habitat development benefits upland game in general, and 2) that PF does not condition its habitat assistance on the landowner permitting hunting. This arrangement does not pass the smell test for me. If a landowner gets PF assistance, the sign should say, in addition to the habitat info: "Open to hunting by any current PF member. You must have your membership card in your possession or you may be charged with trespassing."

    My two cents worth.
    Last edited by BritChaser; 11-27-2019 at 11:10 AM.
    - From the office of Colt, Stoeger, Browning & Savage
    - Kansas: Big Cock Country

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    South Central, KS
    Posts
    567

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    Some good points above. "Scam" is a strong word - but it does seem to border on it IMO when they preach habitat restoration and hunting opportunities when what I've seen is similar to some of the other experiences of those above.


    If they changed their focus instead of what they do now (which is very little IMO) to providing public hunting opportunities and habitat restoration that benefits their members instead of a select few then I think they'd get more buy in.

    I'm not sure (I haven't dove deep) how much resources they spend on influencing/lobbying in regards to farm bill/farming practices but the negative changes I've seen in KS the past 10 years not to mention the past 20-30 they've been LOSING and haven't done squat.


    All it takes is working with the Ag industry and if they'd buy garbage land that doesnt produce or get easements on land that doesnt produce and provide hunting opportunities where it makes the most difference I think they'd get a lot of folks to buy in.


    I'm guessing their leadership are all fat and happy like QU used to be -- think they scammed all sorts of money and had to be shut down if I recall.


    I didnt start the topic to argue with folks - I'd like to believe I've evolved past that stage in my life. Having a discussion could be step #1 to having positive changes. They've failed imo based on more recent data.



    I guess I'm biased - but for those of that live in areas that are upland birds last strongholds to me it makes more sense to dump your resources there rather than lost causes such as on the coasts or areas where habitat degradation and development have dug holes so deep you'll never get out. I'd like to think for KS, OK, TX, CO, UT, ID, IA, SD, ND and quail related states it would make sense to invest your money where you'll get the most bang for your buck. Judging by the higher # of out of state plates I've seen here the past few years I dont think the hunters traveling here would disagree. (I'm sure I'm leaving out some other states with decent huntable populations of wild birds - only listing the ones I'm aware of off the top of my head)


    *******I'd think PF even getting involved at the state level government would make a HUGE difference. Right now at least IMO our KDWPT has been and is still ruled by all decisions involving what is best for deer hunting. It's led to handing out tags like toilet paper and putting an emphasis on the wrong animal and has led to the detriment of our upland birds -- The Kansas Bowhunters Association as far as I can tell have the most sway along with large landowners running outfitting businesses on how the KDWPT/Legislature run things involving wildlife - PF if dumping what I'd presume are large resources (maybe they dont have as large of a coffer to pull from) into influencing things upland bird wise and realizing deer hunting is and has been ruining our upland opportunities here since the 90's they could make a more immediate impact. PF is probably the organization large enough to make a difference which is why I bring them up - but they are going to go down the toilet and continue to lose influence much like the NRA has and will continue to do if they do not reassess who they need to court as active members and who their "customers" truly are.


    When I'm bored I'll have to research some of their financial docs.


    (PS -- Also Matto - I dont think ... at least I'm not calling for folks that accept habitat improvements from PF chapters being forced to open up their lands to public hunting - but what my opinion is - is that rather than develop habitat that will likely only be enjoyed by a family or one person or even a hunting business - it makes more sense to throw those resources to developing lands/habitat that will be enjoyed by the masses rather than a select few....I think based on the comments above it would get more buy in -- Or rather than habitat improvements - spend the money on lobbying to expand the CP33 or CRP programs and work with the ag industry to educate them on the advantages of farming for upland birds in mind rather than deer or spraying so many chemicals nary a roundup resistant plant will survive.)

    As for those that say get involved - I was in the past - thinking about it again - but dont want to if it's a waste of my time and simply catering to snobs who have a peter measuring contest and who can drink the most alcohol and throw their money around with no accountability of where the money is going. PF has lost me similar to how the NRA has lost me and I'm sure many others.
    Last edited by KsHusker; 11-27-2019 at 12:26 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    370

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    Quote Originally Posted by BritChaser View Post
    I think on the whole PF's a great organization that benefits upland birds specifically and conservation generally. But I have raised a question about its habitat development practices. While driving on US 24 in north central Kansas I noticed a PF habitat sign on a piece of private property with a nice shelter belt apparently provided with PF assistance. Not too far away from the PF sign on the same property was a "no hunting" sign. I thought WTF?! This property owner gets PF assistance on habitat development and then gets to keep the entire benefit, to hell with all other dues paying PF members? When I inquired, it was explained that 1) any habitat development benefits upland game in general, and 2) that PF does not condition its habitat assistance on the landowner permitting hunting. This arrangement does not pass the smell test for me. If a landowner gets PF assistance, the sign should say, in addition to the habitat info: "Open to hunting by any current PF member. You must have your membership card in your possession or you may be charged with trespassing."

    My two cents worth.
    I understand your fundamental point: if PF provides help or funding, the ground should be open to PF members. I'm not getting into that. It's a third-rail issue that pits hunters against land owners and there are arguments to be made in support of both sides.

    I'm just pointing out that your belief that PF somehow helped or funded habitat work on that particular piece of ground is only an assumption. They sell those signs in the online store. 4-5 years ago I convinced our tenant to let our wheat ground go unsprayed after harvest. He was little reluctant, but he did it. About the first of august he called positively apoplectic about the weeds that grew up. It was chest high with sunflower, kochia, and all the stuff I love to see. He was worried about what the neighbors would think. Worried about kochia and tumbleweeds breaking off and blowing onto the neighboring fields spreading weed seed. Worried about replenishing the seed bank in the soil that he thought was pretty depleted (evidently not). etc. These are all legitimate concerns.

    I bought three of those signs and sent them to him so that his neighbors wouldn't think that he was a lazy or stupid farmer. He actually used those words. That seemed to placate him a little, but he still mowed it in late September. I was looking forward to hunting it in November. Had you driven by that property, you would have incorrectly assumed that PF contributed to the habitat I'm trying to produce. No local chapter contributed in any way to that glorious patch of weeds.

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