Nation’s largest upland event moves to Sioux Falls, SD in 2024
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s 2023 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, presented by Federal Ammunition, concluded today at the Minneapolis Convention Center following a record-breaking event for attendance and membership. A crowd of 33,154 supporters flocked to the organization’s 40th anniversary celebration, which started on Friday and was hosted in Minnesota for the first time since 2020.
“We couldn’t have asked for a more electric atmosphere to celebrate the organization’s anniversary and the conclusion for Call of the Uplands, the first comprehensive national campaign in the history of The Habitat Organization,” said Marilyn Vetter, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s newly minted president and CEO. “The support we’ve received from volunteers, sponsors, and vendors as part of Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is moving the needle for conservation, hunting heritage, public lands access and so much more. Thank you to all our dedicated supporters for making this weekend one for the record books.”
This year’s show floor was 40 percent larger than the last time the event was held in Minneapolis, making this the largest footprint in the history of Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic. Hundreds of the nation’s top outdoor retailers, outfitters, habitat equipment companies, dog breeders and dog trainers were in attendance —and the seminar stages were full of discussions covering everything from dog training and pheasant habitat to public lands hunting and opportunities that lie ahead for the 2023 Farm Bill.
The weekend was highlighted by a sold-out Saturday night banquet featuring a celebratory film to cap the end of The Habitat Organization’s six-year Call of the Uplands® national campaign. All told, the comprehensive effort was the catalyst for more than 11 million acres protected, enhanced, or restored throughout pheasant and quail country in North America since 2017. More information about campaign accomplishments will be released in the coming week. Additionally, a Life Member Breakfast of more than 600 attendees gave raucous applause as Minnesota Governor Tim Walz – a Pheasants Forever Life Member – announced a proclamation for “Pheasants Forever Day in Minnesota” on Saturday, February 18, 2023.
The show also garnered 5,490 Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Associate/Affiliate memberships and over 150 Elite memberships to the nation’s leading upland habitat conservation group – a mark which crushed any previous event total.
National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic also delivered tangible wildlife habitat benefits for pheasants, quail, and other wildlife. The Landowner Habitat Help Room serviced 155 landowners to provide conservation guidance on 20,103 acres across 17 states. Accompanied by a trained Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever biologist, landowners were educated on how to improve their acres for wildlife and even what local, state and federal conservation programs they qualified for.
Next year, National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic returns to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, where chapters, members, exhibitors, speakers, and attendees will celebrate the accomplishments and mission of The Habitat Organization on March 1-3, 2024, at the Denny Sanford Premier Center. Sioux Falls last hosted the event in 2018 when it generated a $3.9 million economic impact for the region.
National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic combines a national consumer show, wildlife habitat seminar series and family event complete with puppies, tractors, shotguns and wildlife art. It remains the country’s largest event for upland hunters, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists.
About Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever make up the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to upland habitat conservation. This community of more than 400,000 members, supporters and partners is dedicated to the protection of our uplands through habitat improvement, public access, education and advocacy. A network of 754 local chapters spread across North America determine how 100 percent of their locally raised funds are spent — the only national conservation organization that operates through this grassroots structure. Since its creation in 1982, the organization has dedicated more than $1 billion to 575,000+ habitat projects benefiting 24 million acres.