National fest showcases quail and pheasants

News from the region
Kansas City
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KANSAS CITY Mo -- Technology will bring the country into the city for land managers who want to give two of America’s most popular game birds a boost. Wildlife habitat improvement tips will be center stage along with hunting dogs, gear and guns at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic Feb. 17, 18 and 19 at Bartle Hall in Kansas City.

Private land services specialists from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) will join other public and private conservation experts in presenting habitat seminars and staffing the Private Landowners Help Room at the classic. The event is sponsored by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, non-profit groups that share headquarters in St. Paul, Minn., and the mission of boosting grassland game birds in America. The event also offers booths, exhibits, wild game cooking demonstrations, a bird dog parade, youth activities and other displays.

Computers will be used in the Private Landowners Help Room to help point out habitat practices that can help quail and pheasants. The birds need variety in grasses, shrubs and trees where they feed, rear broods and roost. Aerial maps can be downloaded if an address is provided. MDC staff or other specialists can then draw up a basic plan for improvements on a farm that can help quail and pheasants, such as thinning trees or converting fescue pasture to native warm-season grasses. Other participants at the help room will include experts from Quail Forever, Pheasants Forever, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

MDC often cooperates with Quail Forever and Pheasants Forever on Challenge Grant projects in western Missouri, said Edward Brown, an MDC Private Land Services regional supervisor. For example, if a landowner wants to convert a few acres in a field corner from fescue to wildlife-friendly native prairie plants, MDC will match a Quail Forever grant for the improvements. Landowners get double the help with projects costing from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, and wildlife gets shelter and food critical for sustaining healthy populations.

“Often these are small-scale, two- to five-acre projects,” Brown said. “We do quite a few of them. That’s going to provide a lot of good nesting and feeding habitat.”

MDC staff will also assist at the Fest with hands-on shooting and fishing demonstrations. The event will also include youth activities and banquets.

Both Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever have local chapters in Missouri and Kansas that assist with conservation. The Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic will bring them together and the public is also invited. Exhibitors will include guides, outfitters, wildlife artists, outdoor gear retailers and other conservation organizations. More than 22,000 people are expected to attend.

For information about admission prices, hours and location: