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Pheasant Fest heads to Des Moines

January 30, 2010
by Steve Weisman - Outdoor Editor

Pheasants Forever's National Pheasant Fest and Convention is coming back to Iowa! The country's largest even for upland hunters, sport dog owners and wildlife habitat conservationists is coming to the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines on Feb. 26-28.

It's been three years since Pheasant Fest was last in Des Moines, but attendance records were shattered then with nearly 25,000 attendees, and Pheasants' Forever organizers anticipate over 30,000 people attending, as they hope to set a new high water mark for the show. The 2009 Pheasant Fest was held in Madison, WI with over 20,000 people in attendance.

"We were on our way to 30,000 in 2007 when a Saturday night snow storm really hindered travel to the show on Sunday," recalls Bob St. Pierre, PF's Director of Marketing and Public Relations. "This year, there is a fever pitch of interest around pheasants in Iowa and consequently Pheasant Fest's return to Des Moines. Across the state, folks want to get habitat back on the landscape and bring the bird numbers back to what they should be in Iowa, a core pheasant state."

Article Photos

Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest returns to Iowa when it comes to Des Moines Feb. 26-28.
Photo submitted

Yes, Pheasant Fest is a show focused on pheasant hunting. However, Pheasants Forever has gone well beyond the typical sports show formula. Sure, attendees will be able to check out the latest gear, gadgets and destinations for all things hunting, but Pheasant Fest is an event for the entire family with something for everyone. There will be world class displays, hundreds of exhibitors, seminar speakers, taxidermy displays, pheasants and wild game hunting displays.

"Year in and year out, the number one attraction to Pheasant Fest is the dogs," explains St. Pierre. "We'll have dog training seminars every hour on the hour for all three days. In fact, there will be over 40 breeds of dogs on the Pheasant Fest show floor. From Labs to Shorthairs to Spinone Italianos to Blue Picardy Spaniels; all breeds of pointers, retrievers and flushers will be represented at Pheasant Fest."

In fact, Friday's opening festivities at 1 p.m. will kick off with the Pheasants Forever Bird Dog Parade. The parade first became a signature event for the Fest in 2007 at the first Des Moines event.

National Pheasant Fest will also feature seminars every hour on the hour with topics ranging from predatory hunting to habitat, wild game cooking to white tails and the Farm Bill. In fact, there are three stages and nine seminar rooms running the entire three days of the show. Cabela's will sponsor the Hunter Help Stage. Native Performance Dog Food and SportDOG electronic training systems will sponsor the Bird Dog Bonaza stage and Habitat Forever will sponsor the Habitat Stage.

Landowners will have a special opportunity to visit the "Landowner Habitat Help Desk." Biologists and management experts will answer landowner questions and offer suggestions on how to manage land for wildlife. Biologists will be able to find a satellite image of an owner's property and be able to talk to the owner one-on-one about conservation options for improving the land. All landowners have to do is bring the legal description of the property (township, range and section) and the biologist will be able to find any land in the country completely free with the price of admission to Pheasant Fest. This should really be a hot topic this year with the incredibly tough winter we have had so far.

Pheasants Forever also has a Youth Village designed to engage youngsters in the outdoors as a signature attraction to Pheasant Fest. "Last year, we added a mock pheasant hunting experience to the youth village and it was a huge attraction," adds St. Pierre.

Hours for the event are 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 26; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28.

To find a complete list of seminars, exhibitors and attractions log on to Tickets are $10 for adults, $6 for ages 6-16 and free for youngsters under age five.

Pheasants Forever also offers a three-day pass, a year's membership to Pheasants Forever and a Pheasants Forever hat for $30.



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