Pheasant Festivities Warm Dead of Winter

Posted on January 25, 2011

I traveled to Wisconsin Dells on the night of Jan. 22 to attend the Pheasants Forever Wisconsin State Convention/Banquet at the Wilderness Conference Center. I made the trip with Brian Ebben, of Howard. Brian was on his way to the banquet to donate a charter fishing trip to this conservation cause. Brian operates The Predator out of Kewaunee. If you read the printed pages of Wisconsin Outdoor News, you're probably already familiar with Brian and The Predator. He invited a bunch of mutual friends out for a trip in August.

It sure was chilly over the weekend. The truck thermometer read in the single digits when I met Brian in St. Point. The next morning when we left Wisconsin Dells, the temperature was 16 below.

In between, though, we had a good time at the banquet. Another friend and hunting and fishing partner, Kevin Wallenfang, is the Wisconsin Pheasants Forever director and he organized the banquet and worked it with the help of several volunteers and Wisconsin's five PF Farm Bill biologists, who I met for the first time there that night. I won't be able to remember all of their names, but if you own land and want to do some habitat work, get in touch with J.D., Lori, Eric Krueger, Erin and one more biologist whose name I didn't catch. I'm sure they are listed on the PF web site, or you can get in touch with Kevin Wallenfang at kwallenfang@pheasantsforever.org. Brian and I also had a chance to visit with DNR wildlife technician Brian Buenzow (southwestern Wisconsin) and new DNR upland game ecologist Scott Walter. I can tell you that both of these guys are avid hunters. I know Buenzow works hard on behalf of Wisconsin's natural resources and it looks as though Walter will be right on his heals. It's good to know we have people like that working on the ground on our behalf.

I had a chance to visit with Howard Vincent once again. Howard is a Duluth, Minn., native. He has been with Pheasants Forever for more than 20 years and is now the PF CEO. I met Howard in South Dakota two or three years ago during a pheasant hunt and saw him again at the 2010 Pheasant Fest in Des Moines. I can tell you that that's a good crew over there at Pheasants Forever - what the state DNRs and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can't do, PF will step in and pick up the slack.

A lot of people won a lot of prizes that night and, I'm happy to say, Brian won a Benelli Nova pump 12 gauge that he'll use for turkey hunting, among other things. Now he won't have to borrow his son's Nova.

Once Brian's charter trip was auctioned off we went over to meet the guys who bought the trip. Brian explained that they had the option of bringing six fishermen, or, if they had four or fewer, that he had offered up the services of Wallenfang and Yours Truly to serve as first mates and bait boys on the charter. I can't recall their names, but they seemed like jovial fellows and I'm sure we'll have a good time if they decide they'd like Kevin and me to join them.

WON contributor Tim Eisele, of Madison, was also at the banquet. Tim had given a seminar earlier in the day on habitat management, the benefits of having a forest management plan in place for your property, and prairie restoration. Much of his knowledge has been gained first-hand by working his 100 acres in Crawford County. Tim is working on stories from the seminars that day, and he will also be writing up a story on the state's PF Farm Bill biologists and the work they do.

No, I didn't win anything that night, but I came close on two guns. My number that night was 202. No. 203 won a number of prizes, including two guns from one board on back-to-back drawings.