Trade show showcase for wildlife conservation

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is the nation’s largest trade show and convention for upland hunters, sport dog trainers and wildlife habitat conservationists.

It features seminars, vendors and gear designed with upland hunters in mind. It’s hosted by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, which collectively have more than 140,000 members. I attended last weekend in Kansas City, Missouri.

There was something for everyone who appreciates uplands birds and their habitat. Attendees took in seminars, products, outfitters, gear, firearms and more.

Some specific highlights for dog lovers were the “The Bird Dog Parade,” which featured 40 different sporting dog breeds during the show’s opening ceremony. Some of the best dog trainers and handlers in the game, including Bob West, Tom Dokken, Rick Smith, and Ronnie Smith, were there.

The Saturday night banquet featured country music artist Drake White, who sang hits like, “The Simple Life” and “It Feels Good.” But it was noted conservationist Shane Mahoney who stole the show. His captivating keynote address about the importance of conservation was full of American pride, from a guy who is from Canada. It was so refreshing to hear a foreigner boast about our country and all the hard work we do to lead the world in conservation issues.

“I am honored to be part of 2016 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic and to join the nation’s leading upland habitat conservation organization in their fight for habitat and wildlife conservation,” Mahoney said. “These are challenging times for wildlife habitat and the hunting traditions that all concerned Americans should fight to protect.

“No social movement is of greater consequence to the future of the United States and Canada than that of conservation. It is our responsibility to protect the habitats of these wild creatures so they can thrive forever.”

There was a youth village that offered fun and educational experiences for aspiring hunters and conservationists. Volunteers taught science, hunting, ethics, and firearm safety. Expert chefs presented live cooking demonstrations on the Wild Game Cooking Stage. Hank Shaw stole the show.

National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic wasn’t only for hunters. The event offered as much to landowners who are interested in improving their habitat and quail numbers.

Brandon Butler’s outdoors column appears regularly in the Daily Reporter. Send comments to