Dog lovers, in general, have a special connection and affection for not only their own dogs but their particular breeds as well.
It’s even more so for bird hunters. Whether it’s a flusher, a retriever or a pointer, everyone has their favorite breeds – ones that they have hunted with and developed for generations.
As a result, the third annual Bird Dogs for Habitat campaign for Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever is something taken quite seriously by many of the nation’s bird hunters.
“Almost all of us have an affinity for a particular breed, much like our children in the pride we take in them and the work we do with them,” Bob St. Pierre, the vice president of marketing for Pheasants Forever and Quails Forever, said laughing.
The Bird Dogs for Habitat campaign allows hunters to vote for their favorite breeds and also support efforts by Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever to protect bird habitat. Each dollar donated equals one vote for a bird dog breed. For instance, if you want to vote for Boykin Spaniel and donate $100, that’s 100 votes for the Boykin Spaniel.
“This is our third year, and each year we’ve raised $48,000,” St. Pierre said. “We’ve have some help from corporate sponsors, but the vast majority of the funds raised came from our followers on Facebook and Twitter and supporters making their tax-deductible donations.”
This year, U.S. Bank and its Pheasants Forever Visa Card program started the campaign with a $5,000 contribution, which was donated evenly to each of the 45 breeds. Last year’s winning breed was the Vizsla, which gathered $6,466 worth of votes.
“I grew up with Brittanys. My wife grew up with Labs,” St. Pierre said. “We’ve compromised and now go with the German Shorthaired (Pointers). So my money in the contest will be going with the German Shorthairs.”
In addition to becoming great companions and de facto family members, bird dogs are incredibly useful in the field.
“When it comes to bird hunting, particularly pheasant hunting, it is virtually impossible to be as effective without a dog as you can be with one,” St. Pierre said. “Without the help of a good dog, pheasant will just run circles around you.”
Contributions can be made and votes cast at PheasantsForever.org and QuailForever.org.
Also, special gifts are also available for those making an extra commitment. For a $25 donation, there is a Browning dog training bumper; a PF Upland trainer lanyard for a $50 donation; a Mud River dog handler’s bag for a $100 contribution; an Irish Setter Shakopee game vest for a donation of $250; and a Pheasants Forever dog life membership for a donation of $500.
Contributions go to a variety of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever projects, including the purchase of bird habitat land as well as keeping hands on many federal conservation programs and legislative policies.
“We’re very proud of the fact that 92 cents of every dollar donated to us will hit the ground for habitat assistance,” St. Pierre said. “We are the single-most effective nonprofit wildlife habitat group.”
Since its inception in 1982, Pheasants Forever's wildlife habitat projects have benefited more than 5.3 million acres across the continent. In that time, it has participated in more than 1,000 different land acquisitions totaling over 135,000 acres.