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Director's Corner

Dan Ashe served as FWS Director from June 2011 until January 2017. The following is an archive of blogs authored by Director Ashe during that time. This content is intended for historical reference only and not as a representation of current Service policy or opinion.

Here’s to 30 More Great Years, Pheasants Forever

Last weekend, I had the good fortune to visit Pheasant Fest in Minnesota to help Pheasants Forever, one of our key partners, celebrate its 30th anniversary.

Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius (far right) and I honor Howard Vincent, the president and CEO of Pheasants Forever. Photo Credit: USFWS

Midwest Regional Director Tom Melius (far right) and I honor Howard Vincent, the president and CEO of Pheasants Forever. Photo Credit: USFWS

Together with the hunters and conservationists of Pheasants Forever we have accomplished some amazing things. Our collaborations have resulted in the long-term conservation of thousands of acres of habitat for wildlife in the grasslands across the country.

Many experiences can teach people to appreciate and value nature – hiking, nature-watching, photographing the beauty of the outdoors and many others – but perhaps none offers a better way to learn the importance of stewardship and sustainability than hunting. 

Although she loves the outdoors, my wife of 33 years has never understood why any sane person would purposefully stand waist-deep in cold water in the midst of winter, waiting for ducks to decoy. Or why spending a day working a rural South Dakota field to flush up some pheasants sounds at least as good to me as a day at the beach.

I know the folks at Pheasants Forever do. And I also know that they share my deep appreciation for wildlife and conservation because they’ve been there and done that.

They’ve certainly had time, while waiting for that first flock of ducks or for that first pheasant of the day, to reflect and consider the importance of hunting to conservation.

I know they get it. Our challenge is that much of America doesn’t.

Hunters realized more than 75 years ago that if they didn’t take a responsible stand for wildlife, they’d better find a new pastime. So they stepped up and opened their wallets – and all Americans have benefitted ever since.

The work of Pheasants Forever continues that legacy. Their dogged conservation work is truly stunning as they work with landowners to restore wetland habitat and dense nesting cover, plant trees and shrubs, and introduce youngsters to upland gamebird hunting.

In Pheasants Forever’s 30th Anniversary Year, we celebrate our partnership and congratulate the group on 30 years of giving back to the resource through habitat conservation and education. We know that our partnership will continue for many decades to come.

Midwest Regional Office. Photo Credit: USFWS

I also got to stop by the Midwest Regional Office and chat with our staff there. Here, Regional Director Tom Melius introduces me. Photo Credit: USFWS

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