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February 11, 2014

MADISON -- With tens of thousands of pheasant hunting enthusiasts about to descend on Wisconsin for a national "Pheasant Fest," state wildlife officials say this is a good time to recognize the partnership with the festival sponsor that has been instrumental in providing another great year of pheasant hunting in Wisconsin.

Pheasants Forever's annual national gathering known as the National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic runs from Feb. 14-16 in Milwaukee. The tenth annual festival and national Pheasants Forever convention will be held at the Wisconsin Center in downtown Milwaukee. The festival attracted almost 29,000 upland bird enthusiasts to Minneapolis last year. The organization has more than 140,000 members nationwide, including 33 Wisconsin chapters.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has worked closely with Pheasants Forever in the past to acquire thousands of acres of land that continue to provide prime pheasant habitat and superb hunting opportunities.

"Our relationships with our non-profit conservation partners are invaluable to our mission," said DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp. "We intend to work closely with Pheasants Forever for many years to come in order to continue improving pheasant habitat and expanding pheasant hunting opportunities in Wisconsin."

Pheasants Forever began applying for Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program grants in 1997 and since then has leveraged more than 3.4 million in grant funds and an equal amount of private funding for land purchases in Wisconsin, according to Eric Lobner wildlife program manager for southern Wisconsin.

Some of the land protection highlights of this long-standing partnership include:

In addition to purchasing land for habitat and hunting, DNR and Pheasants Forever have teamed up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund four farm bill biologist positions in Wisconsin. These positions implement DNR's private lands wildlife habitat programs and provide a critical link to private landowners interested in conservation and habitat projects to benefit pheasants and other valuable wildlife species.

With the presence of many other similar joint efforts and pheasant stocking on the rise, Lobner says Pheasants Forever and DNR have reaffirmed a mutual commitment to improving pheasant habitat and pheasant hunting in Wisconsin.

For more information regarding Pheasant Fest, visit the Pheasants Forever website (exit DNR); for more general pheasant hunting information, search the DNR website, for keyword "pheasant."

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric Lobner, Southern Wisconsin wildlife program manager, 608-235-0860

Last Revised: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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