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Pheasant Fest: An approach to visiting the show and not being overwhelmed

Resized/Sun-Times

The National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Friday through Sunday at the Schaumburg Convention Center will be more about habitat than pheasants in the field.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

I tapped Glenn Bishop for tips on doing the National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic, which makes its Illinois appearance Friday through Sunday at the Schaumburg Convention Center.

‘‘I go with purpose, things that I want to look for, rather than being overwhelmed,’’ said Bishop, who founded the Montgomery County chapter of Pheasants Forever 22 years ago. ‘‘All the ideas will be there.’’

This will be his seventh Pheasant Fest. His aim this year is a specific electronic dog collar.

I likely will be overwhelmed.

This is not just for upland-game hunters, though most players in hunting will be there. Pheasant Fest is on the cutting edge of habitat, pollinator plantings and bird dogs.

In previous Pheasant Fests, Bishop attended and looked for a specific style of blaze-orange hat and chaps, that sort of thing.

There are gun dealers. One year, Bishop’s daughter Ashley Langen found a new Beretta coming out in a teal blue. She is a notable product of PF, the first president of the National Youth Leadership Council. After attending Illinois State, she ended up working in precision agriculture. She will be attending with Texas-based Wilbur-Ellis.

John Deere will have multiple booths. Machinery is a big part of modern conservation.

The bottom line is simple.

‘‘Habitat is the key,’’ Bishop said. ‘‘All comes down to habitat.’’

Resized/Sun-Times

Habitat will be a main feature at National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic Friday through Sunday at the Schaumburg Convention Center.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Things I already plan to do: watch the Bird Dog Parade kick off at 11 a.m. Friday (40 breeds are expected); visit the South Cook County chapter booth; hit the Wild Game Cooking Stage and book signing by MeatEater’s Steven Rinella; and catch talks by PF conservation specialist Jason Bleich on Saturday and/or Sunday on the habitat and pollinator stages.

I’ve hunted with Bleich and know landowners he has helped with habitat. Plus, my wife is into pollinator plantings.

I will be at the Sun-Times booth all three days and filing updates. Pioneer chapter member Ken Abraham will be sitting with me Friday.

That’s my plan so far.

Lake Michigan meeting

The Illinois DNR hosts an informational meeting on the Lake Michigan fisheries at 7 tonight at the Des Plaines office.

Stray cast

Listening to Walter Jacobson pontificate on 21st-century media is like hearing a hound bay at an ambulance siren or watching a cat paw at itself in a mirror.