Youth Village Offers Fun and Discovery

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Special section of National Pheasant Fest / Quail Classic devoted to kids and families

By Tom Carpenter
 
Upland enthusiasts with families in tow can make a day of it at National Pheasant Fest / Quail Classic this year. The event’s always-popular Youth Village promises plenty of attractions and activities to keep budding outdoors boys and girls entertained and engaged while learning about the great outdoors.
 
National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic is coming to Illinois this year, running February 22 - 24 at the Schaumburg Convention Center. This year’s Youth Village promises to be bigger and better than ever, and it’s the perfect place to spend a couple hours with kids of most any age.
 
“One of the coolest things about the Youth Village is that it is planned and staffed primarily by the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever National Youth Leadership Council,” says Rich Wissink, vice president of education and outreach for the conservation organizations. “These high-school age conservationists work both booths and activity stations. What better way to introduce younger kids to our wildlife and habitat heritage?”
 
Members of the Illinois Young Guns and the Pine Bluffs Chapters will be helping as well.

Elsa Gallagher, conservation leadership program manager for PF and QF, finds it hard to contain her excitement about this year’s Youth Village.
 
“One of the highlights is being able to feature Dan Ihrke of Illinois’s own Green Acres Sportsman’s Club,” says Gallagher. “Dan has been training flushing, retrieving and pointing dogs for 17 years, with many field and hunt test champions of multiple breeds. He’s going to be doing two seminars a day to help families train their dogs, and he’ll also have some of his dogs at the village full-time for people to meet.”
 
“Another must-see and must-visit is Bob Tarter with the Natural History Education Co. of the MidSouth (NHECM), and his presentations on wildlife senses,” says Gallagher. “Bob will have two seminars a day, plus live animals.”

Upland game bird biology, conservation principles, hunting ethics, firearms safety, good shooting, pollinators and bird dogs are among the other topics featured at the Youth Village.
 
“Great seminars will be balanced with real hands-on activities for the kids,” adds Gallagher, “including an indoor air gun range, shotgun fitting, a fishing simulator, archery, upland game bird biology games, conservation principles, hunting ethics, firearms safety, good shooting, pollinators and bird dogs.”
 
One of the favorite stops at the Youth Village is always Pete Soukup’s Great(er) American Ribs. Come by for a taste!
 

Youth Village Seminar Lineup

Friday February 22
12:00 p.m. Wild Game Cooking
1:00 p.m. Training Tips for Youngsters and Their Hunting Dogs
2:00 p.m. Wildlife Senses
3:30 p.m. Training Tips for Youngsters and Their Hunting Dogs
5:00 p.m. Wildlife Senses
6:00 p.m. Shooting Tips for the New Shooter
  
Saturday February 23
9:30 a.m. Squirrel Hunting: Bushytail Tips and Tricks
11:00 a.m. Training Tips for Youngsters and Their Hunting Dogs
12:00 p.m. Wildlife Senses
1:00 p.m. Wild Game Cooking
2:00 p.m. Training Tips for Youngsters and Their Hunting Dogs
3:30 p.m. Wildlife Senses
5:00 p.m. Squirrel Hunting: Bushytail Tips and Tricks
                               
Sunday February 24                        
9:30 a.m. Wildlife Senses
11:00 a.m. Training Tips for Youngsters and Their Hunting Dogs
12:00 p.m. Wildlife Senses
1:00 p.m. Wild Game Cooking
2:00 p.m. Training Tips for Youngsters and Their Hunting Dogs
 

Seminar Profiles

Wild Game Cooking
John Wallace, Quail Forever Regional Representative, Missouri
Wild game cook John Wallace shows you how to prepare game meat for the table. Making kid-friendly, tasty meals that are simple, healthy and delicious is his specialty
 
Training Tips for Youngsters and their Hunting Dogs
Dan Ihrke, Lead Trainer, Green Acres Sportsman’s Club, Illinois
Do you want success with your gundog? Are you interested in learning how to train your dog yourself? Dan Ihrke is a master in reading each dog as an individual and recognizing his or her strengths and weaknesses. Come learn from the best! Dan and his young assistants will work several dogs for you.
 
Wildlife Senses   
Bob Tarter, Natural History Education Co. of the MidSouth (NHECM)
Bob shows you many species of wild animals and how they use their senses to explore the world around them. Bob’s program will be engaging and full of great information. See some of the wild right there in Schaumburg!
 
Squirrel Hunting: Bushytail Tips and Tricks
Ryan Diener, Quail Forever State Coordinator, Arkansas
Are you interested in small game hunting? Enjoy getting out in the woods in the fall? Want to learn how to harvest and prepare a squirrel from forest to fork? Ryan Diener covers it all.
 
Shooting Tips for the New Shooter
PF National Youth Leadership Council members
Join members of the PF/QF National Youth Leadership Council’s Shooting Sports Committee as they show you how to determine which is your dominant eye for shooting, as well as other great tips for how to break more clays. These shooting athletes share their favorite tips with you.
 

Ticket Details

Tickets to the 2018 National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic are available at the door, by calling 877-773-2070, or online here. Admission is free for children age 5 and under, while kinds age 6 to 16 are only $5. When you buy a Pheasants Forever or Quail Forever youth membership, admission is free.
 
Tom Carpenter is editor at Pheasants Forever.