Blue Mountain Pheasants Forever Receives 2022 National Education and Outreach Award

Shared by the Waitsburg Times and the Walla Walla Union Bulletin.

On February 18th, 2023, the Walla Walla, WA-based Blue Mountain Pheasants Forever (BMPF), Chapter #0258, was awarded the 2022 “National Chapter of the Year” for Education and Outreach, having provided 23 conservation-related events and reaching approximately 450 participants in Southeastern Washington – more than any other Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter across the nation.

“Just being nominated for this national award was an honor, but to actually receive it – to stand out among over 800 chapters – left us speechless. Taking a step back to look at what we had accomplished in 2022 illuminated just how hard this Chapter’s volunteers work, and their personal investment and the value they see in Pheasants Forever’s missions.” Said BMPF Advisory Board Chairman, Brad Trumbo.

PF, a Minneapolis, Minnesota-based nonprofit known as “The Habitat Organization”, was founded in 1982 with a focus on wildlife habitat conservation. The organization relies on the grass-roots efforts of individual chapters to raise funds for and execute on-the-ground habitat projects, and recruit and educate members on conservation, firearms safety, and upland hunting. PF is the only conservation nonprofit that leaves one hundred percent of funds raised by chapters within chapter control to be reinvested in the local communities.

BMPF was founded in 1988 and has since completed approximately 75 habitat projects in Walla Walla and Columbia Counties in Washington, and Umatilla County, Oregon. Each year, BMPF sponsors a youth education and shooting program.

In 2022, BMPF started a “Women on the Wing” program to diversify their outreach and encourage more women into upland hunting and conservation. The program was wildly successful in its first year, drawing participants from as far as La Grande, Oregon, and Missoula, Montana.

BMPF is currently completing six local habitat projects and rolling out 2023 program details. To learn more about BMPF, to make a donation, and to get involved with this highly active and effective PF chapter, visit their website at www.bmpf258.org, send an email to bmpf@bmpf258.org, and find them on Facebook and Instagram (@pheasantsforever258).

Can Hunting Keep us Human?

Paula Young Lee poses the question in the High Country News. If this strikes you as a philosophical diatribe, you may be correct. But in an era where hunting is increasingly despised (read: misunderstood), the deeper meaning behind such ecosystem interaction at the human level of cognizance is indeed ponderous.

Hunting’s broader importance to human existence reconnects the severance between human life-history and the complex society we have developed. Humans operate under the disillusion that humans are superior to the natural ecosystem, having no association with the natural world or ecosystem function. But the hunter views things differently.

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⇑⇑ Above: the author with a cow elk, his first, taken on the Idaho winter range, December 2018. Hard earned and well respected. The tags for this special draw hunt have since been stripped from the public and given to private landowners as depredation tags. ⇑⇑

“It may seem like sophistry to argue that hunting protects wildlife, but the act of hunting encompasses far more than shooting a wild animal, and it neither starts nor ends with a death. The hunt itself is part of a much larger continuum.”

Diving deeper into the meaning of the hunt, Lee discusses the spiritual connection between hunter and prey, and that the hunter views wild game as a blessed gift. Lee reinforces her point of the larger continuum through an economics analogy related to the gift of wild game.

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⇑⇑ Above: A successful valley quail hunt with two hens falling to a pointing dog and swift gun work. This interaction with the canine and upland bird plays a crucial role in spiritual rejuvenation for the hunter, who, in turn, gives back to conservation. ⇑⇑

“In a gift economy, the act of giving compels the person who receives the gift to reciprocate. A gift can be refused, but that refusal has consequences. Hence, ethical hunters reciprocate by protecting the wilderness, giving of themselves to ensure that the forest stays the forest….”

Hunting maintains our connection with and works to conserve our place in the ecosystem, and the ecosystem itself. The preservation of human nature.