Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lessons in crisis management

It didn't take long for word to get out that the pheasant capital of the world was having an off year. It didn't take much longer to do something about it. The season wasn't even over before Governor Daugaard convened a habitat summit to explore the options. Not to stereotype, but it usually takes years for governments to even acknowledge a problem, then a few more to figure out who stands to gain the most politically by heading the committee, and then a while longer for the committee to talk it to death until nobody cares about it any more and by then there's a new cause du jour. Lather, rinse, repeat until the well runs dry.

And now Pheasants Forever is opening a regional HQ in Brookings. Forgive what may sound like a twinge of envy at all the attention given this bird and its plight, but how do I get some of that down here? I'm not so naive that I believe this is entirely altruistic without a hint of politically-motivated PR, but I'm not so pessimistic that I think no good will come of it either.

More so I'm impressed with the speed of the response.  There are plenty of PR opportunities, most of which will build political capital faster, yet this issue is being given time and money while the rubble is still smoking. Actions like those taken by the Governor and PF put the issue squarely on the table and give it a dose of priority along with raising the awareness of the general public, all before the situation goes from bad to worse.

Sage grouse, prairie chickens and bobwhites have suffered steeper declines, albeit over longer periods of time, yet the rapid response at the first sign of trouble was missing and along with it the chance to stop the bleeding before the patient turned pale.

So how do I get some of that down here? Simple. I make quail a $300 million industry.


  1. Yep, it's frustrating. And I really have no answer how to apply a pheasant formula to quail. Different bird, different region, different mindset, different economic impact, different everything. Sometimes I think the socio-cultural pull of the bobwhite tradition has simply waned too much to ever pull it back into even a shadow of its former prominence. Too many competing factors, competing tribes (deer, turkey) changing demographics, etc. Right now we're enjoying a mini-resurgence in OK, but that's due mainly to a (perhaps temporary) combination of a really good, aggressive state QF coordinator busting her tail and the possibility of a decent season brought on by a couple good summers. Sometimes I'm optimistic, Sometimes I'm glum. Guess I need meds for that...

    1. Same questions we've been asking here as we try to pull together a statewide effort to restore populations. The science is there, but do enough people care? We have a whole generation of hunters, and a second in the making, that have grown up not pining for a bird dog simply because they haven't seen one in action. What used to be a way of life in the fall and winter is now a special occasion for most. The guys who remember what it was like 30 yrs ago are gonna have to play a big role.