New chapter focuses on Conservation Reserve Program habitat, youth education

Seward County bird hunters and conservationists have established the Western Wings Chapter of Pheasants Forever (PF) in Liberal. The new chapter plans to improve existing Seward County Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land while also introducing area youth to conservation and the hunting heritage. Chapter leaders invite the public to their next meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 22, at the Rock Island Depot in Liberal.

"Many of us who hunt attended a Northfork Tailgunners PF Banquet in Ulysses and saw the many benefits of having a local Pheasants Forever chapter," said Dean Hebbert, newly-elected president of the Western Wings PF Chapter. "About the only land where we can hunt pheasants in southwest Kansas is CRP. As a chapter, we want to enhance the quality of that CRP to increase the pheasant population and build better habitat."

Chapter leaders plan to develop high-quality nesting cover, brood cover, food plots, and thicket plantings in CRP while also working with local natural resource agencies on conservation issues. In this portion of the state, a lack of nesting cover is primary factor limiting pheasant populations. The new chapter hopes to remedy this through CRP mid-contract management practices such as prescribed burning, discing, and other means of modifying the land to invigorate new growth and allow movement of newly hatched birds.

Chapter leaders reported that youth conservation education will also be a chapter focal point. "My uncles introduced me to hunting as a kid, and I hope that my three children will be able to enjoy the same experiences," explained Ron Warden, the chapter's newly elected youth and education chairman. "Bird hunting and habitat projects are two great ways for our chapter to connect area youth with the outdoors. I have been hunting with my son for two years now. It's a special time for me, and he's becoming more aware of conservation needs and the privileges of hunting."

To learn more about the new Western Wings PF Chapter, phone Hebbert at 620-624-7231 or email Those interested in starting a PF or Quail Forever chapter in Kansas should phone Barth Crouch at 785-823-0240 or email