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F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K


Steve Schneider

Hello everyone, I hope your spring planting season was productive.  It has been quite a challenge with all this wet weather.  I still have a food plot to put in but I am only looking at an acre or two; many of the farmers in southeastern Michigan are not so lucky and have several hundred acres yet to plant.  The interesting part to me is that many times the prior year’s food plot still has ample food left at planting time.  I can see the value now of only working up maybe half of the plot and leaving the other half. A good friend recommended this to me several years ago, but the gentleman farmer in me always had to work it all up, just because.  Now I am leaving half, just because it provides food during the early summer and nesting cover among the grasses and weeds coming up between the rows. We will see if I can restrain myself next spring as well.

Speaking of the future, State Council under Bill Vander Zouwen’s guidance, started our “strategic”  long range planning.  We met back in early May and about ten of us spent that Saturday brainstorming and thinking about what we as Chapters and State Council can do to have the biggest impact on habitat in Michigan.  There is much that you the chapters have accomplished, there is much we all have learned, but there are also some exciting ideas out there of things yet to do.

We will be following up the initial meeting with shorter evening meetings to continue the planning process.  I would welcome your involvement if you can spare the time.  Even if you can only participate once or twice it does make a difference.  A prime example of a new person making a difference is Brad Brunken and his efforts to improve the PF system.  See Bill’s comments later and you will see what I mean.

Enough for now, keep an eye on the emails and website for dates and times of meeting both for the planning and regular State Council meeting.  Think Habitat!


Bill Vander Zouwen

Hello Chapters

It's been a busy few months since the convention and there is much to tell you and so much going on.  See the bullet points below and the related articles.  

As you look through the articles, take special note of all the chapters who are making a difference by contributing to statewide and national initiatives as well as doing great local projects.  If you are not one of these chapters, please consider becoming one.

In the browser version (click in top right "Full Newsletter"), the topics listed below are hot linked to the full articles by seem to work ONLY in the browser version.  Or you just scroll down - the articles are just below these topic titles.
Chapter Challenge Checklist  It’s time to turn in your Chapter Challenge Checklist, placing a check by each item your chapter has done during the past year.  For every item checked, your chapter will have one chance in a drawing for a Beretta A400 Xplor. We want to thank the Allegan Chapter for allowing an incentive gun earned for a LAF contribution to be used as an incentive for the Chapter Challenge Checklist.  
If you don’t have your copy of the che
cklist, you can just download it here, mark the items you have accomplished, then either scan and email the completed checklist to or send by mail to Bill Vander Zouwen, 3777 Black Creek Dr., Hudsonville, MI 49426.
There’s nothing to lose; why not check off the list what you’ve done this past year? Since some chapters don’t meet during the summer, you are given until the end of September to get your completed checklist to Bill.  The gun will be awarded at the next State Meeting.  Be watching for the 2015-16 Checklist!  The Checklist is aimed at helping chapters to be healthy
, sustainable, and influential at the local, state, and national level.
District Meetings – Late August  Watch your email for dates and places.  We will have 5-6 district meetings in late August around southern Michigan.  Please send at least a couple people from your chapter.  We’ll use these meetings to present important information and share ideas among chapters.  We’ll also display the banquet package and a number of encore items that are now available.  The 3-ring binders that serve as a great resources to chapters on all things Pheasants Forever will be handed out at these meetings.  We will have an incentive prize awarded to a lucky chapter at the next State Meeting, with one chance per chapter for each member they have attend a district meeting.  These are great opportunities to introduce someone to PF programs who you hope will be a chapter leader someday.
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Legislative Action Fund  Michigan chapters of Pheasants Forever shattered their all-time record for influence of national laws, appropriations, and policies through contributions to the Legislative Action Fund.  The previous Michigan record was $36,000.  This past year’s chapter contributions totaled $58,000!  That puts Michigan as the 4th highest state for LAF contributions.  Chapters contributing included: Ingham, Barry, Bay/Midland, Branch, Clinton, Eaton, Gladwin, Grand Valley, Gratiot, Jackson, Macomb, Shiawassee, South Central, St. Clair, Thumb, and Washtenaw.  I want to highlight one contribution that has never happened before in Michigan and rarely happens anywhere else; the Ingham Chapter contributed $25,000 this past year.
Forever Shooting Sports Youth Endowment Fund  Bill challenged chapters to contribute to the Forever Shooting Sports Endowment Fund leading up to the State Meeting on January 31.  The intent is to use interest every year after the $1.5 million endowment goal is reached is to support youth activities at Pheasant Fest and provide grants to chapters for youth event costs.  Bill’s goal was to raise at least $6,000 with 12 chapter contributions of $500 each.  By the date of the state meeting, contributions totaled $9,000 from 18 chapters including: Barry, Bay/Midland, Branch, Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Grand Valley, Hillsdale, Ingham, Jackson, Macomb, Saginaw, Shiawassee, South Central, St. Clair, St. Joseph, Thumb and Washtenaw.  Since then, additional contributions have been made by the Washtenaw and Newaygo chapters.  The total for the year from Michigan chapters is $10,500!
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Youth Outdoor Position Support for 2015-16 Fiscal Year  Bill also challenged you to raise $15,000 in funds needed to support our Youth Coordinator position in Michigan for the coming fiscal year before the year started July 1.  You met the challenge with contributions totaling $16,050!  These funds are ear-marked and any funds not used this coming fiscal year will be available for the next fiscal year.  Our appreciation for contributions goes to the State Council and the following chapters: Grand Valley, Washtenaw, Thumb, Shiawassee, Macomb, Ingham, St. Clair, Genesee, Jackson, Newaygo, Bay/Midland, Saginaw, Branch, Clinton and Muskegon.    These funds are added to $25,000 per year from DNR and $10,000 per year from the National Office for salary and travel expenses for this position in Michigan.  These 15 chapters will be entered into a drawing for a Legacy Pointer O/U shotgun that will be awarded at the next State Meeting.
Strategic Plan   The State Council began work on a strategic plan for Pheasants Forever in Michigan.  Our goal is to have a draft for all of you to provide input on by the next Michigan Pheasants Forever State Meeting this coming winter.  Also, expect that the plan will drive the agenda for the next State Meeting.  The plan themes included: pheasant management, public awareness, youth engagement, women involvement, partnerships, healthy chapters, statewide and national policy influence, collaboration among chapters, best use of technology, membership, staffing, and hunting opportunities.
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Chapter Memberships Through OMR   Even though we had a few less banquets in Michigan in 2014-15 than the previous year, chapter memberships held their own. Memberships entered into the Online Reporting System by chapters totaled 3,981.  This compares to 4,039 entered for banquets the previous year.  Way to go chapters! These members will keep getting our PF messages through the magazine and their contact information will be available for future chapter events.  We look forward to growing PF membership in Michigan this next year.  We hope to accomplish this by getting more folks to our banquets, holding more chapter banquets, and getting a membership for each household represented at banquets.
Chapters Having Banquets Again in 2015-16   We would like to praise the leadership of Cass, Oakland, and Hillsdale Chapters.  They did not have a banquet during the last fiscal year, but are planning to hold a banquet in the current fiscal year. We look forward to seeing what good things they do in their counties and beyond for implementing the mission of Pheasants Forever. 
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Chapters That Could Use Our Help   If you or someone you know would be willing to help these chapters hold banquets again, let Bill know.  The following chapters could use some volunteers for officer positions and to prepare for a banquet – Muskegon, Allegan, Ionia, Lake Michigan (South Haven), Newaygo, and Northeast (West Branch). Our goal is to have an active chapter that is both implementing the PF mission locally and holding a membership event for every county in the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan.
Bradley Brunken Goes to St. Paul   We would like to recognize the extra efforts of State Council member Bradley Brunken this past year.  He went to St. Paul to meet with staff in the National Office to explore ways we can better reach out to prospective members and keep existing members.  He hopes to use this experience and other information and ideas he has to help chapters and Michigan Pheasants Forever grow and be more influential.  Thanks Brad!  We look forward to seeing what comes of your efforts.  Like you, we are hoping that Michigan Pheasants Forever becomes an example for all to follow, breaking into the top three states for Pheasants Forever memberships (#5 now).
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LAF and NCLI Incentive Guns   Most of you already know about the Legislative Action Fund incentive guns.  You can receive one or more guns for use in fund-raising for contributions of $1000 or more.  Many chapters have found that they can raise a large portion of the contributions back with fund raising efforts using these guns…and make a difference at a national level at the same time. This year for the first time, the same guns are available for contributions to the No Child Left Indoors (NCLI) program. This past year, Bill offered a 1 in 6 chance at Henry rifles. This year, it’s a sure thing. For $1000, you have a choice of Henry Golden Boy .22 Mag or Stoeger Condor 12 ga.  For $3,000, you have a choice of Beretta A400 Xplor 12 ga, Benelli Super Black Eagle 12 ga., or Franchi Instinct SL 20 ga.  For $5,000, you have a choice of Browning Synergy or 5 Henry Golden Boys.  Watch for separate e-mails on this offer, which will also be provided at the District Meetings.
Chapter Charter Renewals    Many of our chapters have been around a long time. During that time, many leaders have changed.  As you can imagine, many have not seen the charters that were signed when the chapter was formed and many don’t know the Pheasants Forever policies required of all member chapters.  So the National Board of Directors of Pheasants Forever has decided that Regional Representatives will meet with each chapter to go over PF policies and sign a new charter that renews the commitment of the chapter to Pheasants Forever and the PF organization to the chapter.  Bill will be having meetings with each chapter over the next couple years to accomplish this directive.  You first learned about this in the video at the last state meeting.
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Put Bill on Chapter Meeting Email List   If you haven’t done so already, please add Bill Vander Zouwen ( to your chapter e-mail distribution list for meetings, events, and notes from meetings.  He would like to visit with you on the dates that he doesn’t already have commitments.  His intent is to learn about the good things you are doing, learn about your challenges, and offer ideas and help….never to criticize.
Grass and Wildflower Seed Ordering   The State Council and the East Region of Pheasants Forever have entered into a seed sales partnership where the first $10,000 of “profit” on seed orders comes back to the Michigan State Council for Pheasants Forever priorities in Michigan.  Please spread the word.  Orders can be placed at; click on the Michigan button, then scroll down, to see our mixes.  Orders will be delivered to any address you wish.  The seed mixes have been approved by the USDA in Michigan for land enrolled in farm bill programs (e.g. CRP, CREP).  You can find pollinator mix there as well.  The conservation programs leader for USDA FSA noted that PF prices are very economical and competitive.
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New Banquet Package Available   The new banquet package looks very good!   It includes:
  • Beretta Neos .22 LR Pistol with PF logo, perfect for the county map game or deck of cards raffle.

  • PF heavy metal fire ring with pheasant cut outs in the ring, perfect for camp or back yard fire pit…should go well in live auction, and will likely be selected as “pick of brood” at a number of banquets.

  • Pheasant Roost Lodge Wood sign for cabin or man cave.

  • Red Rooster Pub Mirror, perfect for the many wildlife mirror collectors.

  • Lynch Custom Turkey Call set in a PF cedar display box, that went well at Pheasant Fest, and because we don’t just like to hunt pheasants.

  • 4 framed prints by 4 of the most well-known wildlife artists out there: Terry Redlin “Morning Warmup”, David Maas “Thunder Creek Pheasants”, Michael Sieve “Shelterbelt Pheasants” (Print of the Year) with habitat cooperator sign in painting, and Scott Storm “Prairie Storm” (shadow box with a Prairie Storm shotgun shell mounted inside).

  • For chapters buying the banquet package, Purina dog food bags should number equal to number of members a chapter entered into OMR this past year.

Bill is hoping all chapters will purchase the banquet package this year, not only for raising funds for local projects but also to support the only national conservation organization that permits chapters to retain control of use of all revenue raised at their banquets.  Memberships alone don’t provide enough funds to support the organization, even with its highest efficiency rating (by Charity Navigator).  

Michigan Pheasants Forever Facebook and Website   "Like" our Michigan Pheasants Forever Facebook page to receive regular updates on important PF information.  You can also check out our website by visiting our page at  Please check out your chapter events information by clicking on “Events” on the website menu.
If you want something listed there or it needs updating, send an e-mail to
Gretchen Schneider (, who maintains both the website and Facebook.
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2014-15 Wildlife Habitat Grants    During the past year, Pheasants Forever was awarded over $200,000 in Wildlife Habitat Grants from MDNR for projects on Verona SGA, Maple River SGA, and Lake Hudson SRA.  Matching funds were provided by the State Council and the Clinton, Ingham, Macomb, St. Clair, Monroe, Jackson and Lenawee Chapters.  These grants resulted in clearing of trees and brush on 59 acres at Maple River and 236 acres at Verona in preparation for planting them to warm-season grasses.  The grant for Lake Hudson resulted in the planting of 194 acres or prairie and improvement to 170 acres of earlier plantings.  Matching funds were also provided by the Clinton, Ingham, Hillsdale, and Saginaw Chapters for DNR habitat grant projects administered by Conservation Districts for Rose Lake, Adams, and Shiawassee SGAs.
Verona site this winter that had trees and shrubs cleared in preparation for warm season grass planting.
Lake Hudson field sprayed with herbicides in prepation for prairie plantings.
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2016 MDNR Wildlife Habitat Grants    Bill is submitting five grant applications for establishing switchgrass stands, diverse grass/wildflower stands and food plots as well as removal of brush and trees from grasslands on state lands.   They include:

Verona SGA: plant 63 acres to diverse prairie mix; plant 109 acres to switchgrass; clear 64 acres of brush/trees; sharecroppers provide food plots; match provided by St. Clair, Macomb, Thumb Chapters.

Nayanquing Point SGA: clear brush and stumps on 40 acres; plant 26 acres diverse prairie mix; plant 10 acres switchgrass; plant 4 acres food plots; matching funds and volunteer food plot labor and seed provided by Bay/Midland Chapter.

Sharonville SGA: clear brush and trees from 147 acres; plant 70 acres diverse prairie; plant two 3-acres food plots; matching funds and volunteer labor for brush removal and food plots provided by Jackson and Washtenaw Chapters.

Maple River SGA: brush removal on 33 acres; stump removal on 59 acres; plant 3 acre food plot; platnt 30 acres diverse prairie mix; plant 26 acres switchgrass; matching funds and volunteer food plot labor and seed provided by Ingham and Clinton Chapters.

Lake Hudson SRA: plant 239 acres to native ecotype prairie; mow 320 acres; spray 587 acres (both acres to be planted and enhanced); matching funds provided by Lenawee and Monroe Chapters – in same application with Coldwater State Park: plant 25 acres native grass mix; matching funds provided by Branch Chapter.

Conservation District staff are also applying for a grant for the Lapeer SGA.  Matching funds for this project are provided by Lapeer, Genesee, and St. Clair Chapters.

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Chapter Habitat Reports   We will soon get habitat report forms to chapters, so we can all learn about the habitat restoration and enhancements they have done.  This will include food plots, grasslands, wetlands, pollinator projects, and shrub and tree plantings.  A future newsletter will summarize these accomplishments.
State Council Members   Current state council members representing chapters include: Steve Schneider, Julie Griswold, Gretchen Schneider, Bill Kordonbrock, Warren Patton, Bill Brake, Alan Goschka, Deb Andrews, Randy Kline, Bradley Brunken, Dan Potter, Brian Woolcock, and Jim Daniels.  These members provide insights and feedback on local, statewide, and chapter programs that affect PF chapters and members.  They are working on a strategic plan for Michigan Pheasants Forever. They make decisions on the best use of State Council funds.  And, they will be helping to shape the next Michigan Pheasants Forever State Meeting.  Every chapter is welcome to have two of their members represent them on State Council.  If you’d like to have a member on state council, let Council president Steve Schneider or Bill Vander Zouwen know.
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Farm Bill Biologist Staff Growth   DNR, MDARD and Conservation Districts are growing the number of these specialists from 3 to 8.  They help enroll landowners in federal habitat programs, administer the Hunter Access Program, and start and nurture landowner wildlife cooperatives.  Watch for an e-mail with details on contact information.
Landowner Wildlife Cooperatives Anna Mitterling was hired my MUCC this past winter to accelerate habitat development through Landowner Cooperatives.  Pheasants Forever partners with DNR, MUCC and QDMA to fund this important position.  Watch for an e-mail in mid-July that includes her quarterly report.
Merchandise and Food Plot Seed Sales to Chapters We want to thank chapters for food plot seed and merchandise purchases from the home office, including banquet packages, encore items, quick draw guns, clothing, etc.  Total chapter merchandise purchases amounted to $103,377 this past fiscal year (ended June 30).  Chapter purchases of home office food plot seed amounted to $65,708.  All of these purchases help the lean budget of the Pheasants Forever organization.  As critical as they are, memberships alone are not enough to pay for staff, operations,  programs, publications, chapter support and member support, even though a high number of field staff (not region reps) are paid from federal and state grants.  I am especially grateful, as your banquet memberships and merchandise and seed purchases support my position and allow me to work with you here in Michigan.  THANK YOU!
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