Raising $2,000,000 for Habitat

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“Upland hunters are dedicated and passionate about the pursuit of wild birds in wild places, but it doesn’t end there. Without access to these wild places, it means no more wild bird dogs. And without habitat, no birds for hunters and the dogs that pursue them to earn their namesake.”  

onX Wingshooting Manager Ben Brettingen

33,154 of these passionate uplanders descended on Minneapolis, Minnesota, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pheasants Forever at the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic. The record-breaking attendance was just the tip of the iceberg for this momentous event. The legendary Howard Vincent, President and CEO of Pheasants and Quail Forever, officially passed the torch after 23 years of service to the highly qualified Marilyn Vetter. The event was a celebration of Vincent’s career and the future of the organization under Vetter’s direction.

As a National Sponsor of Pheasants Forever, onX Hunt looks forward to the three-day event every year. Not only do we get the opportunity to meet and talk with fervent uplanders, but we’re always excited to help the Habitat Organization further its mission.

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On Friday night, onX Hunt hosted the 40X Event, something we plan to do each year going forward. Calling it 40X refers to Pheasants and Quail Forever’s ability to match every dollar donated towards projects in Minnesota 40 times over thanks to local chapters and partners in conservation. After the 40X event, onX donated $25,000 to Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever to be used specifically for adding 278 acres of permanently protected access in Minnesota’s Lac Qui Parle County through the Build a Wildlife Area Program.

A collage of photos showing people at a conference.

The 40X Event saw more than 1,000 attendees from across the country come together to support onX Hunt and Pheasants Forever’s shared missions of permanently protecting critical habitat for upland wildlife as well as opening more land to public hunting. In addition to drinks, live music by the Minnesota band The Dam Jammers,  and giveaways, attendees were able to pin their favorite upland hunting state on a large U.S. map. Six hundred pins were placed in 40 states, and onX Hunt donated $40 to Pheasants Forever for each pin. We rounded up that $24,000 total to a $25,000 donation.

A picture of a conference display poster showing a U.S. map.

onX Hunt also teamed up with Elite Partner Final Rise to sell limited-edition hats and raise an additional $25,000. As of the publication of this article, there are still hats available from Final Rise. Together, after the 40X matching, $50,000 became $2,000,000 raised for access projects in Minnesota.

Infographic showing three states.

“It never ceases to amaze me how passionate uplanders are about the pursuit of these beloved birds,” said onX Wingshooting Manager Ben Brettingen. “We are incredibly thankful for the Pheasants and Quail Forever team as well as the chapters and members who put in the work creating access and habitat in those wild places. Bird hunters from all over the country came out to support and celebrate these habitat and access opportunities at the 40X Event, and we’re proud to have helped forge relationships among hunters and raise funding for the Habitat Organization.”

A collage of photos showing a conference booth for onX Hunt.

The 40X initiative is part of onX Hunt’s commitment to protecting habitat and increasing access to public lands. In the past two years, onX has helped support more than 1,000 acres of public access across Minnesota, South Dakota, and Iowa through Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area Program. Across the U.S., onX aims to improve access to more than 150,000 acres of public lands and build or restore 150 miles of trails by the end of 2023. The Minnesota access projects benefiting from this year’s 40X event will soon be identified.

limited-edition 40x hat

Celebrate this habitat victory and join the cause with an access hat of your own.

“We’re so blessed to work with partners like onX who truly ‘get it’,” said Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever Vice President of Corporate Partnerships Chris Kalis. “Not only does onX support our non-profit organization’s infrastructure through sponsorship support, but they take it a step further and contribute directly to our habitat and access mission. With grant partnerships we have in place, the 40X event is going to result in matching those contributions by a magnitude of forty times to help us do good things for our conservation mission. Thanks to onX and every uplander who contributed at the 40X event.”

Ben Brettingen

Truck packed full of dog hair and the source of said hair, you’ll find Ben Brettingen on the road in search of the next bird hunt. An award-winning outdoor television producer and writer, Ben has had the opportunity to hunt and tell stories from his back 40 in Minnesota to points around the world.