By Nick Simonson
There’s a new Pheasants Forever (PF) chapter in North Dakota, and it’s capitalizing on the excitement and involvement of the growing population of female hunters. The Capital City Lady Birds are the first all-female chapter of the Habitat Organization in the Peace Garden State, and with 25 charter members gaining official recognition in June, the group is already preparing to make a difference on the landscape.
As part of the state organization’s efforts to tap into the increasing demographic of women hunters, the all-female North Dakota PF leadership team worked hard to help the new chapter form and become officially recognized by the national organization. Following women-only outdoors events, such as the Women, Wine & Wild Game social in April and a June wingshooting program at Capital City Sporting Clays, the North Dakota PF staff members were able to assist the fledgling chapter in its formation, thanks to noted demand for such an option.
“On a personal level, being an avid outdoorswoman posting my adventures on social media, I’m contacted regularly by friends who say: ‘I’d like to do that, I’d like to learn,’” said Renee McKeehen, North Dakota PF Regional Representative on the demand from area women to get involved in the outdoors.
The first formative chapter meeting was held just before the wingshooting clinic where a number of volunteers signed on to establish the chapter and serve as the initial officers. The charter signing occurred a week later and was finalized and approved by the national PF organization at the end of June. As part of the founding, Lisa Engelstad of Bismarck was named the chapter’s first President and looks forward to establishing the Capital City Lady Birds as a conduit for networking women hunters and a force for conservation in North Dakota.
“I’ve been a pheasant hunter for many years and this is an exciting opportunity for women and I wanted to be a part of it, to get it off the ground and make sure it endures for a long period of time,” Engelstad stated, adding that the new chapter appeals to a wide variety of women, “they’re in it for different reasons – some love to hunt, some like the networking opportunity, some just love the outdoors – we want to be a club for all those people,” she concluded.
According to McKeehen, near term goals for the Capital City Lady Birds chapter will include getting on their feet and understanding the PF organization and its habitat mission while growing their membership base through events focused on a variety of outdoor activities including mentored hunts, foraging courses, wild game processing programs, and fishing and spearing events. Long term goals of the new chapter include strengthening the community of outdoorswomen, hosting bigger and better events and learn-to-hunt programs and promoting conservation and land management efforts in North Dakota.
The next meeting of the Capital City Lady Birds PF chapter will take place on July 12 at 6 pm at the Lucky 13 restaurant in Bismarck, where according to Engelstad, ideas for future events and fundraising efforts will be established. For more information on the chapter or to join, contact Renee McKeehen via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (701)220-8769.
(Featured Photo: Members of the new Capital City Lady Birds PF chapter pause for a photo after their charter signing in June. Photo submitted by Renee McKeehen.)