The crisp fall air of October enhanced the pheasant hunting experience as Stettler hosted the second Canadian BadlandsPheasant Festival from Oct. 15-18, with a diverse range of activities, which included pheasant hunting, an evening banquet and a culinary experience, introduced this year.
“The objective of the festival has been to aid in the conservation of the ring-neck pheasant as well as to draw tourism to the community,” said Darcy Pollock, chairman, Canadian Badlands Pheasant Festival, Stettler. “I grew up hunting pheasants with my dad and now that I have a little boy I want to create those memories with him.”
The festival kicked off on Thursday with hunters having a field day.
Pollock, along with Lane Stuckey, started delivering crates of pheasants early morning for festival-registered hunters to have a go.
Reflecting on the event, Pollock said, “All the hunters I spoke with really enjoyed the event and are looking forward to next year, and there’s some that want to book for next year’s event already in advance to make sure that they don’t miss out.”
The festival was a four-day event, which featured a half-day pheasant hunt with interactive sessions for people of all ages and backgrounds to enjoy.
“The Canadian Badlands Pheasant Festival, Stettler is a great community event that encourages tourism in our community and the conservation of pheasants,” said Stacey Benjamin, executive director, Stettler Regional Board of Trade. “Although this is the second year, we have already seen an increase in hunters as well as attendees at the banquet.”
Speaking of the event, Benjamin said, “Visiting hunters have an opportunity to not only explore our county, but also to enjoy the Town of Stettler and we have seen people of all ages get involved in the festival from hunting to volunteering.”
Each half-day hunt included the release of eight pheasants with more available for purchase.
With conservation of the Chinese ring-necked pheasants as the main goal, this event has reportedly released over 300 hens to date and chicks have been successfully hatched in the area.
“The committee that hosts this event is a dedicated group of individuals who are passionate about hunting and the conservation of the ring-necked pheasant species, and they work closely with Alberta Conservation to ensure that the pheasants released will have an opportunity to survive,” said Benjamin.
Wild TV attended the banquet, which was a sell-out.
“We had over 200 people attend the banquet this year, which was a real success for this is only our second year,” saidPollock. “All funds raised will go back into the conservation of pheasants.”
The banquet hosted both live and silent auctions.