Why to Attend the Hunting Club Conference: Relationships Matter in a Crisis

While the agenda for the 2024 Hunting Club Conference is absolutely top-notch, the number one reason to attend isn’t listed anywhere – relationships....

Folks who haven’t yet decided to make the trip to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for the 3rd Annual NAGA Hunting Club Conference are likely weighing the perceived value of making the trip versus the cost of travel and the loss of time at work. While the agenda is absolutely top-notch for this year's event, the number one reason to attend isn’t listed anywhere – relationships.

As kids, before we had all our information stored in our hand-held phones, many of our parents had stickers literally on the phone with numbers needed in an emergency: police, fire department, poison control and, of course, mom and dad's work numbers. Knowing who you’re going to call could save lives.

Knowing who to call when a crisis hits your hunting preserve could literally save your business. As the current avian influenza outbreak swelled into epidemic proportions, affected hunting preserves were desperate to find surplus birds in an incredibly tight market. For those clubs that lost their suppliers in the fall, knowing who to call was essential to survival.

One such example involves Wisconsin’s Milford Hills, Silver Level Break Sponsors of the Hunting Club Conference:

“The value of networking and content at the Hunting Club conference is second to none. You won’t find this much information for hunting preserves in such a short period of time anywhere else. The content is great, but the networking is worth the trip alone. After our club was hit with AI during our 2022-2023 season, I was grateful I’d made the connections I did, as there were many clubs and producers that offered assistance to our club so we could find the birds we were looking for. We wouldn’t have had that success if it wasn’t for attending the NAGA conferences and meeting new faces in the industry,” said Taylor Williams, Milford Hills Director of Operations.

Taylor and Lloyd Marks have deepened their engagement with NAGA since their experience. Taylor is now a member of the conference's planning committee, and Lloyd and Taylor have been appointed as chairs of NAGA's new Hunting Preserve Business Continuity Committee. This committee is dedicated to identifying and addressing the most pressing challenges facing hunting clubs. Their increased involvement is a testament to the conference's role in fostering industry collaboration and problem-solving.

NAGA President Mike Martz, who owns a gamebird farm and a hunting preserve in Pennsylvania that suffered an outbreak, echoed Taylor's observation.

“I don’t know how we would’ve survived without the longstanding relationships we’ve had in the industry,” he said. “NAGA members drove thousands of miles to bring us birds to help us get by. I cannot imagine what it would be like to go through this and not know who to call. Relationships developed at the Hunting Club Conference are a major safety net, and perhaps the key reason why you can’t afford to miss this event.”

Sponsorships, vendor space and attendee registration remain open – you can find information here: https://northamericangamebird.com/2024-hunting-club-conference/event-details.

Photo by choochart choochaikupt - iStock