I feel your frustration. I am not only the President of the North American Gamebird Association (NAGA), but I am a gamebird producer. As a producer, trying to figure out how many birds to raise this year is driving me crazy. I wish I had an answer for you to help you figure this out. We all know the number of pheasants, quail, chukar, partridge and ducks to raise is dependent on how many birds the hunting preserve’s customers hunt. I know for preserve operators, this pandemic poses new problems. It is difficult to know when hunters will feel comfortable enough to come back to your club this season. It is also difficult to know how the economic downturn caused by the pandemic has affected our customers’ discretionary spending. There are no easy answers.
Less than a month ago, your NAGA Board of Directors formed a Pandemic Protocol Committee to draft a document called the Hunting Preserve Pandemic Protocols (HPPP), found here: NAGA’s Hunting Preserve Pandemic Protocols. The HPPP document describes safety precautions for all aspects of a hunting preserve operation. The intent of the NAGA developed and endorsed HPPP is to provide detailed health safety information to hunting preserve stakeholders – whether customers, guides, bird processors, governing agencies and/or gamebird producers – on how they are to proceed into this new hunting season with confidence that hunting preserves are taking every imaginable measure possible to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Please use this document as you see fit. You may email it to each of your existing customers, customize it and post it on the wall of your hunting preserve, or give it to your local and state authorities so they will promote controlled hunting at NAGA hunting preserves.
Let me stress, this is not guidance or proof that business will return to the same level as last season. It may, or it may not. That is up to you. Hunting preserve operators should not be surprised when gamebird producers ask them to provide the contract numbers earlier than usual this season. Gamebird producers only have a few more weeks to adjust the number of birds they are raising this season. However, gamebird producers should not be surprised when a hunting preserve operator is not ready to give them the numbers of birds they expect to hunt at their clubs this season. What a conundrum! As a game bird producer, I only plan to raise the quantity of birds that I have contracted by June 15. But each producer will need to make that decision for themselves.
Please share this HPPP as you see fit. The more it is distributed, the better off we will be as an industry. This is just one of the many great works done by NAGA during this time of crisis. Now more than ever, NAGA is essential to gamebird farms and hunting preserves. If you have customers that are not members of the North American Gamebird Association, please ask them to join today. Or you can gift your customers a one-year basic membership for only $75 (roughly the cost of five rooster pheasants). I know some of you are leery to have your customers listed in the printed directory, but this is a fair marketplace. The majority of NAGA members act in an ethical way and if your customer service, birds and price are good and fair, you have nothing to fear. NAGA needs as many members as possible because as you know, there is strength in numbers. We strive to represent everyone in the gamebird industry.
I pray the season is safe and prosperous for all of us. Have a good day and hang in there.
Brian L. Beavers
President, North American Gamebird Association