Pheasants Forever’s National Pheasant Fest 2010 kicks off in Des Moines this Friday and runs through 5PM on Sunday evening.  It’s the organization’s biggest stage, and attractions will range in scope from habitat to hunting and bird dogs to art.  Here are the top 10 things I’m excited to check out this weekend at Pheasant Fest.

10. Miss Pheasant Fest.  Miss Iowa will be joining the Iowa Trapper’s Association in their booth at Pheasant Fest on Saturday from 11AM to 5PM.  No, seriously.  Be there.

9. Jared Wiklund’s big break.  I love seeing dreams come true and at 1PM on Friday, our department’s intern gets his big break as emcee of the Bird Dog Parade kicking off Pheasant Fest.

8. Cooking tips.  I enjoy cooking wild game and am looking forward to gaining a few tips from Machine Shed Chef Roger Johnson (Friday at 2PM in Seminar Room 5) and Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge Chef Carl Hawkinson (1 hour seminars each of the show’s three days).

7. Missouri Quail & SoDak RoostersTwo seminars I’ve got my eyes on are Bill White’s (Missouri Department of Conservation) talk on quail habitat and Tommy Kirschenmann’s (South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks) talk about South Dakota pheasant mythology and truths.

6. Ask a Vet.  Stop by the Intervet booth at any time during the show and you’ll be able to get any canine medical answers you need.

5. Speaking of Dogs.  I love bird dogs; particularly my German shorthair pointer from Top Gun Kennels.  I’m looking forward to checking in with Steve Ries of Top Gun Kennels and Native performance dog foods.  I’m also anxious to take in seminars from world renowned trainers and SportDOG prostaffers Tom Dokken and Rick Smith.

4. Blue Dog Debut.  Did I mention that I love bird dogs?  Here’s one more.  The Blue Picardy Spaniel will be making its Pheasant Fest debut during the Bird Dog Parade.  Never heard of a Blue Picardy before?  Me neither.  Wonder if they are really blue?

3. Storm Reports.  In the spirit of Federal’s launch of Prairie Storm, be sure to check out Pheasants Forever’s Facebook fan page throughout Pheasant Fest.  Anthony Hauck and I will be posting “Storm Reports” (Pheasant Fest video reports) throughout the weekend.

2. Big News about CRP?  USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack will be the keynote speaker at the Pheasant Fest noon luncheon on Saturday.  He’s hinted about bringing us some big news about the future of CRP.  Our pheasants, quail, and members are all ears.

1. Seeing good friends.  Pheasants Forever accomplishes our habitat mission because of good people.  I’m most looking forward to catching up with a bunch good people.  Some folks I’ll be making a point of connecting with at Pheasant Fest are: