Shortly after I moved to Kansas City, I was short on hunting buddies. I don't mind hunting alone now and then (in fact sometimes it's incredibly therapeutic), but it's usually more fun to share it with someone. So I decided to join a conservation organization, in hopes of finding some like-minded souls to chase tail (of the winged variety).
I probably could have joined any of the various organizations, but I picked Quail Unlimited (Chapter 13, now a fitting name), mainly because it catered to the species of bird I enjoy hunting most. It was a good experience -- I met some good hunting partners and I was even drafted into a stint on the local Board of Directors. I got a great deal of satisfaction spending time and money helping to grow the organization -- both nationally and locally. I even got the rare treat of attending the Celebrity Hunt one year on a south Georgia plantation.
A couple of months ago, I began receiving emails and phone calls from friends and associates that filled me in on the bad juju going on at QU National. Rocky Evans, one of the founders of QU and longtime President, had resigned under pressure. Craig Alderman, a PR/marketing hack and career journeyman in the outdoor industry, was elevated to prez.
Accusations of debt, mismanagment, misappropriation, foreclosure, graft, and other skullduggery are rampant. QU apparently no longer owns its sprawling South Carolina HQ anymore, and I got an email today urging me to join the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, the supposed phoenix destined to rise from the QU ashes.
Thanks, but I'll keep my hand on my wallet. I'm pissed off for QU wasting my time, money, and credibility for the better part of a decade. I'm even more pissed off that the regional directors, wildlife biologists, hunters, and conservationists are left holding the bag for this gross mismanagement by a bunch of selfish assholes that found a profit center in charity.
And mostly, I'm pissed off that the bird that needs it most is once again the ultimate loser.