Celebrating The Life and Humor of Kim “Sweet Home” Price
I remember the first time I ever met Kim Price. It was at SHOT Show in 2005. Pheasants Forever was investigating the formation of Quail Forever and Kim owned Covey Rise, the nation’s only monthly publication dedicated exclusively to the bobwhite quail.
“I bet you couldn’t even hit a quail over a pointed covey,” Kim poked me. “Son, after shooting those basketball-sized pheasants all fall long, a covey of quail would eat you alive.”
It turns out Kim was right about my shooting prowess, but he grossly underestimated the survival instincts of a flushing rooster.
“B Saint P, that basketball was hummin’,” Kim giggled after a rooster flushed behind two empty barrels of his over/under a few years later on a South Dakota prairie.
Kim was a man who favored over/under shotguns, laughed easily, recognized good habitat, loved bird dogs, enjoyed writing and appreciated solid journalism; which is to say we were fast friends.
Around the marketing department, my team affectionately referred to Kim as “Sweet Home” referencing his Alabama roots, southern drawl and steadfast support for our PR efforts. As you probably heard, or inferred by now, Kim passed away last week after a lengthy battle against cancer. He was a champion for quail and for pheasants, he was the epitome of a professional, and he is a friend I will miss forever.
I conducted the following Q&A for a blog post last year. I thought it appropriate for all of you to learn a little more about my friend Kim from his own words.
Kim N. Price
Born in what town: Alexander City, Alabama
Current Town of Residence: Alexander City, Alabama
Family: Wife, Janet; Chilluns, Whitney, Matt, Chase, & Griffin
Occupation: Owner and President of Price Publications, Inc. , publishers of three weekly newspapers and Covey Rise, national quail hunting publication
Dogs: Baxter, a Boykin Spaniel and Herkimer, Collie/lab mix
Favorite place to pheasant hunt: South Dakota
Favorite place to quail hunt: Thomasville, Georgia
Favorite pheasant hunting shotgun: Beretta Lightweight 12- gauge
Favorite quail hunting shotgun: Browning Citori 28-gauge
Best pheasant hunt of your life was: My first time six years ago in Clark, South Dakota, and my last time in Kansas.
Best quail hunt of your life was: Albany, Texas at the Stasney Cook Ranch. We saw probably 60 coveys on the roads driving into the ranch, and over the next two days the dogs found about 70 coveys.
How did you first get involved with Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever? I was asked to serve on the national board to help institute Quail Forever as part of a national organization seeking to restore quail populations across the Northern Bobwhite’s landscape. I also serve as treasurer now.
What is your favorite aspect about serving on the National Board? Conservation is my life and PF/QF is truly all about conservation. Our board is made up of dedicated conservationists who give of their time to work on important conservation issues whether locally at a chapter meeting, at a quarterly national board meeting, a committee meeting or working on pushing conservation issues in Washington, D.C.
What is the single biggest challenge facing Pheasants Forever in the future?
My biggest concern not just for PF/QF, but for all conservation organizations is the loss of critical conservation programs in the 2012 Farm Bill. That one issue is the great challenge for Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever. Fortunately, PF/QF is the hands-down leader in conservation work in Washington on the Farm Bill and PF/QF has an awesome respect among the decision-makers – I know because I’ve seen it in person. It’s about habitat. The loss of sensitive brood rearing habitat and food cover areas that could get plowed under due to a lack of Farm Bill program funding could be disastrous. The Conservation Reserve Program alone helped return pheasant populations to the landscape and without CRP and other conservation-friendly programs, pheasants, quail and other upland species are in for a rough time down the road.
Times are bleak for America’s bobwhite quail. What is it going to take to turn the tide?
Habitat restoration. I know that sounds basic, but it is. States with on-the-ground programs are making a difference using federal and state programs available to landowners. That is key. Since the 1980s bobwhite quail have lost much of their reproductive and successional habitat. Farming practices changed, timber practices changed and fire was removed from the habitat for too long. That closed the timber canopy – ever heard of Kudzu – and quail had no place to live under the tall Southern pine forests. Predators began dominating the shadows and populations started declining in the 70s. By the 1980s, some states, like my own Alabama, had seen as much as 80 percent to 90 percent loss of bobwhite populations. That is significant. Quail Forever’s goal is to get as many on-the-ground chapters working with as many individual landowners on a contiguous basis to promulgate quail restoration. Along with state wildlife quail biologists – many who serve on the National Bobwhite Technical Committee – and federal agencies like the Farm Service Agency, we can work together to make this happen. In a perfect world, the “Deep South” would have just as many Farm Bill biologists helping landowners plan, plant and burn so the landscape benefits Mr. Bob. I asked FSA Administrator Jonathan Coppess at the recent Pheasant Fest in Omaha if it is possible for states and FSA to team up with QF chapters to get these Farm Bill biologists on the ground. He said he would work to help us notify his state managers in the south. That cooperation is what it will take because it represents the biggest opportunity for faster landscape change. Then, we will see bobwhite populations return. They may never get back to the 1960s, but they’ll be back to a point you can go on the back porch and hear that ole man whistle again.
I’ll miss you Sweet Home. I’ll rejoin you down the road for a hunt, so remember to leave a few birds in those coveys for seed.