This article is featured in the Summer 2022 issue of Texas LAND magazine. Click here to find out more.
The cackle of a rooster flushing out of waist-high grass in Kansas is a sound that John Leo Hayden has enjoyed for 65 years. As the founder of Hayden Outdoors Real Estate, Leo, and his sons Dax and Seth, have always had a great passion for the land and the wildlife that call rural America home. It was in the last decade that the real estate company expanded its operations across the country and diversified its real estate offerings. One thing has remained a core value with the leadership of Hayden Outdoors…the importance of working with farmers and ranchers. They are the best land stewards to improve conservation, identify the highest and best use of land and preserve and improve land for wildlife and agriculture.
This spring, at the Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever annual Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic in Omaha, Nebraska, the Hayden Outdoors team handed a check for $234,000 to Pheasants Forever’s Director of Development, Jordan Martincich, and Pheasants Forever representatives. This donation will help to increase pheasant and wildlife habitat on farmland pivot corners as part of the Colorado “Corners for Conservation” and Kansas “Corners for WIldlife” programs. It’s unheard of that a real estate company and its agents collectively donate funds of this magnitude to directly improve wildlife habitats.
“It’s part of the American tradition. We live in a country where people have participated in the great outdoors. It’s an inherent part of what we do,” says Martincich. “The uplands and the North American grasslands, including our prairies, are one of the most threatened ecosystems in the World. In the last ten years alone, we have lost 50 million acres of grassland habitat in North America. Hayden Outdoors has come on board with our organization (Pheasants Forever) over the last couple years and is a tremendous advocate and supporter of this cause.”
Hayden Outdoors’ managing partner Dax Hayden has made it a permanent mission of the company to continue a tradition of land and habitat conservation by working alongside the agents and brokers of his family’s real estate brokerage. Their efforts span multiple regions with the launch of a more diversified fundraising effort.
“It’s always been my passion to hunt pheasants with my family. We love to grow habitat and do our part to improve and share our love of the outdoors. We always say we raise more birds than we harvest. It’s something that has been a family tradition for over 80 years. My grandpa, my dad, my brother, my son, and our whole family have cherished the memories,” says Hayden, who directs over 200 agents and staff in 27 states.
“Their donations help boost the program to make it possible to pay for diverse seed mixtures and a landowner payment in exchange for establishing upland game bird and wildlife habitat,” says Martincich. “To date, Hayden Outdoors gift has provided financial support that helped enroll 390 corners totalling 2,739 acres of wildlife habitat, boosting the total Corners program, in Colorado and Kansas, to over 4,500 acres of land conservation!”
The Hayden team looks to expand their support for conservation efforts for more species and habitats in rural areas across the country. Hayden continued his passionate message saying, “We look to make a difference, not just talk about it. Our agents donate a certain amount per real estate closing, and Hayden Outdoors matches that amount. We then give those funds to chosen habitat organizations and youth-based philanthropies across the country. It’s a win-win for all parties involved, and we are excited to continue to do our part to improve our great lands.”
Hayden Outdoors is also committed to working with landowners to improve and enhance the diversity of the landscape with good conservation. John Leo Hayden echoed his son’s sentiments, “Our youth need deer, pheasants, turkeys, and elk! They need time in the great outdoors with family and friends. This rich tradition runs deep in our country, and we must preserve it.”