What Are Bird Hunting Preserves And Plantations?
America used to be a nation of farmers. At the beginning of the twentieth century, most people in the United State worked the land or came from farm families. Today, this fact had been flipped. America is more suburban than ever, and few us—just 2%-3%—live on farms or work in agriculture. While economists can argue the pros and cons of this shift, one thing us outdoor types know for sure is few of us can walk out our back doors and go hunting.
As urban sprawl has spread and agricultural techniques have changed, fewer areas offer the type of wild-bird wingshooting our great grandparents enjoyed. As a result, there has been boom in private wingshooting preserves and plantations in the past few years.
Preserving our passion
Wingshooting preserves and plantations are private operations that offer various kinds of bird hunting—all for a fee. Most are 100-1000+ acres in size. The birds they offer are almost all pen raised and then released into the field.
Wherever they're located and whatever type of game they offer, preserves and plantations offer hunters a number of benefits, including:
The experience is the difference
While preserves and plantation have a lot in common, there are also some things that set them apart.
Bucket-list bird hunting
Just as Scotland is famous for driven grouse shooting, Georgia and other parts of the southern U.S. are famous for their traditional quail hunts. These outings combine horses, guides, and dogs with coveys of bobwhite quail to create a genteel experience that's as Southern as oak trees and Spanish moss. To say it's memorable is an understatement.
As a hunter, you'll travel into the field on horseback or comfortably seated in a rocking wagon. In front of you, teams of pointing dogs will flash through wiregrass and towering pines. Once they find a covey and you're in position for a shot, your guides will release flushing dogs—usually cocker spaniels—to push the quail into the air. Your job is to just shoot and at the end of the day pay the bill. And it can be quite a bill.
Price wise, you're looking at around $1,100+ per person, per day, for 12 birds and a top-notch time. And that's on plantations offering a mix of pen-raised and wild game. If you're lucky enough to find an opening at one of the few wild-quail only plantations, expect to pay two to three times that amount. But don't worry, it will be money well spent.
What we love, closer to home
As America grows more urban and suburban, wingshooting preserves and plantations will continue offering hunters an accessible way to pursue their passion. The best operations are as close you can get to classic wild pheasant and quail hunting without travelling to places like South Dakota and west Texas—or back in time to when great bird hunting was right outside our back doors.
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