Thursday, July 24 2014 11:46 PM EDT2014-07-25 03:46:21 GMT
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night.More >>
Former Associated Press writer Jim Purks shared his experiences with people in Albany Thursday night. More >>
Dougherty County -- Southwest Georgia is well known for it's outstanding Quail hunting. Not only is it a popular sport, but it's also a big business.
Thousands of visitors come to Southwest Georgia every fall and winter, bird hunting. Now one Dougherty County plantation has been named the best bird hunting destination by a company recognized the top judge of sporting tradition.
Quail hunting at Wynfield Plantation in Western Dougherty County. Wynfield employees hold up the banner they won this week, when their plantation was named the Orvis-endorsed Wing Shooting Lodge of the Year. General Manager Bill Bowles said "It's a tremendous honor, and I'm not sure it's sunk in yet."
One of the oldest and largest specialized hunting companies, Orvis only endorses 24 bird hunting plantations in the world, and Wynfield was named the best in the business. Bowles said "Representing Albany, Georgia and all of the state of Georgia, for something we have been noted for, for many many years, which is bobwhite quail."
Every year thousands of paying customers come to South Georgia from October to March, for what is recognized the best quail hunting anywhere. That means millions of dollars in economic impact on the region. Bowles said "When quail season opens, it's amazing the number of jets and private aircraft sitting at the airport tarmac, people coming from all over the world, not just the United States, to Albany, Georgia to quail hunt."
Dog Trainer Randy Hickman said "They are more valuable to us as hunting companions than they are as just a dog." Wynfield is also endorsed by Orvis for their bird dog training and kennel.
This litter of setters is in the first days of training. Hickman said "It starts by doing exactly what we are doing, socializing the puppies. Just handling them, fooling with them."
By next fall these puppies will be part of the tradition that brings hunters to South Georgia for the best quail hunting. Winning the Orvis Lodge of the Year award will attract more sportsmen from around the world to Wynfield and Southwest Georgia, and help build on the sports economic impact.
Wynfield Plantation is 15 years old, and is owned by Bowles, the Robert B. Lee family, former NFL Quarterback Heath Shuler, and CLay Shaw.