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Quail hunting safety

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February 13, 2006

Terrell County -- Quail hunting is a multi million dollar industry in South Georgia. Thousands of visitors, including Vice President Cheney, come here to hunt every year. Plantation hosts constantly stress safety to avoid accidents.

Partridge Pea Plantation Manager Bubba Warren starts the hunt off with a simple message. "Safety is the most important thing." Before a guest ever gets in the South Georgia woods with the dogs and a gun, he gets a lesson in safety.

 Partridge Pea, like most every plantation, starts every hunt with a safety video, going over the basics. Partridge Pea owner Dr. Glenn Dowling says "Whether they are a 50 year old hunter, or a first week hunter, everybody has to have safety instruction before they go into the field."

Once on the hunt, the shotgun is the key to a safety. Plantation Manager Bubba Warren said "The most important thing is Muzzle control. That muzzle is pointing down at the ground, you shooting an over and under you drop two shells, bring the heel of this gun up, if it misfires or accidentally goes off, it shoots into the ground."

The guide controls the hunt, and makes sure the guests know their safe field of fire. Warren says " You Shoot eye level and above. If you are the hunter on the right, you've got from 12 O-clock to three O-clock, and a ninety degree safe zone there. I'm the hunter on the left, and I've got from 12 O-clock to 9 O-clock to shoot there."

When a covey flushes, the hunter's skill decides the bird's fate. But it can't be successful if someone gets hurt. Warren said "When we produce a good safe hunt, at the end of the day, that's when everybody sits back and has great memories."

Bird hunting brings millions of dollars into Southwest Georgia's economy every year, and is a growing industry.

Keeping their customers safe is the most essential responsibility for the host plantations.

The Quail Unlimited Celebrity Hunt has been hosted in Albany for 20 years and has never had a shooting accident.

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