Celebrities flock to So. GA for Quail Unlimited - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Celebrities flock to So. GA for Quail Unlimited

By Jim Wallace - bio | email 

Worth County, GA (WALB) –  South Georgia's biggest marketing event continues to bring in millions of dollars to the region.

The 25th Annual Quail Unlimited Celebrity Conservation Hunt again brought dozens of actors, musicians, and athletes to South Georgia.

Hundreds of other people are in town to hunt with those celebrities. For a quarter century the event has spread the word about quail hunting in the Albany area... helping it grow into a multi-million dollar industry.

Quail Unlimited is moving its national headquarters to Albany. It's more proof that South Georgia one of the top bird hunting destinations in the world. Economic experts are confident that kind of publicity will make help the tourist industry here grow.

Former Brave Ryan Klesko and other Celebrity Hunt guests enjoy a day of quail hunting at frosty Southern Woods plantation. Lifetime friendships are often fostered in these hunts.

"A good covey rise, or just a single bird coming up in the pine trees. Look there, that dog's pointing guys. We got a point right here..." Klesko said.

 "This is the quail capitol of the world, period, " said Sam Klement.

Southern Woods owner Gene Bishop says Quail Unlimited and this celebrity hunt have made South Georgia quail hunting big business. "It's brought in more awareness. It used to just be a family sport. A family operation. Now it's bringing people from all over the world."

Joe Hosmer of Texas hunted with his old English side lock shotgun, made in the late 1800's. One of the leaders with Safari Club International Foundation, Hosmer says South Georgia's image is golden.

"We are involved with hunting all over the world, and South Georgia, the plantation belt, is known to us and all the good wing shooters around the world as the place to go for quail," Hosmer said.

Now with Quail Unlimited's national headquarters moving to Albany, the hunting industry's impact is expected to follow.

 "It will grow. With this association, with these other people that we are getting involved with," said QU Board of Directors member Gene Hartman.

And after getting to know South Georgia, some of these visiting hunters, like actor Patrick Kilpatrick, decide to do business here.

"In fact we have two movies my production company, that we hope to bring to Georgia. I love it down here," Kilpatrick said.

Klesko has been a celebrity hunter since 1994, and now hosts his own TV hunting show. "So I kinda consider this home."

More publicity going out about South Georgia quail hunting, helping the multi million dollar industry to grow even larger. 

Quail Unlimited nearly went bankrupt during the economic crash two years ago, but now with their move to Albany, business experts feel the organization is well on it's way to recovery, and South Georgia's hunting industry will benefit with MORE jobs and economic growth.

The celebrity hunters will hold an auction tonight at Darton College sponsored by Winchester, and then another day of hunting for the celebrities tomorrow. The Covey Finale dinner event takes place Saturday night at 7:30 at Darton's Sports Complex. It's sponsored by Budweiser.

More details now on quail-

  • There are six species, and the Bobwhite Quail is the most common in the United States.
  • They get their name from the familiar "Bob-Bob-White" call males use to attract hens.
  • Bobwhites are ground dwelling birds and feed mainly on insects.
  • They can fly short distances at 20 to 40 miles per hour.
  • During the fall, the birds form into social groups called coveys. This helps them avoid predators.
  • The life span of a Bobwhite Quail is less than a year.

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