One Quail of a Day: A Guide
There’s only two things (ok, maybe three) that can get you in deep when it comes to bird hunting - the land, the guns, (and dogs). But for those who would prefer to stay married or don’t own a money tree, we’ve compiled the list and an objective review of our top suggestions for the novice-to-avid wing man and woman to visit, hunt, and keep the costs down to a “reasonable” level. These joints book up quickly so if you’re looking to get a hunt in before the end of the season (most run hunts until March 1) then you better get to it.
Note: we’re assessing the properties based on pricing, lodging options, driveability, style of hunt, etc. We have not received any compensation for the reviews listed below. Just our own personal ramblings.
Poplar Springs - $$
Located almost an hour from Charlotte, Poplar Springs is just about as easy as it gets to gather a group of three to four (we recommend three at most) of your buddies together and spend a half-day or more flushing birds. What we’ve called “live action sporting clays”. Poplar Springs does not have a fly pen, so their birds are sourced from a local-ish hatchery and the course is set that morning or afternoon, depending on when you hunt, so they are all-riled up and ready. These birds flush quickly, and fly well. As good as we’ve seen pen-raised and released birds fly. They do have some lodging on the property, but this is truly a day-of spot and your best bet if you’re running on a limited budget and time. For a half-day guided hunt with a 35-bird limit, you’re looking at $580 - split that up amongst the group and it’s close to the cheapest legally-allowed fun there is.
George Hi Plantation - $$$$
If you want to see how the .01% manages and operates a quail plantation, this is what it looks like. You’re going to pay for the privilege, but in our opinion, it’s worth every dollar/rise. With prices for a full-day hunt starting in the neighborhood of $1,500 per hunter per day, you’re seeing the results of what 70+ years of solid dog breeding and habitat management has to offer. Lodging for those who choose to make a real trip out of it is top-notch, with several options on the property, including a large guest house for bigger groups. So if you’re reading this during bonus season or your aunt Mildred just left you with an 8% share of Amazon stock, and you want to buy some land, these are the brains you should pick.
Check them out: https://www.georgehi.com/
Upland Wings Preserve - $$$
Meet the new kid on the block, at least to us. Located in Waterloo, SC, Upland Wings is a relatively new player in the area but you can consider all the boxes checked when it comes to putting on a heck-of-a-show for the experienced or new hunter. Pricing for a group (assume four shooters) is dead-smack in the reasonably-priced spectrum at 40 birds for about $700-ish for a half day hunt. Likely a release and supplemental program, it’s safe to say they are very birdy and your day is going to be action packed. Upland Wings also knocked it out of the park with their lodging options, and when you factor in the full-day price, we’d highly recommend staying the night either pre or post-hunt and really immersing yourselves. All in, it’s an easy trip and they have something to prove to an audience with high-expectations so get in early because we believe they’re doing it right.
Check them out: https://www.scquailhunting.com/
Primland Resort - $$$$
Got the itch to get on some birds, but the Boss Lady and kiddos need to tag along? Maybe you have a big family trip in the works and want to kill six birds with one gun? This is your spot. Located in the bustling metropolis (insert sarcasm) of Meadows of Dan, VA, Primland is the result when a billionaire French family buys a 12,000-acre mountain and turns it into a playground. Yes, they have a world-renowned golf track, kayaking, sporting clays, great restaurants and comfy beds, but we’re here for the hunting and they have that dialed in. The Sporting Club at Primland has been around since the original owners procured the property and have been running hunts on their hillsides since the 1970s. Not only do they release more pheasants in a season than these humble eyes have seen, but they also offer something most preserves and plantations don’t: a hunt with a heck-of-a-view. Suggestion: If you can get a spot, book your hunt in the fall when the trees are on fire - what an experience it is. We’re categorizing Primland on the higher end of our pricing scale since you’re almost guaranteed to need to book a room in the “lodge” or an on-property rental house. As any good resort, they have packages available to help take some of the sting off. Otherwise, you’re looking at around $500 per person for a half-day hunt with a bag limit of 15 quail.
Check them out: https://aubergeresorts.com/primland/orvis-sporting-club
Some other notable preserves and plantations:
Buchanan Shoals - $$$
Technically a private club, Buchanan Shoals does offer quail hunts to non-members also at a very reasonable distance from Charlotte. The best thing about this option: a virtually limitless bag based on your budget thanks to a tried-and-tested management program.
Webb Farm - $$$$
Right up there, if not slightly crazier than, George Hi, Webb Farm is the cream of the crop. If you have it to spend, desire to feel like the owner for the day, and you want the first-class treatment across the board - book a hunt here and get spoiled. (Bonus: it’s only 1.5 hours from Charlotte and some of the best “accessible” quail hunting in the Southeast)
Four Branches - $$
Another fantastic day-hunt option, Four Branches is only about an hour from Charlotte and prices their guided-hunts at roughly $750 for 50 birds - a great deal if you’re going with a smaller group or one-heck-of-a-day for the stone cold killers out there.