At the upper end of the Red Hills region is a plantation that I’ve now hunted a few times. It’s a fantastic stop on Georgia’s quail trail called Piney Creek Plantation, run by one of my favorite human beings- Allen Ingram.
Quail hunting at Piney Creek is focused on the total experience. That’s how Allen designed it: his costs are all inclusive – there is nothing hidden. $1350 gets you a half day with unlimited birds (more on that in a minute), no cleaning fee, and your birds frozen in a Piney Creek cooler for the drive home. $2450 for a full day, and he’ll feed you lunch. You can get lunch after or before a half day hunt, just ask him when you book.
The lodge is a very well appointed stop with multiple bedrooms, a kitchen, a great room with TONS of taxidermy, and ample outdoor space to enjoy the South Georgia air. When we hunted there were two families with kids who had stayed the night before, and they were all outside playing when we got back. All the kids were worn out, so that answers that…
We booked our hunt about six weeks out, and didn’t have much trouble finding a date that worked for us. Coming from just north of Atlanta, we stayed in Columbus the night before, and drove about 45 minutes down to Dawson in the morning. I was really excited for this hunt, as I was bringing my dad, my brother, and a good buddy that I haven’t had the pleasure of bird hunting with.
All of the administrative parts of a quail hunt at Piney Creek are just right. The buggies are nice, they provide a cooler of waters and some snacks, and there isn’t any hunting-level pressure. My dad hadn’t bird hunted in 25 years, and he was welcomed and encouraged by the staff.
On the staff: the guides at Piney Creek are not just guides, but true sportsmen who are avid hunters themselves. They know when and how to give directions, and when to back off. They are all EXCELLENT with the dogs, and know how to find ample amounts of birds and safely position the pair for the best possible outcome. Our guide for the day was Hootie, who I will ask for every time I go back. He guided us on one of the most productive hunts I’ve encountered.
We hunted on a sultry Sunday morning. It was about 40 when we started and the high was expected to reach around 72 degrees with a chance of rain. This is a bit warm for quail hunting, but not prohibitive.
Hunting at Piney Creek covers a lot of terrain. You’ll walk through just about every type of field that you’d expect in South Georgia, from cut fields to tall pines. The birds don’t discriminate. We hunted in pairs and rotated hunters and fields about every 35-45 minutes. We had serious action as soon as we reached our first stop.
The dogs were extremely birdy all day long. The warmer temperatures didn’t affect their noses, as they were on the coveys lickity-split. The birds flew extremely well, and often. One difference with Piney Creek is the amount of birds. I’ve hunted here a few times, and there are birds everywhere. We all burnt a lot of gunpowder that Sunday morning. We didn’t hit everything, but we did well.
Our flush dogs were Tater and Elvis. The stars of the show…
A callout: With warmer temperatures, there is danger that the dogs will overheat. Serious props to Hootie for taking care of those fine animals. He’d call a dog off if they were showing any signs, and ensured they all had long drinks of water, and dips in any puddles that we came across.
This old girl was the star of the show. She’s 13 and an exemplary bird dog; showing NO signs of slowing down. True love.
On our second-to-last field of the day, we found the mother load of coveys. The dogs were going berzerk, and eventually settled on point behind some brush and a fallen tree. All of a sudden, a ~40 bird covey exploded into the air, and took us all by surprise. WT and I literally couldn’t load our guns fast enough. My dad and brother were helping to spot behind us. Hootie did an excellent job of controlling the chaos, and we chased that covey around for ~45 minutes. We didn’t get ’em all, but quite a few found their way back to the bucket. I will never forget that feeling for the rest of my life. WT, my dad, and my brother have all since enjoyed that memory, and told that story quite a few times.
All in all, I can’t say enough good things about Piney Creek. The hunting and the people are great, and it’s a seriously good value proposition. When someone asks ‘what’s the hunting like down at Piney Creek’, my answer is simple: BIRDS, BIRDS, BIRDS. Followed by bragging on how good their lunch is…talk about some down home cooking…you’ll have to get down there and see what I mean.
We’ll be making our trip to Piney Creek an annual event. There was nothing like being out there with my old man and brother. We’ve played a lot of golf together, we’ve fished together, been to 100 Braves games together, but this is the first time we’ve quail hunted together. It’s like nothing else. The feeling is so fulfilling, and Allen, Hootie, and the rest of the Piney Creek staff helped to create that wonderful memory for our family. We can’t wait to get back.