Covering nearly 600 acres, Orvis Hill Country in Fairfield, Pennsylvania is the latest addition to the Orvis Shooting Grounds Collection – joining the flagship Orvis Sandanona in Millbrook, New York and Orvis Pursell Farms in Sylacauga, Alabama as America’s luxury sporting clays, upland hunting and shooting school destinations.
We closed our bar tab, unplugged phone chargers, and grabbed our sporting hats when our flight was called to board. Menial, yet over-priced, airport champagne was the night-cap I craved for the 8pm flight out of Dallas.
As we boarded the plane, we looked for our assigned seats with elation. Settling in, I reached for my notebook, Andrew opened his iPad, and we were ready for our adventure.
The horn blasts, I look to the sky of burnished blue and pheasants appear over the hillside trees. The birds glide high and fast toward us, riding prevailing winds with gusts like pheasant afterburners.
The volley of shotgun blasts marks another driven hunt as dropped birds get taken up by our eager dogs. I discovered that here at 8,000 feet shotgun shells hold their patterns longer and tighter than at sea level, giving rise to extraordinary wingshooting – although our party includes serious talent.
In early May 2018 I had the distinct pleasure of hunting Doves, Ducks and Perdiz at Los Laureles Lodge in Argentina’s Entre Rios Province along the Parana River. It’s an hour flight northwest of Buenos Aires and a lazy 75-minute drive from either the Santa Fe or Parana airport. The lodge, services, cuisine, and hunting proved superb.
When it comes to salvaging Florida treasures we picture deep-sea heroes scouring Davey Jones’ locker for pirate gold. Although Amelia Island boasts a 400 year history as a pirate stronghold, a modern day salvage job has taken place right over the bridge at Amelia Shotgun Sports in Yulee.
No these doves don’t live in volcanoes, but they are thriving around them, and I’m talking the Central American country of Nicaragua. Our party was making the shotguns roar not far from Granada – a town near the shores of Lake Nicaragua – that huge body of water that has some close relationship with the volcanoes – as does the lodge where we were staying – Mombacho – that lodge named for Mombacho Volcano that looks down on this place where we stayed.
Jacking up a 13-bedroom cabin from its foundation to retrofit underground luxury men’s and ladies’ locker rooms, fitness center and sauna within a nine-month timetable shows the real chops of Griffin & Howe CEO, Steve Polanish and his predecessor Guy Bignell as their Hudson Farm sporting grounds fulfills its new calling: “How a Legacy is Crafted.”
Add the Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Lake Oconee to the select register of luxury resorts to capitalize on the rise in popularity of social clays shooting.
With its new Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds, the Ritz Carlton at Reynolds Lake Oconee, located in Greensboro, Georgia (80 miles east of Atlanta) has joined other multi-star, clays-appointed properties such as Primland, The Preserve at Boulder Hills, Blackberry Farm, The Homestead, The Greenbrier, Nemacolin and Barnsley Resort.
Although capercaillie and black grouse are the highlights of the Russian spring hunting season, other game birds are also legal that time of year including geese, ducks and woodcock.
The Russian spring season on geese is very much open and is an extremely popular affair. Hunting is done in the traditional manner, from blinds with decoys on the fields where the birds feed. However, the caveat is that wide open spaces that make good resting stations for migrating geese are seldom located anywhere near good grouse habitat in case you’re interested in adding them to your bag.
Argentina is widely known as a wingshooter’s paradise. The Cordoba region is synonymous with “doves galore,” but in the province of Entre Rios you can vary your hunting experience with perdiz (partridge) and ducks. The limits on pigeon, perdiz and ducks are generous, and on doves there’s no limit at all (in Argentina, they are pests that do immeasurable damage to agriculture). Hunting is the most efficient of legal crop protection methods, and hunters are often farmers’ only hope.
The town of Albany figures large in Southern Georgia’s legendary bobwhite quail culture. Most of the year Albany hosts some 76,000 everyday residents, but from November through February the local Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is jam-packed with high-net-worth luxury personal jets conveying quail hunters, their dogs, shotguns, family, friends and business associates,
Even though Anne Kania is owner of the new wingshooting retreat and shooting academy for women called Joy of Hunting, she may in fact be one of the best relationship gurus for couples.
There is no shortage of pheasant hunting lodges in South Dakota. Yet one lodge seems to rise to the top as an Orvis Endorsed Lodge in 2009 and Orvis Wingshooting Lodge of the year and in 2016.
The legendary Matarese family continues its winning ways as their M&M Hunting & Sporting Clays – home of champion Anthony Matarese, Jr. and venue for top clays competitions – exerts their presence of three generations in the industry with an expansion of “fair chase” hunting complemented by old-world luxe lodging within earshot of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest cities.