Written By: Cole Stewart, Primland Resort
Orvis is a proud partner of select wingshooting lodges and outfitters across the country who share our passion for celebrating the adventure and wonder of nature. We created this series to highlight outstanding individuals who work hard to deliver the high-quality wingshooting experiences that clients have come to expect from Orvis-endorsed operations.
I began hunting birds at a young age. Growing up in Northwestern North Carolina, inspiration wasn’t hard to find. My first experience was going for doves with my dad in big corn fields. Watching them come in kept me on the edge of my seat back then, and that feeling has never left me. I’ve been lucky enough to work here at Primland–which is just across the border in Southern Virginia–for seven years now, and this region is still my favorite place to hunt. Our bird habitats are truly breathtaking, emerging from rolling hills and steep terrain of the famous Blue Ridge Mountains, and that really sets us apart from other places along the East Coast.
These days, grouse are my favorite quarry. I really enjoy the sound of the flush, and the intensity of my dogs pointing at the birds. I love the heart and drive of bird dogs, they inspire me more than I ever imagined possible. Watching them work is almost intoxicating, their natural instincts captivate me and inspire me to keep hunting. While I love my German wire-haird Pointer, I’d have to say that Labrador retrievers are my favorites, since they’re such well-rounded dogs. I use my lab Lacy to retrieve birds on our European-style driven shoots here at Primland, and she’s made for a great upland flushing dog. And she’s got one of the best noses I’ve ever seen.
A memory I could never forget was killing my first Virginia grouse. The populations in this area are relatively slim, but the added challenge really drew me in. I will admit to having missed some of the prettiest flushes that anyone could ask for before I finally hit the mark, but those haunting memories always kept me coming back for more.
Cole Stewart is an upland wingshooting guide for Primland Resort in Meadows of Dan, VA.