Wingshooting at Harris Springs

I just left Harris Springs Sportsman Preserve down in Waterloo, South Carolina, deep in the pine and Harwood Piedmont region in the northwest part of the state, the transition region that buffers the Appalachian range from the coastal plain. It is a quiet and unassuming lodge in a quiet and unassumingly beautiful part of the south.

It is a small lodge. They only take eight hunters at a time at most, but if ever there was a poster child of the axiom quality not quantity, it is Harris Springs. My son Nick and I came in late Sunday night after driving 24 hours down from Vermont. No one was there, as it was the day after Christmas, but manager Mark Seay had remained in constant contact with us on our way down. The gate was unlocked and the Rock House was waiting for us.

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Picking Up My New Pup, Murph

Saturday night, my oldest son Nick and I began a 3000 mile road trip to pick up the next member of the family: a six-week old black Lab puppy. His name will be Murph in honor of Bob Murphy, a good friend, a great sportsman, and a true gentleman, something I hope his namesake will become in the next few years.

Murph will become the fifth Labrador we’ve had in this family. The first was Mushroom, a yellow who was our first dog after Mimi and I got married. He lived up in the deer camp with us before we were married.

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Wingshooting at Deer Creek Lodge

If ever there was time to get your money’s worth in wingshooting, it’s now at Deer Creek Lodge in Sebree, Kentucky. In talking with Sales Manager David Krawczynski, he informed me the Orvis-Endorsed Wingshooting Lodge of the Year for 2006-2007 is offering a three-for-the-price-of-two promotion until the end of the season in March. Bring three hunters and pay for two. This is all-inclusive except for gratuities and license.

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Quail in the Epicenter of Plantation Hunting

Rio Piedra hunters benefit from thousands of acres of managed habitat.

Bill Atchison is justifiably proud of Rio Piedra. Year after year it wins awards—including the Orvis Wingshooting Lodge of the Year award an unprecedented three times. That’s purely based on customer feedback. In 2009 it won the Sporting Classics Hunting Lodge of the Year.

His secret? . . .

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New Farm Added to Harpole’s Upland Program

Harpole's Heartland Lodge
Harpole’s Heartland Lodge

Gary Harpole of Harpole’s Heartland Lodge and I were talking Friday, and he was pretty enthusiastic about a new 450-acre farm that he just added to the other 2,000 acres in his upland program.

“This is all CRP land in native grasses and has been managed for wild quail in the past. It has gently rolling hills and some tree lines and fencerows, and has that kind of ‘hunting Uncle Charlie’s’ farm feel to it. It’s only ten minutes away, and we’ve been improving it with food plots. Our upland hunters. . .

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Praise for Primland Lodge

Primland Lodge
Primland Lodge

The Orvis Board of Directors meeting was held in Roanoke last week. Afterward, they spent a few days at Primland, one of our endorsed hunting lodges located on the front range of the Blue Ridge in southern Virginia. Since their return, I have heard nothing at the lunch table but praises for Primland, and in particular the new lodge.

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Pheasant Hunts at Highland Hills Ranch

Pheasant hunting at Highland Hills Ranch
Pheasant hunting at Highland Hills Ranch

I just got off the phone with Dennis McNabb of Highland Hills Ranch, a western wingshooting lodge located in the high desert region of eastern Oregon. A factor that plays a big part in their success.

“We only get about 10 inches of rain a year,” said Dennis, “but the location is a big plus for bird hunters as our February and March weather is no different from our October and November weather. We’re really not that high either and we have good water resources here. Contrary to popular belief we don’t get buried in snow and our hunting seasons have generally great weather throughout the fall and winter months.”

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Expert Tips on Buying a Used Shotgun


If you plan to buy a used double barrel shotgun anytime soon, you’ll want to listen to the latest Double Barrel Podcast with Bruce Bowlen, Orvis’ Head Shooting Instructor at the Orvis Wingshooting School in Manchester, Vermont. It offers invaluable and in depth advise. Here are excerpts from the Podcast to give you some of Bruce’s great tips.

Click the play button below to listen to Expert Tips on Buying a Used Shotgun. Go to to subscribe to future episodes

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Get More Time in the Field: Plan Annual Trips

Seve Hunt III
Annual Seve Commermorative Hunt
Mike Quartararo

All of us who have experienced a good day afield with dogs working and birds flushing feel anticipation as each fall bird season approaches. Leaves start to fall, the temperatures starts to drop and memories of wonderful times spent outdoors with friends and dogs enters into the mind. The question is: How do you make time to get out there as much as possible?

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