Loran Smith: CoveyRise

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Loran Smith: CoveyRise

Loran Smith
Loran Smith

In the last fortnight, with quail season in full swing, I had the good fortune to receive an invitation from my old friend, Patrick Jones, to spend time at a place called CoveyRise which is a little less than nine miles from the Camilla Airport.

When you come to CoveyRise, the main attraction is quail hunting, and I am one who cannot get enough of that.  With birthdays accumulating there is a back that gets cantankerously sore after walking the woods and fields and legs that are far from what they were when I was a college sophomore.  But the thrill from the immersion into the woods, fields, and birddogs on a point still makes one revere and seek respite in the Great Outdoors.





At the end of each day, I say a prayer of Thanksgiving for the experience and will be anxious to return for another outing in the next year, forever grateful for the edifying outdoor venture.

I remember asking the great Ted Williams, who some say was not only the greatest hitter, but also the greatest fisherman, how much he missed fishing.  He was in his final years and got about on a walker.  He paused following the question and hung his head in deep reverence.

“Oh, God, how I miss it.”  There was an extended moment of silence, and I thought he was going to cry.  He didn’t but I could see the hurt on his face that he could not cast for a bonefish, or a tarpon, or an Atlantic salmon.





My friend, Homer Harding, of Pierre,South Dakota, retired his Black Benelli shotgun, which he used to hunt pheasant for years, at age 98.  Even with an outdoor life that many would envy, it still hurt these two men when age robbed them of the fulfillment of fishing and hunting.

Simply riding to CoveyRise, from the Camilla-Mitchell County airport, there is an adrenaline rush.  Knowing what awaits brings about elevated emotions.  

Fields which are being turned over in preparation for spring planting cause one to remember the days down on the farm and appreciation for planting, growing, and harvesting.

Upon arrival at CoveyRise, you are overwhelmed as you take inventory of the scenes that make your day.  The sweeping view down to the waters of the Flint River, whose banks are populated by moss draped oaks and tall pines which give character to the view.

The Flint rises in East Point, flows underneath the runways of the Atlanta Airport, certainly not an auspicious start, and flows 344 miles into deep South Georgia.  That will always be a memorable factoid.

Robin Singletary and his son, Brian, own and run CoveyRise and offer their guests not only the best in quail hunting, but they also treat hunters and guests to the best in down home cooking and a social down on the banks of the Flint.

Raw and baked oysters, which they call “oysters-red-neck-e-feller.”  To take pause by the Flint in jeans and a hunting jacket and watch the Flint, a lazy river at this point, flow by with all sorts of birds flying over, including an eagle, is a signature outdoor moment.

Mealtime is a high time at CoveyRise.  Meals are fulfilling as well as filling and there is great variety—from fried quail to turnip greens to pancakes to banana pudding.

Before supper, there is always down time by a roaring fire in the “Great Room,” which is a spacious lodge hall with photos of birddogs and quail scenes.

A roll call of guides is in order: Every one of them is courteous, hospitable and know their stuff:  Chandler Corine, Nathan Newman, David West, Aubrey Justice, Colby Ledbetter, Andre Hornsby, Brad Timmins, Jeff Fulford and John Helms.

They hunt with dogs named, Whitney, a setter; Rose, a pointer; Franci, also a pointer; Duggan, a Britney Spaniel and Deacon, an English Cocker Spaniel.

My, my what a team.

Those dogs CAN hunt.  At any given moment, you will see them bounding about and suddenly come to an abrupt halt.  Their stance becomes rigid, the left front foot folded under their breast and their tail as rigid as a Marine at parade rest.

I’d come here just to see that scene, but there is more.  Your guide leads you up to the focal point and encroaches on the covey which suddenly explodes into the air.

Shots ring out. Supper falls to the ground.  You don’t ever want this experience to be one and done.





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