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Waiting for the Red Hat to Rise

By February 26, 2024One Comment
Quail Hunting

Waiting for the Red Hat to Rise

Riding horses in the pine forest of Sinkola Plantation, I eagerly awaited when William, our hunt master, raised his red hat over his head. The signal that a dog was on point and it was time to dismount, grab a shotgun, and get ready for the covey rise. I was unprepared for a dozen or more native quail to rush out of the bushes simultaneously. They launched from in front of me in a flurry as I tried to mount my gun and pick one. During my first time up, I’m unsure if I even got a shot off, but I discovered why the rush of the rise is addictive.

How I got there:

I was invited to this event by Fiocchi Ammunition. It was an honor to be in the company of other sportsmen and women and to test out the Baschieri & Pellagri Upland Pheasant loads.

About Sinkola Plantation:

Steeped in history and southern culture, Sinkola Plantation is a time capsule of hunting history. Located in Thomasville, Georgia, Sinkola is known for its working dogs and amazing property management. It is an authentic southern quail hunting plantation steeped in tradition. In the heart of what is called the Red Hills area, it is known for having the highest densities of wild Bobwhite quail. This area is the gold standard for hunting native quail. Having my first quail hunt at Sinkola seems like starting at the top. After such a great experience, what would I have to look forward to?

The Hunt:

Hunting at Sinkola is not a high-volume hunt. These quail are all native, and Sinkola property management ensures that the wild Bobwhite quail can thrive. A typical day is spent riding horseback, following the Hunt Master and a Scout, watching the dogs work, and waiting your turn. A Mule-drawn wagon pulls the dog kennels and anyone who doesn’t want to ride a horse. As I rode through the pines on the horse, I was taking in all the smells and sounds of the hunt. Feeling blessed to have the opportunity and leaving all the worries of my daily life behind, I felt the connection to the natural world that I crave as an outdoor sportswoman.

Our morning hunts were cool and breezy, warming as the sunlight pierced through the pines. Sinkola served lunch at the lake pavilion,  a delightful southern meal for the hunger hunters. It’s a much-needed break and a great way to refresh and refuel before mounting up for the afternoon hunt. The dogs pointed on five or six coveys for each hunt, giving each team a respectable amount of time on the gun. Our two teams managed to bag five or six quail each day.

What I learned on my first native quail hunt:

Throughout the hunt, I learned many lessons.  But the number one that comes to mind is to try something new. I was nervous about going and not being good enough; we all struggle with that at some point in our journey. I learned I can do new things and that you only miss the shots you don’t take. Hunting quail is a fast-moving experience. Watching others is a great way to learn what to do and what not to do. Watching out for the safety of others is a top priority when moving through the woods and trying to shoot quickly.

It was so helpful to have William say, “Break your gun.” I followed directions well. The experience was more significant than the number of birds taken. I learned to let a low bird go in the name of the safety and protection of the dogs. The Beretta Silver Pigeon Over and Under Shotgun was the perfect choice for walking, loading, reloading, and breaking a gun for safety. The 20 gauge Baschieri&Pelligri Upland Pheasant load was a pleasure to shoot. The shotshells worked flawlessly in my gun, had consistent patterns, and had very low recoil.

My Gear:

The Beretta Silver Pigeon 686 O/U 20 gauge was the perfect shotgun for the event. I wore the new Beretta Boondock Field pant and jacket set designed for women, and I loved its performance. The pants fit great with an elastic waist, multiple pockets, and a brush-proof panel on the front and back of the leg. The jacket was perfect for breaking the cooler breeze and keeping me warm without being bulky. Lastly, I also loved using B&P Upland Pheasant shells because of the low recoil and enough energy for a more extended shot, which worked great in my shotgun.

If you ever get a chance to hunt the native Bobwhite quail of the Red Hills in South Georgia, don’t hesitate to do it. It’s one of the most unforgettable hunting experiences ever. I am so grateful for the opportunity from Fiocchi and all the other guests at the lodge who supported my first hunt. There is something so special about a shared experience with others, especially when it’s in the great outdoors.

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