Sport Shop guide Michael Pepi has traveled throughout the Americas stalking fish and game in some truly wild, exotic, and prime habitats from Argentina, Alaska, and Hawaii to South Dakota and Texas. So when he unequivocally states that Cabin Bluff is one of the most spectacular places he has hunted, it’s a strong statement. In Pepi’s field report from the oldest private hunting lodge in the American South, he gives us a window into a truly timeless wingshooting experience. From the quail hunting and the wild turkey habitat to the traditional dog training operation, Pepi gives us the straight perspective on his trip to another stellar hunting destination. –LYA Editor
Words by Michael Pepi, Images by Motofish
Cabin Bluff is one of the most unique and spectacular places I have ever hunted. The atmosphere is second to none and the staff is very detail-oriented. Cabin Bluff, located in southern Georgia, holds a myriad of events for their guests to enjoy. Their property encompasses 24,000 -acres, allowing them- to have sporting clays, 5-stand, fishing both inshore and off, a six-hole golf course, and of course great hunting.
Cabin Bluff’s main attraction to me was the quail. Owning and training English setters, and having hunted quail in different regions of Georgia, I can recognize that this lodge is special. The guide staff monitors and regulates the hunting habitat by controlled birds, making sure the Bluff has the best first growth possible. With the amount of property controlled by the lodge, there are plenty of great hunting spots. Another quality unique to Cabin Bluff is the range of hunting terrain offered by the large property: clients can hunt in traditional pine habitat, but -they can also hunt in the marshland parallel to Cumberland Island.
While Cabin Bluff is known for its traditional quail hunting, the lodge also has an excellent big game and turkey operation. Hogs and deer are also available for hunting. The highly skilled and quality guides work hard to find game. After talking to one of their hunt managers, I learned that the Bluff’s turkey hunting just went public to clients two years ago, leading to undisturbed birds that are very call-friendly. With the excellent game management at Cabin Bluff, the lodge boasts plentiful bird numbers.
I formed a bond with one of their guides and dog trainers, Wes. We both enjoy watching good dog work, and the adventure of each hunt. He explains that each walk is about thirty to forty minutes, which allows him to work two bird dogs and one flushing dog. The dogs lock up well on point, allowing the hunters to walk up and get ready. He then sends the Labrador in to flush and retrieve the bird. It is truly a beautiful sight.
Wes trains the dogs to be steady to wing and shot, making them both beautiful to look at and crucial to a good, traditional quail dog. He takes care of nearly 30 gun dogs. Most are English pointers, though he does have some English setters, Labradors, and a German shorthaired pointer. In the next year or so, the Bluff will have a brand-new kennel, which will be open to the clients to go and see their beloved hunting companions. The one thing I noticed is that most of their bird dogs are small in stature, allowing them to cover ground well, but also helping them to keep a bit cooler and not overheat as quickly.
Cabin Bluff is one of those special places that calls you back the minute you leave. The possibilities seem to be endless and ever-growing. I know for a fact that I will be back to hunt the fast covey rises of quail. But I will also make sure I go back to tackle their hidden redfish and tarpon fishery, with their brand new Hell’s Bay boats that need a few fishing miles on them.
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