Brentwood offers authentic quail hunting

Brinson’s Brentwood Plantation aims to offer the most authentic, enjoyable quail hunting experience possible, said Woodie Warr, who owns the plantation with his wife, Cile.

Brentwood’s approximately 2,800 acres are home to numerous wild birds, a very diverse range of natural hunting environments and all the Southern hospitality a hunter could hope for. The plantation is actually located just about five miles west of Bainbridge, in the small unincorporated Cyrene community. Looking around, one can see all the hallmarks of an old Southern plantation.

It’s a working farm, with irrigated land on which peanuts and corn are grown. There’s a beautiful lodge house sitting under some tall, very old live oak trees, where visitors can sit on rocking chairs on a wrap-around porch. Close by is a renovated log cabin that was originally built around 1840 and brought to the plantation from Colquitt, Ga.

The three tracts of land which incorporate the plantation has three ponds and even access to the Spring Creek, a tributary of the Flint River. Tall pine trees, native wiregrass and planted millet provide a picturesque habitat for quail and many other animals to thrive in. Cypress trees line the plantation’s three stocked fish ponds, which total about 14 acres in size.

The majority of the birds that hunters will encounter on a trip to Brentwood are wild, with some brought in seasonally, Warr said. There’s about 50 total coveys of birds and 13 different courses on which to hunt them. On an average half-day hunt, hunters can expect to come across 12-15 coveys as they traverse about 200-300 acres of land. On a full-day hunt, a guest might see 24-30 coveys of birds, with more time and land to explore.

“Sometimes you see more, sometimes less — the idea is you are on an old-fashioned quail hunt where you find birds in their natural habitat,” Warr said. “It would be easy for us to just plant some cover in a field, release some birds and let hunters have at it. But that isn’t enjoyable to me or to many of the guests we are looking to host.”

At Brentwood, one can hunt open fields, surrounded by both young timber and stands of tall timber, to accommodate different styles of hunting. Guests can ride horseback or travel between hunting courses on Jeep-towed trailers which offer a place to sit and store hunting gear.

Warr and another guide, Jerry Tankersley — who is also a Gulf Coast charter boat captain — accompany the hunters and navigate the approximately 15 miles of grass-covered roads which run through the plantation. Also going along for the hunt are the plantation’s well-trained hunting dogs, which are raised at Brentwood.

“We have mostly pointers, a couple of setters, and some English cocker spaniels we use to flush out the quail,” Warr said. “Our dogs are steady to wing and shot, which means they won’t go after the birds until they are released.”

Warr said about four to five braces of dogs—or eight to 10 dogs paired together— go with each hunting group. Brentwood only hosts one group at a time, so hunters will be ensured that the plantation is all theirs, while they are there.

Along with the many coveys of quail, hunters may also get to see some of the animals which roam the plantation and surrounding area, including deer, turkey, bobcats, raccoons, foxes, squirrels, coyotes and gopher tortoises. The quail are fed year-round and their habitat is enhanced by the planting of millet — a species of tall grass which provides both food for the quail and cover for the hunters.

A typical day at Brentwood begins at about 6:30 a.m., as preparations are made for the hunt to begin just before 9 a.m. Hunters can choose between a half-day hunt, a full-day hunt and a full-day hunt with overnight stay. Back at the lodge, guests are served lunch and/or dinner, with good, fried Southern food prepared by the plantation’s cook, Gwen. There’s also a covered cook building where steaks can be grilled and guests can sit around the fire and enjoy a drink at night.

In addition to the nicely furnished lodge and the cozy log cabin — both of which have central heating and air — there’s also a small apartment with two bedrooms located above the horse barn. Each of the lodgings, which have eight bedrooms total, have their own charm and appeal.

The lodge is spacious and perfect for larger groups, with all of the creature comforts of home and beautiful furnishings. The log cabin isn’t as rustic as one might think — it’s been carefully restored and is snug and comfortable on a cold winter’s evening after a hunt. In addition to the bedrooms, there’s also a loft in the cabin where guests’ children enjoy staying, Warr said. The apartment above the horse barn is also furnished — there’s a high-definition TV, a solid wood poker table and a bathroom.

“We want you to feel like this is your place when you come here,” Warr said. “There are plantations that offer fancier dining or bigger lodges, but I promise that guests will feel like this is their ‘home away from home’ when they get here, because of the hospitality we provide.”

After Warr and his wife Cile bought the plantation in 1994, they didn’t initially have plans to offer commercial hunts. Woodie, who is a professional forester, said they just began developing the plantation into a prime hunting ground as more and more people showed interest in coming out there. Today, Brentwood offers everything the hunter might want or need: there’s a small shop with clothes and hunting gear featuring the plantation’s logo, and Warr says he can provide hunters with everything from ammo, gear and even guns if they need them.

“We treat everyone the same, whether they’re an experienced hunter or not,” Warr said. “We are not happy unless you are having a good time out here.”

Ideally, Brentwood hosts groups of about four to eight people in size at a time. Hunting begins in November and runs through March; in fact, there’s hunts going on almost every day during January and February, Warr said.

People who are interested in learning more about the plantation or booking a hunt can visit online, email, or reach Warr by calling (229) 248-1775 or (229) 400-3045.

“It’s more than just a business to us — we aim to provide a hunting experience you can’t get anywhere else,” Warr said. “I hope that when our guests leave, they say, ‘That was excellent dog work, we saw a lot of quail and had frequent opportunities to shoot.’”

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