Nothing quite celebrates the great outdoors like game hunting. And we’re not talking about bird shooting, where farm raised pheasants and other types of game are released for the hunters to shoot at. We’re talking about bird hunting in the wild, shooting wild bird like the true sporting experience that it should be.
Wild bird hunting remains to be a popular pastime in North America and the wealth of hunting lodges and pheasant hunting providers reflects that. Today, you can experience how presidents and royalty used to hunt in some of North America’s best hunting lodges. Equipped with bath tubs, cocktails by the fire side and other creature comforts these lodges offer the best of both worlds by combining the rugged allure of wild game hunting with a 5-star experience.
King & Bartlett Fish and Game Club Eustis, Maine
$440 per person/day
The King & Bartlett Fish and Game Club was founded in the 1800s by no other than William King, Maine’s first governor. It started out as a private club and had members like the late Teddy Roosevelt. After more than a century of exclusivity the club opened its doors to the public 16 years ago. Today, however, it has decided to maintain some of the exclusivity it is known for by reserving the right to screen its guests.
If you do ever get the chance to book a 3 night stay at King and Bartlett though, take it. Aside from proudly upholding their centuries old traditions, this lodging compound has accommodations dating back to when the place first opened in the 1800s. They also boast 39,000 acres of private hunting ground, the only one of its kind in the area.
Flying Double Ranch Vale, Oregon
$550 per person/day
Flying Double Ranch Vale in Vale, Oregon is a perfect example of a hunting lodge developed by a man who loves bird hunting for other men who love hunting. An avid hunter, owner and founder Jim Farmer is a lawyer by profession. In one of his hunting trips, he chanced upon an area in Vale so rich in wild birds that they looked like a flock of black birds taking flight. The area was high, dry and arid, the perfect spot for valley quail and pheasant to thrive. He liked what he saw so much that he bought land in the area and another, and another and another. He now owns a combined area of four ranches, improved the place, hired a local chef to serve good food and before he knew it he had developed a hunting lodge.
The area is rested more than it is hunted so every time hunters come to hunt game there’s always a huge number of birds at the ready. It is not uncommon for hunters to take home several birds of different species at the end of a good hunting day.
Flying Double Ranch has their own hunting dogs but guests are more than welcome to bring their own.
Horse Feathers Lodge Pierre, South Dakota
$2,595 per person for 3 days and 4 nights
Horse Feathers Lodge boasts great dogs, great country and the best in upland bird hunting. The property includes undulating hills—lush and golden. Pheasants and prairie grouse are the main thoroughfare with the hunting season at its peak between the months of October through December. Dotted along the hills like little dark hills are bison, giving the impression that you really are hunting like they did back in the day.
Bob Tinker, the lodge owner, is himself the epitome of a cowboy bird guide. The Horse Feathers Lodge, specializes in horseback hunts.
Stasney’s Cook Ranch Albany, Texas
$600 per person per day
Stasney’s Cook Ranch in Albany, Texas is open for hunting, retreats, weddings and other events and activities. But we all know, you’re here for the hunting. This is just as well because the property is 24,000 acres of well managed premium hunting habitat. The management at Stasney’s is heavily geared towards managing the property for whitetail deer, hogs and wild game.
The ranch received the Texas Parks and Wildlife Managed Lands Stewardship Award in 2006 and is working closely with both guests and the authorities to preserve the wildlife habitat. In line with this you can expect that Stasney’s won’t be kidding around with game laws and limits. All hunters must provide a Texas hunting license before any hunting can occur. Visits to the ranch are by appointment only.
Rancho Caracol Tamaulipas, Mexico
Rates start at $1,995 person for a two day three night stay
Rancho Caracol is the only ranch outside of the US to make it to the list and with good reason. Started in 1999 by Dean Putagnet and his father, the duo wanted to start something no one else in Mexico was doing. Putagnet remembers that at the time, before deciding to put up shop, they went all over Mexico to see what other establishments had to offer. Some lodges had great accommodations but bad hunting. Other ranches had great hunting but really bad food. Dean Putagnet and his father decided they wanted to be the ranch that does everything right. So that’s what they did with the place.
Most if not all of the people we know who go to Rancho Caracol come back to the states and talk about the ranch for an approximate time of FOREVER. The lodge itself is massive at half a million acres. It’s so huge in fact that you will never hunt at the same place twice. To add to the great place and accomodations, Rancho Caracol boasts of a year-long hunting season.