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Loren Smith’s column on Covey Rise Plantation

CAMILLA – It would not require any genius to conclude that the name of

this agribusiness enclave had to have been connected to a female when city

founders were choosing the town’s name deep into yesteryear. In fact, when

Camilla was incorporated in 1858, it was named for the granddaughter of Revolutionary War General Henry Mitchell.

Camilla is the seat of Mitchell County. Thus far, there is nothing

controversial about the names except, perhaps, that the land was ceded to European descendants by a treaty signed by Creek Indians.

Thirteen miles east of here, you will find Covey Rise Plantation. The

centerpiece of this spread is a handsome lodge for hosting hunters who have a

bent for the outdoors and appreciate a relaxed and contented atmosphere when they retire for the evening and quail birds are sleeping, which they do by standing on the ground tail to tail. (Yep, that’s right. You can look it up.)

A good friend, Patrick Jones, a South Georgia magna cum laude

businessman coordinated an outing that was hosted by Robin and Brian Singletary, father/son owners of Covey Rise. They guests included in Jim Rollins, whose expertise is not real estate and Greg Higginson, whose expertise is finance.

Then there was Fred Barber, once the toughest running back in Southwest

Georgia and his two sons Fred Jr. and Downing, the latter, the founder of

Barberito’s—happy to stay out of the kitchen; Jimmy Walker and his son, Jim, and one who couldn’t shoot straight.

The lodge, with hardwood floors which bespeak elegance, bucolic

woodwork and framed birddog scenes better than anything you find in Field &

Stream and Garden & Gun. If there were a hitching post outside, it would be a

perfect location for filming a few episodes of Bonanza. Steaks that make you

think of Swift & Sons steak house in Chicago were among the menu choices.

When the wine was poured, you close your eyes, and you might think you are in Saint-Emilion.

Late in the day, there was an opportunity to gather by the river, the Flint,

which originates under the streets of East Point and flows beneath the runways of

Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, gathering momentum until it becomes a godsend to the farmers and the agribusiness industry of Southwest Georgia.

It meets up with the Chattahoochee near the Florida line to form the Apalachicola, which empties into the Gulf of Mexico. If you have been in touch with the news of late, then you know about the fuss Georgia, Alabama and Florida are having when it comes to the big gulp Atlanta takes from the Chattahoochee.

Some judge, who likely has never been this way, will decide the fate of these

waters. Can you imagine the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that is likely to ensue?

Our objective when we went down by the river was to enjoy the serenity

of the lollygagging Flint; and oysters, which were served raw, fried and roasted.

Cold beer on a deck within arms-length of the Flint with a setting sun over moss

draped oaks and long leaf pines, made your day—especially when the host served

“oysters redneckefeller.” It was a scene to be savored and was deserving of an

encore.

 

A first-class operation such as Covey Rise would not be attractive to seasoned hunters if there weren’t fields and woods for the best in quail habitat.

And, guides who never give birddogs the back of their hand. A covey of birds

flush explosively from the brush, marksmanship is askew and your guide can tell

you where a half dozen quail feathered their wings and settled down.

A roll call is in order: Trampas Thompson, David West, Nathan Newman,

Jeff Fulford, Brandon Brock and Andre Hornsby. These guides have something in

common with the birddogs. They CAN hunt.

 

Dogs with names like Bill and Frosty, with the keenest of noses, set about

scenting the coveys and then finding the singles. You then experience one of the

joys of quail hunting. Bill is bounding through broom sage and brush and

suddenly wheels to a halt. He edges forward with his nose pointing to an unseen,

hovering quail. His rigid tail is curved like a scimitar and his left foot is folded

underneath his shoulder. Cell phone cameras are engaged before shotguns.

Suddenly there is an explosion from the underbrush. Quail erupt up and away.

Shots ring out. Supper’s on the ground.

A setting sun brings about a repairing to the lodge where prime time

hospitality continues. The Covey Rise experience means that you think about returning before you depart the premises.