Second Quail Forever Georgia Quail Invitational set for this weekend
Jan 28, 2016
By Terry Lewis, Albany Herald
ALBANY — Quail Forever will hold its second Georgia Quail Invitational Thursday through Saturday and if the number of hunters who have signed up for this year’s event are used as a barometer, things are looking up.
After the collapse of Quail Unlimited, local organizers in 2014 decided to continue to showcase the region by keeping the tradition of quail hunting alive and maintaining a signature event in Albany. And Quail Forever arose from the ashes.
Last year’s inaugural invitational drew 32 hunters and eight plantation properties. This year the event has nearly 60 hunters and 15 properties.
“The numbers are encouraging. It’s been a hard three years for us but we decided to make a move to promote Albany as the quail hunting capital of the word,” invitational organizer Bobby McKinney said. “The concept was to grow with the obligatory task of treating our hunters and landowners right.”
Last year’s inaugural event, after expenses, netted $25,000, nearly $8,000 of which was used as seed money for this year’s hunt. Most of the money raised last year was donated to high school shooting clubs and the Tall Timbers Foundation.
“We put every nickle back into the organization. People have access to our financial records which are on our web site and we have no full-time paid employees on staff, McKinney said.
Invitational organizer Tommy Gregors said the new group has learned from the experiences and mistakes of the past.
“We have had a full year to plan and promote this hunt,” Gregors said “In the beginning we weren’t sure we could finally make it financially viable. But we kept our focus and have gotten good support from the community to keep alive a quality event in southwest Georgia.
“Some people were waiting to see what happened, and I don’t think we have disappointed any one.”
Hunters and sponsors will begin checking in at the Merry Acres Inn on Thursday afternoon followed by a reception at the Shackleford House at 6:30 p.m.
After breakfast Friday and Saturday mornings the hunters will depart to assigned plantations and farms, and will return at 5:30 p.m. At 7 p.m. at the Hasan Temple there will be a silent and live auctions and a buffet dinner for hunters, sponsors and ticket holders. Saturday night will feature live entertainment by Dallas Davidson and Friends.
Saturday’s show is open to the public and admission to the event is $100 for Friday or Saturday, or $300 for two tickets for Friday and Saturday. Tickets for the evening events can be purchased at Merry Acres Inn and Event Center or Harvest Moon.
“We want this to be a positive event for the region. We want to be able to keep it alive and to be able to pay for it at the same time,” Gregors said. “We have long time hunters who have been coming down here for years and we have a few first-time visitors. We have good people with good reputations involved in this event.”
Some of the sponsors for the Georgia Quail Invitational include The Albany Herald, Sunbelt Ford, Renasant Bank, SB&T Bank, Stewbo’s Restaurant Group, LMC Ag., Budweiser, the Albany Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, WALB, BMW of Albany, Albany Motorcars and Flint Ag &Turf.