Hunting quail and throwing axes at Barnsley Resort

Quail hunting is open until Feb. 28, 2022, this season, and High Adventure Company guides ensure a safe and productive hunt at Barnsley Resort.
Contributed by Barnsley Resort
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Quail hunting is open until Feb. 28, 2022, this season, and High Adventure Company guides ensure a safe and productive hunt at Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Barnsley Resort

Credit: Barnsley Resort

Credit: Barnsley Resort

Shooting and target sports meet luxurious surroundings at north Georgia resort.

ADAIRSVILLE — There is an instant when the English Setter that had just been gamboling by your side, goes suddenly stock still. In that moment, a single front paw is raised, a swishy tail is now stick-straight. And that wet nose twitches as it points dead ahead, into the wiregrass.

You raise the walnut-burled stock to your cheek, nestling the butt of the gun into the pocket of your shoulder, flip off the safety on the Beretta shotgun, and wait for the flushing spaniel to do her job.

This is quail hunting in north Georgia.

Most upland hunters think of the tall grasses and lofty pines of South Georgia as the ideal destination for quail shooting. To be sure, that terrain and those gracious historic plantation homes do provide an elegant backdrop to what traditionally has been considered “a gentleman’s sport.”

But these 3,000-plus acres in Adairsville have been professionally groomed, coaxed and loved on to create something just as special – maybe even more so since it is only an hour north of Atlanta.

The Beretta Shooting Grounds by High Adventure Company at Barnsley Resort is managed by industry veteran John Burrell who knows a thing or two about “the right place at the right time.” Trained in wildlife management and experienced in overseeing hunting lodges and properties across the globe, Burrell’s oversight here means that even the newbies to the sport are guaranteed a good time.

Not long ago, I had never even held a shotgun, much less learned the etiquette and precision of the sport. But a trip to Barnsley to do just that changed everything. Fitted for a rental Beretta shotgun, I took to the Barnsley sporting clays course first to get the feel of things.

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Writer Christiana Roussel had never held a shotgun before she learned to quail hunt at Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

Writer Christiana Roussel had never held a shotgun before she learned to quail hunt at Barnsley Resort.
Contributed by Christiana Roussel
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Writer Christiana Roussel had never held a shotgun before she learned to quail hunt at Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

I needed to be schooled on a new language: stock, barrel, gauge, load. With a professional instructor at my side, I quickly learned to let the 20-gauge become an extension of myself. The thinking-part of my body let the doing-part take over. When I called out “PULL” to initiate the clay, my protected-ears pricked up at the click of the Promatic machine delivering those orange discs into the autumn sky. I began to hit more and more of them, learning to keep my eye trained on the leading edge of each clay. What began as trepidation faded into pure elation with each hit. I could not wait to try my skills in the field.

The Beretta Shooting Grounds are a short drive from the sporting clays course. Signage has improved but I still needed to keep my eyes peeled to find the exact turn off from the two-lane country road. A canopy of trees shaded the dirt road that led to a well-appointed clubhouse. Parking on the gravel drive, I took a moment to catch my breath and to listen.

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A High Adventure Company instructor provides instruction. Contributed by Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

A High Adventure Company instructor provides instruction.
Contributed by Christiana Roussel
Caption
A High Adventure Company instructor provides instruction. Contributed by Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

In the distance, dogs in a nearby kennel were practically singing with joy at the work they were about to do. Inside the clubhouse, the smell from the stone fireplace mingled with trophy hides and mounts, the leather of the sofa and oversized chairs. I was greeted by a flurry of activity from the High Adventure Company cadre of guides who escort guests afield. In this preparation, there was a strong undercurrent of seriousness. After all, we were toting some serious firepower in these guns and that should never be taken for granted. Aside from human life, the hunting dogs were also priceless. Not only were they beloved for their personalities and skills, each represented an inordinate investment of time and money to get them to this level of excellence. The safety reminders came early and often.

After the dogs were loaded into kennel boxes on the all-terrain vehicles, we piled in for the short drive over hill-and-dale before proceeding on foot. Great walking shoes or boots are a must in this terrain. A keen eye for spotting holes from old pines is also required; no one wants to turn an ankle with a misstep.

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John Burrell of High Adventure Company gives a safety briefing to clay shooters at the Five Stand. Contributed by Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

John Burrell of High Adventure Company gives a safety briefing to clay shooters at the Five Stand.
Contributed by Christiana Roussel
Caption
John Burrell of High Adventure Company gives a safety briefing to clay shooters at the Five Stand. Contributed by Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

Credit: Christiana Roussel

The chatter was kept to a minimum as the dogs did their work. Soon enough Lucky dropped to a point, and Stella was called in to flush the birds from the grass, sending them flying into the air.

When I hit my first bird, I marveled at all the preparation it took to get there. And I couldn’t wait to do it all again.

Granted, hunting isn’t for everyone, so there are options for those who want to test their skills in other types of shooting or target sports. Axe-throwing is a great way to release some pent-up pandemic frustration, especially after taking a 45-minute lesson to perfect your technique. Air-riflry and archery are also available. Trained instructors oversee all of these sports, ensuring a safe and fun experience for everyone, even those as young as 5, as long as they have an adult tagging along.

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Take a 45-minute lesson then practice your axe-throwing skills at Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Hannah Lozano / Diamond PR

Credit: Hannah Lozano Photography

Take a 45-minute lesson then practice your axe-throwing skills at Barnsley Resort.
Contributed by Hannah Lozano / Diamond PR
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Take a 45-minute lesson then practice your axe-throwing skills at Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Hannah Lozano / Diamond PR

Credit: Hannah Lozano Photography

Credit: Hannah Lozano Photography

Barnsley Resort began its life more than two centuries ago, as part of a love story between a British-American cotton broker and his bride for whom he wanted to create an idyllic retreat. The ruins of Godfrey Barnsley’s home remain on site and provide the backdrop for weddings, family gatherings and corporate retreats. Accommodations include private cottages that line the property’s central promenade and a modern-day inn. Among attractions are a 378-acre golf course designed by Jim Fazio, a newly redesigned spa, a 10-acre stocked lake, a saltwater pool and three restaurants, providing plenty to do for non-hunters, too.

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For adventure and romance, head to Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Barnsley Resort

For adventure and romance, head to Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Barnsley Resort
Caption
For adventure and romance, head to Barnsley Resort. Contributed by Barnsley Resort


IF YOU GO

Adairsville is 60 miles northwest of Atlanta via I-75.

Barnsley Resort. 597 Barnsley Gardens Road, Adairsville. Rooms $309 and up. 770-773-7480, BarnsleyResort.com, HighAdventureCompany.com.

Half-day guided quail hunt. $595 per person. Gun rental and shells extra. Other packages available. Season ends Feb. 28, 2022.

Sporting clays. $65 for 100 rounds, $35 for 50 rounds. Gun rental extra. Friendly wagers optional.

Archery. $80 per person, 60-minute session

Axe-throwing. $40 per person, 45-minute session

Air-riflry. $80 per person, 60-minute session