One of the most interesting characteristics of the Virginia wingshooting scene is that the state is the venue for one of America’s precious-few driven shoots. Primland, the luxury nature-centric resort in Meadows of Dan, has a well-earned reputation for orchestrating driven days that are practically indifferentiable from the legendary shooting in the UK. The resort has raked in heaps of recognition and accolades for its driven days—which is wonderful except for one thing: All of the praise and attention generated by Primland’s driven program can obscure the fact that the resort also offers world-class walk-up hunting for pheasants, quail and chukars. And a quick run-through of the walk-up program reveals checked boxes every step of the way.
The Primland property spans 12,000 acres and includes the kind of biodiversity necessary to maintain excellent upland cover. Habitat managers have a range of elevation changes and soil types to choose from when planning where to plant the kind of cover that will not only attract and hold birds but also be fun to hunt. Sorghum and switchgrass are used heavily to ensure the former and, because they are durable forms of vegetation, they hold up very well as wingshooting season moves into its mid and late stages, ensuring that the same high-quality hunting can be had in mid-December as in early October. On top of this, there are enough hunting fields throughout the property for managers and guides to cherry-pick those that will provide the best hunting under various conditions.
As is the case in most top-flight shooting operations, Primland guides and dogs also play a huge role in providing guests with a premium experience. The guides are truly seasoned pros, with many having worked full- or part-time at Primland for at least 15 to 20 years. They know the birds, dogs and coverts like the backs of their hands and work hard to maximize the enjoyment of everyone they take afield. The fact that guests commonly request their favorite guides each time they return speaks volumes about the appreciation and affinity that Primland regulars have developed for the guides. And it should be understood that the dogs are outstanding, too, considering that it is virtually impossible for an upland guiding staff to rate highly without a massive assist from their four-footed associates. The resort uses mostly pointers and setters along with a smattering of other pointing breeds. All are expertly trained, highly seasoned and true masters of their Blue Ridge domain.
Although Primland’s amazing driven shoots are completely different from its walk-up hunts, guests can experience the best of both over the course of their stay. For one thing, the two types of hunts can be combined for a full-day hunt, providing an opportunity to try two completely different experiences in the same trip. For another, a walk-up hunt scheduled immediately following a driven shoot often provides an excellent opportunity to find unharvested driven birds. In fact, there is a constituency of Primland walk-up regulars who like to be kept abreast of the driven dates for exactly this reason.
It is worth pointing out that a walk-up hunting trip at Primland extends well beyond time spent chasing birds in the fields. The resort has a wide variety of clay-shooting options (all of them world class), allowing guests to build target shooting into their days as either a warm-up or on a more extensive basis. There is also a mind-blowing array of lodging options (again world class). Primland guests can just as easily rent a gorgeous, secluded Mountain Home, where they can grill steaks on the deck and enjoy nightcaps by a fire, as they can stay in the elegant main lodge and partake in fine dining at the resort’s restaurant. (And there’s a bunch of options that fall somewhere in between.) Such peripheral aspects can add wonderful diversity to an upland hunt, but more importantly, they enable visitors to shape their trips to fit their preferences.
Exquisite driven-bird shoots like those Primland conducts are downright glorious affairs. As such, they are Primland’s most popular hunting offering. But Primland’s walk-up program is outstanding and noteworthy in its own right—and to a growing number of hunters doesn’t take a back seat to anything.
Photographs courtesy of Primland.
Primland is a full-service Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge. To learn more or make a reservation, call 276-222-3800 or email [email protected].