The Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge program continues its “behind the scenes” series with Fishing Creek Farms, in Georgia’s northeastern Piedmont region. Lodge Manager Tyla Kuhn was happy to answer a few questions about the lodge….
SSM: How long have you been at Fishing Creek Farms, and what compelled you to get involved with the lodge?
Tyla Kuhn: I have been involved with Fishing Creek Farms since 2014. Originally, my husband, Scott, and I came to Fishing Creek as professional wingshooting guides and dog handlers, with Scott working as the hunt manager. Both Scott and I were highly impressed with the owner, Rob Taylor, and his commitment to quality and the attention to detail in all aspects of the farm. The culture that has been created at Fishing Creek and the passion for excellence made it an easy and humbling decision to join the team as the lodge manager when asked.
SSM: What’s a typical day of hunting like at Fishing Creek Farms?
TK: Guests wake up to enjoy coffee and tea stations in each of the guest suites at their leisure every morning. Tempting breakfast aromas of handmade scones and muffins along with brown-sugar-glazed bacon draw guests into the main lodge, where they are served a hearty breakfast before departing at 9 AM for the morning hunt. Groups return for a chef-prepared lunch, served at 12:30, and then relax before returning to the field at 2:30. The afternoon hunt concludes at 5:30, after which our hospitality staff stands ready to provide a cold beer, a glass of wine or a favorite cocktail. The outdoor fire pit with seating area is a popular spot to relive the day afield while sampling hors d’oeuvres during the Fireside Cocktail Hour. Then guests enjoy a three-course, plated dinner at 7 PM and have the opportunity to relax and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of the farm.
SSM: What aspects of your operation seem to impress guests the most?
TK: From the moment guests drive through the front gate of the farm, the commitment to quality is apparent. Each campus-style lodge building shows thoughtful design and details that are part of the intimate setting Fishing Creek has become known for. The philosophy of maintaining a private, family atmosphere and exclusive-use approach while being a commercial quail hunting property is unique and much appreciated by guests.
The style of hunting at Fishing Creek is also distinctive when compared to typical quail plantations. The grounds are managed entirely for quail. The gently rolling hills and valleys offer exciting covey-rise shooting and perfect habitat for quail to thrive. Our hunts cover many acres in the course of a day, with guests having the option to walk or ride the grounds in custom Polaris Rangers. While we offer an unlimited shoot, our focus is on quality—and guests are never disappointed. Many comment that the style of our hunts reminds them of the quail hunting of years gone by.
SSM: What is your favorite item on the dinner menu?
TK: I enjoy the variety of meals our chef prepares, but my favorite items are not actually served at dinner but rather on the appetizer table. Both the quail picatta and sweet chili quail served as hors d’oeuvres are delicious. Guests have asked for the recipes so often that we have printed recipe cards to send with their packaged quail. It’s fun to see our guests enjoy their harvest and return home with a recipe to share with family and friends.
SSM: What part of the job do you find the most gratifying?
TK: I wear a number of different “hats” as lodge manager, including taking reservations, guest services, attending trade shows and event planning. It is easy to talk to people about Fishing Creek, because it is such a special place. But my heart is always in the field working dogs. I absolutely love training dogs, watching them progress, developing a relationship with them and seeing it all come together in the field. It is rewarding to share our dogs and the hunt field with guests. I have been able to encourage women in the field, help young wingshooters develop and treasure time spent with those whose years of handling shotguns are often equivalent to my age. Keeping the tradition of shooting sports thriving in a modern world and preserving the heritage of working bird dogs, for me, is very gratifying and important.
SSM: What has you the most excited about the coming season?
TK: This is a challenging question, because we have so many new things to introduce this season. Last fall 230 adjacent acres were added to our quail hunting grounds. This season will find us hunting portions of this ground as our habitat and development progress. This summer brought several new construction projects at the farm. The addition of our covered shooting pavilion will allow all-weather access to clay shooting and provide comfortable viewing opportunities for shooting instruction. We are looking forward to showcasing our exclusive wine cellar, featuring a private tasting and intimate dining area. The cellar will feature collections of wines from various regions that allow guests to tailor their experiences. This new building enjoys scenic views of both the farm and the new plunge pool. Again, it all comes back to the passion for quality and the strong philosophy focusing on continual improvement.