Variety is the spice of life. Not only do different experiences make life more enjoyable, but they also make it more exciting and memorable. Take wingshooting, for example. Instead of focusing on one type of bird hunting their entire lives, most wingshooters like to challenge themselves by trying an array of opportunities. Mixing things up keeps the sport interesting while at the same time helps hone shooting skills.
Of course, accessing different types of bird hunting can be a challenge—one typically requiring multiple trips to numerous destinations. Wouldn’t it be nice if a wide range of shooting opportunities were available at a single venue?
Welcome to Greystone Castle Sporting Club.
Located about 1½ hours west of Dallas-Fort Worth, Greystone Castle is a 6,000-acre hunting and shooting mecca. Featuring regal accommodations, gourmet meals and first-class amenities, this world-class lodge offers a variety of sporting activities for every taste. For wingshooters this means a full menu of bird hunting options lasting throughout the fall and winter.
The appetizer, if you will, is dove season, which kicks things off in early September. Greystone plants about 70 acres of its own ground in sunflowers and leases two or three properties. As is the case with any wild birds—especially those that migrate—the vagaries of weather determine numbers. Some years the hunting is very good and others it can be slow. Thankfully, there are plenty of clay shooting options if guests want to pull the trigger more.
The main course at Greystone is upland hunting over dogs, and it is served from mid-October through March. There are two types of walk-up hunts offered: one for bobwhite quail exclusively and the other for a mixed bag of pheasants, quail, chukars and Hungarian partridge. Guests often begin the day with a round of clays at the 5 Stand before heading afield in the safari trucks. Once in the bird fields, they follow a pair of pointing dogs through the grass and milo strips until the dogs lock up—at which point a flushing dog is sent in to get the birds airborne. The shooting is fast and furious, and there is no bag limit.
Greystone supplements birds throughout the season so, as one might expect, there is a cumulative effect on numbers. According to General Manager Patrick Wall: “In the areas with straight bobwhites, the coveys just grow and grow. As you get later in the season, you’ll probably flush four to five coveys of 20 birds. When you get into December, January and February, you’re going to flush birds like crazy. They’re all over the place.”
Another offering at Greystone is the European pheasant shoot, for groups of 10 or more Guns. The shoot is set up with 10 blinds encircling a grove of trees, out of which pheasants stream at towering heights. In between each blind is a retrieving dog and handler to pick up downed birds. After a certain period each shooter rotates to the next blind, so every Gun gets a go from every blind. Depending on the size of the group, the number of birds that fly over can range from 200 to 500.
“European shoots are a good introduction to wingshooting,” Wall said, “because you get nice high shots. There’s a pretty good left and right lateral limit [for shooting], so it’s safe. You’re not worried about a quail flushing low or having to keep up the pace with Guns on your left or right or knowing where the dogs are. It’s a great way for a new wingshooter to get into the sport.” Then he added, “And we have bird fields all around the European-shoot area, so when we have walk-up hunts the week after, there are a lot of pheasants . . . .”
Another challenging type of wingshooting is the flighted mallard shoot. Here Guns set up in blinds along willow-lined ponds and enjoy mostly pass-shooting but also decoyed ducks as the guides work the birds. Again there are plenty of opportunities and no bag limits, and it is very safe.
“We have some groups that will do the walk-up hunt, the flighted mallards and the European pheasant shoot,” Wall said “If they have a lot of new hunters, we’ll start with the flighted mallards, because you’re in a blind, you have good limits left and right, and again they’re good high-flying shots. Then the next shoot they’ll do is the European pheasant shoot, so they get more familiarization with shooting birds and just being gun and safety conscious. And then they’ll move to the upland hunts. So it gives them a little bit of a break-in period before they’re walking with guns and dogs and other hunters on their left and right.”
This understanding of guests’ needs and willingness to customize trips is what sets Greystone Castle apart. It also is an example of how some hunters opt for a “tasting menu” of the lodge’s many wingshooting offerings.
Having so many opportunities at one location is what makes the Greystone experience special. Combine this with luxurious lodging, chef-prepared meals and a slate of other activities, including sporting clays, big-game hunting and fishing, and it’s easy to see why at Greystone Castle Sporting Club the spice of life can be sweet indeed.
Greystone Castle Sporting Club is a full-service Shooting Sportsman Endorsed Lodge. To learn more or to make a reservation, call 254-672-5927 or email [email protected].
Photographs courtesy of Greystone Castle Sporting Club.