A Shotgunner’s Nirvana on the East Coast

Quail Hunting At Brays Island Plantation

What shotgunner doesn’t dream of having a personal sporting clays course in his or her backyard? To walk out the door with a gunslip and range bag calling, “I’ll be out back!” While this might be a pipe dream for most, having access to just about every type of shooting activity is part of everyday life for the residents of South Carolina’s Brays Island Plantation. Brays might not be the only residential community to offer a shooting program, but it is one of the only places to make the shooting sports a major focal point of community building.

The Gun Club is a terrific example. Open year-round, it offers more shooting opportunities than the typical commercial facility. A 15-station sporting clays course designed by Holland & Holland meanders through two miles of scenic woodlands. Meticulously maintained trap and skeet fields and a 5 Stand setup provide excellent venues for serious shooting practice or friendly competition. And two FITASC Parcours accommodate serious competitors or anyone simply looking for a little variety. No description of the Gun Club would be complete without mention of its wonderfully appointed clubhouse, which serves as a pre- and post-shoot social venue in addition to being an outfitting shop (shooting supplies, gun rentals, private lessons and so on) for members, their families and their guests. And in addition to all of its clay-target offerings, the Gun Club is a welcoming place for rifle, pistol and bow shooters, with excellent ranges for those disciplines.

Outdoor pursuits being integral to “America’s premier sporting community,” Brays’ commitment to shooting extends well beyond clay-target opportunities. Come mid-October, the plantation transforms into a bird hunting utopia. Residents’ “backyards” include several thousand acres of Savannah grasslands and pine forest that are managed specifically for the classic Southern pastime of pursuing quail behind pointing and flushing dogs. The upland program offers 14 courses with great-flying birds, skilled guides and a kennel of bird dogs trained by Scott Miller, a Bird Dog Hall of Famer known for winning countless field trials and hunting competitions. Miller not only keeps and trains 30 excellent dogs for owners to hunt over, but he also assists residents with training their own dogs. Meld these resources with a Lowcountry climate featuring 40- to 60-degree winter temps, and it’s easy to understand why quail hunting is such a hit with Brays owners and their guests. Pheasants, chukar and Hungarian partridge are hunted as well, and for those who like big game, Brays maintains a very healthy deer population plus allows a limited number of turkeys to be harvested each year.

So, yes, all of this equates to a shooting nirvana; but perhaps the most incredible thing about Brays is the fact that it is simultaneously a fishing and boating paradise, an equestrian heaven, a golf and tennis utopia, a culinary delight and a perfect central location for visiting nearby destinations such as Charleston, Beaufort, Savannah and a host of beach communities. There’s a seemingly endless array of outdoor activities and attractions in which to engage—and, best of all, a community of like-minded neighbors with whom to enjoy them.

To learn more about Brays Island Plantation, call 843-846-3170 or click here to schedule an in-person visit.

Photographs courtesy of Brays Island Plantation.

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