Hunting at Broadfield is always memorable and, for some families, it’s also a longtime tradition.
By Nancy Dorman-Hickson
Family traditions promote strong bonds and lasting memories, and few stand out more than family hunting trips. At Broadfield, A Sea Island Sporting Club and Lodge, many of the same groups return year after year to perfect their skills. In fact, for some families, a visit to Broadfield marks the beginning of the tradition.
“We have this great opportunity to introduce new people to the sport and heritage of hunting,” says Lee Barber, the manager of Broadfield. “We do a lot of father/son or father/daughter hunts.” Such was the case for Mike Granuzzo of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, who hunted at Broadfield first with his son, Connor, and last year with both Connor and daughter, Lena.
“I had never handled a gun in my life,” Granuzzo says about that first trip. “We fell in love with the place. We went [fishing] to start the day and then [did] a quail hunt at the end, where we also shot a pheasant. We did the five-stand for practice, which is basically skeet shooting with shotguns, and then we went out on the hunt with Phil, our guide, and four dogs he was working with. We had the time of our lives. I’ll never forget: Connor looked up at me and said, ‘Dad, this is the best day of my life.’ ”
Barber says he appreciates the opportunity to introduce hunting to beginners, although experienced hunters will feel right at home at Broadfield as well. The property’s pristine 5,800 acres provide space for Sea Island and Broadfield members and resort guests to hunt quail and shoot continental pheasant; pursue deer, boars, doves and wild turkeys; and take advantage of the five-stand and sporting clay shooting courses as well as pistol and rifle ranges. In addition, two freshwater lakes stocked with largemouth bass ensure plenty of opportunities for fishing. For a more unique experience, visitors can watch a falconer and a trained bird of prey work together to bring down quarry.
Though there are a multitude of options at Broadfield, all of the activities are safe and family-friendly. Hunters aren’t simply focused on shooting; they are able to experience firsthand the choreographed dance between expert guides and gifted canine retrievers and pointers. “First-timers are completely comfortable because it’s not a competition to see how many quail or whatever we can shoot,” Barber says. “Beginning hunters are taught what we do and why we do it. In the end, they realize there is more preparation and care for the game than there is the actual taking of the game.”
Shooters are limited to four per guide, although non-shooters—such as children younger than 13—may accompany the hunt. Quail hunts can last for a half day or a full day, as can pheasant shoots, which are held at Broadfield’s 40-foot tower, surrounded by 11 blinds, with up to two shooters per blind. Barber says that they release 220 pheasants, one bird at a time. “Every 20 birds, we rotate so each person gets to hunt each blind,” he adds. At the end of the hunt, Broadfield staff clean all bagged game for the participants.
Many guests are repeat visitors, which Barber attributes to the welcoming nature of longtime employees. “They are the same people that the guests have been seeing since they started,” he says. “We have very low turnover.” Barber himself is third-generation staff, beginning with his great-grandfather. “If half of the family members are interested in going on a quail hunt and the other half wants to do falconry or shoot on the ranges, we can accommodate that,” Barber explains. “We realize that this is your big event for the year and we want to offer Southern hospitality.” It doesn’t matter if it’s a guest’s first time or 50th, he says.
That cordial charm worked its magic on Granuzzo, who knew he wanted to become a Broadfield member on the first night of his visit. Since then, he estimates that he and his children have returned for either overnight or day trips 25 to 30 times in the past six years. “I’m almost certain that there isn’t anything that they offer that we haven’t partaken in,” he says. “Broadfield is like family to me. It’s extremely comfortable, relaxing, peaceful and Southern charm at its finest.”
For Granuzzo, Broadfield’s greatest appeal is providing him with the opportunity to spend quality time with his family: “You come to Broadfield and do something unique and it creates a bond, forever really, with your children.”
Outdoor adventures at Broadfield, A Sea Island Sporting Club and Lodge, vary by the season. Fall and winter are the ideal times for quail and pheasant hunts, which typically run from October to March. Equipment and a Southern-style lunch are provided during both experiences. Falconry is also popular during the cooler months, with a special program that allows members and guests to observe the raptors’ different hunting styles. The many shooting courses and ranges are also open in fall and winter.
The accommodations include a main lodge, which sleeps up to 18, and various guest houses. Meals are included with your stay. “We do a lot of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, country-fried steak, and fried quail and pheasant,” says Broadfield manager Lee Barber. “We also offer low-country boils with shrimp and oyster roasts.”