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Cane Mill

Dougherty, Georgia3890± ACRES

SW Georgia Wild Quail Plantation held for 5 generations, Located in the middle of the “best of the best” Albany Plantations

Recently Sold
$15,073,750
  • 3,890 +/- acre Historic Wild Quail Plantation Dougherty County, GA
  • One of the Oldest of Albany’s famed wild quail plantations
  • 7 Adjoining neighbors control 35,000 contiguous acres all managed for wildlife
  • Fifth Generation of one of the “First Families” of modern wild quail management
  • 400 +/- acres of small brood fields put in by Herbert Stoddard himself
  • Located in the heart of one the most prolific wild quail regions in America
  • Exceptional Trophy deer with three trophy bucks harvested in 2020 alone!
  • 160 +/- acres Irrigated farmland and Dryland 416 total dryland farm
  • Exceptional dove fields, exceptional wild turkey, good wood duck hunting
  • Currently hosts “who’s who” private hunt club which can be renewed or cancelled
  • Main Lodge 4BR/3.5B in excellent condition
  • Two managers houses in very good condition
  • 11 Stall Horse Barn, new Kennel, Equipment Barn
  • 1.75 +/- miles on Mudd Creek
  • Less than 20 minutes to a commercial airport and great restaurants
  • Great Social Storm Property
  • Video coming soon!

Thoughts on the Sale: Before we were asked to represent it, this “hidden gem” was on the market for seven years with two other brokers. Within minutes of the landowner calling us in for our opinion, we showed values that no one had ever seen before.

We spent a few weeks “rebranding” the property and doing what only we do. I then made two phone calls to buyers, of whom I’ve known each for a decade. One lucky buyer put it under contract before we even had a chance to go live on our website!

The fact that this buyer found the perfect property after waiting all of this time feels good. The property had been in the seller's family for five generations and they couldn’t be happier with who we brought.

It all began here! Herbert Stoddard personally directed the wild quail management here and 5 generations have turned Cane Mill into one of the best wild quail properties in America today.

The best in wild quail and the best in Whitetails!

Cane Mill Plantation is a 3,890 +/- acre historic wild quail plantation located in the heart of one the most prolific wild quail regions in America. It and its immediate 7 neighbors control 35,000 +/-contiguous acres in the middle of the “best of the best” of the 300,000+ acre famed “Albany Quail Plantation Belt.” As far as wild quail, trophy whitetail, and wild turkeys, Cane Mill and its immediate neighbors are arguably the most game-rich properties in all of the South.

From day one of wild quail management, Cane Mill has been at the forefront. Herbert Stoddard (the father of bobwhite management, prescribed fire advocate, and founder of Tall Timbers Research Station) personally directed the installation of the fields at Cane Mill (it was an innovative approach that mimics old, abandoned farm fields which were prevalent when this niche was first created). They are still benefitting quail populations today and are still the #1 recommendation for any Albany Area property wishing to have great wild quail numbers.

Thanks to Dr. Stoddard’s innovative foresight, there are approximately 400 +/- acres of small brood fields onsite at Cane Mill that have been producing wild quail for nearly 100 years. Cane Mill consistently has one of the most prolific populations of wild quail anywhere in the South, and for good reason.

“Herbert Stoddard is the “John the Baptist” of bobwhite quail management. Even as the very first biologist, who did not grow up with Bobwhite, to then professionally study Bobwhite quail and with no personal history with quail or even the south, the things he recommended were spot on. His book is spot on. Even today, with all the technology and scientific study of the modern era, we are essentially just confirming the things he originally recommended years ago. The fact that Stoddard himself put in these fields at Cane Mill and the fact that he signed and gave “Book #1” to this family tells me all I need to know about the generational dedication to habitat here at Cane Mill.” – Jon Kohler

The property has been held by the Thompson family and managed for wildlife for five generations now. In fact, the family bought the property in 1880, which is a full 8 years before the first quail plantation was founded in the nearby Red Hills, making Cane Mill one of the very first properties in what has now become its own asset class renown around the world. As one of the leading families in this niche, they have been more than instrumental in developing their own property for wild game, as well as others. One of the members of the Thompson family previously served on the Board of Directors of Tall Timbers Research Station, and rightfully so, as an extension of Herbert Stoddard’s legacy. If it “could be done, should be done, or might benefit wild game in any way, the Thompson family did it, did it the right way, and did it for generations.” – Jon Kohler

The traditions at Cane Mill were developed and perfected over 100 years. There are eight, extremely large, half day quail courses. There is an extremely generous 10-day rest period between hunts on every course. They can afford to be generous at Cane Mill... Whether there was good weather or bad weather this past season, the overall average for all quail hunts on all courses was 5.6 coveys per hour. The harvest book outlining every hunt goes back to 1938.

“Often times quail plantation mangers are able to receive annual bonuses based upon the entire season coveys per hour average. Many owners as well as managers are competitive. If a manager can obtain a season average of 5 coveys or more per hour a nice bonus may be in order.” – Bill Bowles

“In the Albany Area Quail Plantation Belt, the key to high bird numbers lies in the right quantity and size of brood fields. These scattered 5+/- acre semi-agricultural fields are the secret here. Herbert Stoddard himself put them in at Cane Mill and today there are over 419 +/- acres of semi-agricultural fields strategically spread out across almost 4,000 acres.” – Jon Kohler

The same can be said of the land as the improvements. There is very little “deferred maintenance” here. Everything was built pragmatically and with generational foresight. Nothing here was built for ego or show but for functionality, hospitality, and ease of maintenance. It was designed to complement the land and the lifestyle.

The Main Lodge is 3,100 +/- square feet, four bedrooms and 3.5 baths with mudroom and living room, plus a den with fireplace and bar. The outside porch and fire ring may arguably be where the best stories and most relaxation occurs. There is also a 1,172 +/- square foot, one bedroom and three bath “hunt master’s house.” The plantation also has an eleven-stall stable with tack room, feed room, and office. Of course, there is a great dog kennel with feed room and two complimenting shops. A good estimate to replace all the improvements that are already onsite would be well over $2M. The location of each has been well thought out. If one started this process today, it would take at least two years of planning and building to recreate what has already been done here.

“Being a third-generation land broker and landowner, myself also means I’m a professional critic. I know what should be done, what is not being done, and can usually guess why not in very short order.  It’s often human nature that some things are simply overlooked. Not at Cane Mill – nothing that has to do with enjoying the property or keeping things well maintained is overlooked.” – Jon Kohler

In approximately 2006, a 160-acre pivot was installed near the middle of the property to provide both agricultural diversity for wildlife and to provide some off setting income, at the same time.

In approximately 2017, the family (now spread out across the country) realized they were no longer utilizing the benefits of the eight half-day courses and began a very private hunt club. It’s a “who’s who” of wild bobwhite aficionados. This private “club,” was developed by Bill Bowles to fit the landowners' objectives. The program has now turned into a role model for those seeking to monetize excess hunting days. This program may be eliminated, expanded, or reduced according to the new buyers wishes. What is so remarkable is that even with the very enhanced services, full-time chef, etc. the annual operating costs of Cane Mill are at or below what we see for the average wild quail plantation that is not offering the same level of services.

“This past spring Jack Thompson, the oldest son of Cane Mill owner, John Thompson, served in an apprenticeship with the Tall Timbers Research Station. His time was spent on Cane Mill under the direction of Clay Sisson. One of Jacks duties was to record the spring Bobwhite Quail Whistle counts. Jack's hard work once again displays the dedication of the Thomson family for proper quail management.” – Bill Bowles

“Not every landowner can fully utilize eight enormous half day courses – that’s a lot of wild quail hunting. Even at a full hunt schedule (6-7 hunts per course) some coveys are never shot into. Unique to Cane Mill is a Bill Bowles’ designed exclusive private, paid guest hunting program. Taking from the best, most private hunting operations in the South, Bill designed a custom program for Cane Mill. Limited to just three paid guests, they utilize the times the family doesn’t hunt, which offsets a major portion of annual operating costs while ensuring an extremely high level of guest services. This program can be continued or eliminated but offers a great testimony to the quality of the land, services and wild game found at Cane Mill.” – Jon Kohler

Kohler 2 quail lying on jeepWhile historically wild quail have been the focus, trophy whitetail deer management has gained interest, particularly with the youngest generation. In fact, our firm has recently closed several large primarily trophy whitetail properties in the area for upwards of $4,500+ per acre. The types of properties like Cane Mill that can consistently harvest trophy whitetails are turning into a sub asset class of its own. The 160-acres of irrigated farmland in the middle of the property and an increasing amount of the 400+/-acres of other fields are planted to provide year-round nutrition required to consistently raise trophy whitetails.

Here, the deer get all three of the needed requirements to set records, age, nutrition and genetics. Allowing bucks to grow to full maturity is typically the biggest problem almost all landowners face with a free-range deer herd. Because of the 35,000 +/- acres of immediate neighbors, age is not a factor here. The genetics here are proven. That isn't an issue here either. It’s simply a matter of continuing to provide the right nutrition. In 2020 alone, not one, but three exceptional bucks were harvested. One of which scored in at 150 B&C and the other two at an incredible 170+ B&C!

Wood Duck & Dove Flying

Wild turkeys are abundant throughout but very prolific on the almost two +/- miles of frontage on both sides of Mudd Creek. There is also a flooded beaver pond that holds a very good population of ducks, in addition to several bountiful dove fields. There is currently no fishing pond on the property, but there are several very good locations for this, if someone was interested in developing that.

"This is our 30th year in developing and representing this unique niche. Over that time a lot has changed. Today, an increased emphasis on raising and harvesting trophy whitetails has really taken hold, particularly with the younger generation. Most properties only dream of harvesting a buck over 170 B&C. Those that can are at the top of their game. The fact that in just the 2020 season, Cane Mill has harvested not one, but THREE bucks over 150 B&C puts this in a league of among the best of the best properties in the Southeast.” – Jon Kohler

“To achieve perfection, whitetails need age, genetics, and nutrition. In my experience, age is by far the limiting factor. Here, for all praquality an underaged buck is going to have to cross the Cane Mill property line and then cross another 35,000 acres before he leaves the protection of like-minded neighbors. Almost everywhere else in America the landowner would have to high-fence to get the same results here.” – Jon Kohler

Located in the heart of the Albany plantation belt, Cane Mill is bordered by other large plantations such as Deer Run, Abigail, Pineknoll, and Gillionville. As far as being located for wild game in the “Best of the Best” in the 300,000+ acre Albany Plantation Belt, it is also very convenient for shopping, restaurants and travel.

The commercial airport is a quick 15-mile drive. The best restaurants and shopping in Albany are on the same side of town and are just 15 minutes away. Thomasville is only a scenic one-hour drive.

“There are multiple reasons Cane Mill is ranked where it is. It’s an often-overlooked fact that neighbors can make or break a property from reaching its full potential. It takes just one neighbor not in sync to ruin a trophy deer program. To be effective, trapping must be done over a broad landscape. The “fall shuffle” is critical to Bobwhite population stability. The 5 plantations that directly share a property line with Cane Mill control 35,000+ contiguous acres of like-minded wildlife managed properties. Deer Run, Abigail, Pineknoll, Magnolia and Gillionville are among the best managed wildlife properties in America. In 30 years, I don’t think I have ever seen a property on the market as strongly positioned with great neighbors as Cane Mill.” – Jon Kohler

“Ten years ago, we trademarked the term “Social Storm Properties.” What we recognized is that certain properties had a “hedge” effect. They offered what most high-quality properties offered but with several additional key attributes. For instance, if the world was a better place tomorrow, they would go up in value and have higher demand. If tomorrow were in a worse place, they would be in even more demand! Cane Mill is such a property. Thus, as an investment it is far superior to most high-quality recreational properties. Cane Mill offers the level of safety and attributes specifically sought for a Social Storm Property (tm).” – Jon Kohler

Cane Mill CD Clarke Artwork
Original oil paintings of Silver Lake at Cane Mill and Banded Quail by renowned artist, CD Clarke.

Cane Mill is priced at $3,875 per overall acre. Remarkably, this places the “land component” in the low to mid $3,000 +/- per acre range, which for an all-wild bird property not under a conservation easement makes this one of the most attractive buys in quite some time. The value of Cane Mill irrefutable. Way back in 2013 we closed the adjoining plantation, Heritage 7,000 acres for $29.25M.

Cane Mill has been on the market in the past, with other firms, and the family is ready to sell. Our firm specializes in quail plantations and High-Quality Recreational Properties and we know this niche like no other. In fact, we sold the adjoining Heritage Plantation, the nearby Nochaway, and nearby Fox Creek. We just recently closed the nearby 5,000+ acre Chokee, 1,200-acre Timber Creek for $7.295M and have 12,000+ acres of other quail plantations under contract as of the time of writing this. For the last ten years we have closed an average of 491 acres per week! Contact us, use our database and we can easily demonstrate that Cane Mill is not only one of the best quail plantations on the market, but also one of the best buys in this niche.

 

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